KASC Challenge: Information to Share

The Kentucky Department of Education and several educational leadership groups met at Woodford County High School on Monday morning, August 25 to announce Kentucky’s latest development advancing college and career readiness. Known as the Kentucky Core Academic Standards Challenge, officials hope to increase awareness of the Core Academic Standards (specifically English/language arts and mathematics) and solicit feedback as part of the 2015 review of the academic standards.

The Kentucky Core Academic Standards Challenge asks for citizens of various roles to read the standards which were implemented in 2010, consider if they are appropriate for each grade level, and suggest edits and revisions where needed. An online portal has been created to give feedback: kentucky.statestandards.orgThe website is live now and will remain open until April 30, 2015. The portal provides several links and resources at the bottom of the page and a large blue button in the center of the page which reads, “Start taking the Kentucky Core Academic Standards Challenge.”

To begin the Challenge process, individuals will be asked if they live or work in Kentucky, to select a role group and provide an email address. Educators that take the Challenge will be asked about their position, school level, school district and email address. All users will also agree to the terms and conditions. The standards are then arranged by subject and grade level and list a thumbs up or thumbs down option for each. If a thumbs down response is recorded, options will be provided to submit more specific feedback and rationale. Suggestions for for new standards may also be submitted.

In the live press conference (linked to video), Commissioner Holliday said that in Kentucky, we need to come together with our national leadership in education reform and focus not on support for or against Common Core Standards, but focus on what our children need to know and be able to do to graduate college and career ready. He hopes that this will be a process to change the conversation from us versus them to one where we’re all working together for a common goal for Kentucky students.

KYSPRA colleagues: Information about the Kentucky Core Academic Standards Challenge will need to be shared throughout the fall and early spring in our school districts and with our local communities to solicit feedback that is representative of our Commonwealth. I anticipate more guidance soon from the Kentucky Department of Education, however it is important to be aware of this opportunity for our schools and community to collaborate for the future of all Kentucky students.

Press Release by Kentucky Department of Education

Education Week Coverage: 


PDK/Gallup Poll Data Released

The first half of results from the PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools was released today. A second report will be issued in October. Sometimes we are contacted by reporters for a local reaction to the results so for your info, below are some statistics from the survey as well as a link to the file. The poll is based on a telephone survey (in English) of 1,001 adults selected by random digit dial.
  • 56% of those surveyed said local school boards should have the greatest influence on what is taught (28% the state government and 15% federal government);
  • 60% oppose the Common Core Standards (Republicans oppose more strongly than Democrats);
  • Of those who oppose, 65% say it is because it limits flexibility of teachers and 51% say teachers in their community do not support the standards.
  • Of the 33% who favor Common Core Standards, 74% say it is because kids learn what they need regardless of where they attend school. 
  • 40% of Americans do not believe the standards are challenging enough while 26% of parents say they’re too challenging.
  • 54% of surveys regardless of political affiliation, and 68% of parents do not believe standardized tests help teachers know what to teach.
  • Americans continue to assign higher grades to local schools, lower to nation’s schools. Parents of students in public schools marked highest for their schools.
  • 50% believe US students rank lower than students in other nations and 46% believe US students rank in the middle. 
  • Survey respondents chose “lack of financial support” as the greatest challenge to schools. 
  • 70% (62% of parents) support public charter schools, “particularly when they are described as schools that can operate independently and free from regulations.” However, the general public does not know a lot about charter schools. Most did not know if charter schools could charge tuition, admit based on ability, teach religion, etc. 
  • 63% oppose vouchers, allowing students to attend private school at public expense.

KYSPRA Board of Directors Meeting: August 26

The KYSPRA Board of Directors will meet Tuesday, August 26 at the Bowling Green Ind. District School Professional Development & Learning Center* (503 Old Morgantown Rd, Bowling Green, KY 42101). The meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. Central Time and should adjourn no later than 1:00 p.m. The meeting agenda and link to live video is below.

Kentucky School Public Relations Association
Board of Directors

August 26, 2014, 10:00 a.m. Central Time
BGISD Professional Development & Learning Center
& via Google Live Broadcast

1. Call Meeting to Order

2. Introductions of Board Members
a. Newly Appointed: Peter Matthews (KDE), John Wright (Region 5), Tracy Harris (Member at Large), and Shamarie Claiborne (Member at Large)

3. Approve Minutes from May 7, 2014

4. Reports:
            a. Financial Report, Linda Salyer, Association Manager
            b. Membership Report, Linda Salyer, Association Manager
            c. Mentoring Report, Lisa Deffendall
            d. Regional Reports, Board Representatives
            c. Organizational Reports (KDE, KASA, KSBA, KET)

5. Old Business:
            a. Fall Conference Update & Decisions
                        i. Partnership with Community Education
ii. Possibility of creating a KYSPRA scholarship using funds from silent auction

b. Idea of developing PGES communication toolkits for schools

6. New Business:
            a. New Communication Tool Updates
                        i. Twitter
                        ii. KYSPRA Blog (Each Board Member to create at least 1 post)
                        iii. Google Tools

            b. Approve 2014-15 Budget

c. KYSPRA Annual Awards Nominate and Select:
                        i. Richard Thornton Award: Presented to an individual or organization 
                        for exceptional leadership and dedication to public education in Kentucky.
ii. Flag of Learning & Liberty: Given to a person, group, or corporation outside the education field who have made a significant contribution to public education in 
iii. O.V. Jones Memorial: Given to a KYSPRA member for outstanding service to KYSPRA and school public relations.

KYSPRA Member Benefit

Do you know that the Kentucky School Public Relations Association has a Mentoring Program?

One of the free member benefits of KYSPRA is connecting new full-time or part-time communication professionals with mentors who are experienced in a variety of communication fields. Mentors provide telephone calls, personal consultations, and when possible, on-site reviews and audits of publications, audio/visual programs and community relations initiatives. The program is a joint initiative between KYSPRA and the Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA) in which KYSPRA members with at least five years experience in school communications, including at least three years at the district level serve as mentors.

Brad Hughes, KSBA’s director of member support/communications services, served as my mentor when I began my role as the Public Relations Coordinator for Bowling Green Independent Schools. He and I talked on the phone several times throughout the year; he would call and ask about my current projects or issues and I would call and ask him for advice when I needed an outside opinion. He also visited my office in Bowling Green and had lunch with my new Superintendent and I to discuss my role in the district office.

My first year was a blur and Brad was great to help me through so many issues. The superintendent who hired me announced his retirement at the end of my first week. BGISD opened the first new elementary school building in over 40 years on my second week. We also dealt with a case of tuberculosis, hired a new superintendent, conducted employee satisfaction surveys, and as the only and first full-time public relations coordinator in the district, I was charged with revising all district publications, taking over the district website, revamping the district’s Community Advisory Cabinet, and planning events. All for the first time! Having a mentor was invaluable to me, and although I’ve just completed my 9th school year, Brad is still someone I call when I want to brainstorm ideas or need a quick second-opinion.

If you would like more information on the mentoring program, or would like to be matched with a KYSPRA mentor, contact Lisa Deffendall, District Spokeswoman for Fayette County Public Schools, lisa.deffendall@fayette.kyschools.us.

Leslie Peek
Public Relations Coordinator
Bowling Green Independent Schools
KYSPRA President, 2014-15

Monday Motivation Emails from Graves Co Schools

As a new school year begins… Make it a great one!

Unity (Parent and Child)

I dreamed I stood in a studio and watched two sculptors there.

The clay they used was a young child’s mind and they fashioned it with care.

One was a teacher – the tools he/she used were books, music and art.

The other, a parent, worked with a guiding hand, and a gentle, loving heart.
Day after day, the teacher toiled with touch that was careful, deft and sure.
While the parent labored by his side and polished and smoothed it o’er.
And when at last, their task was done, they were proud of what they had wrought
For the things they had molded into the child could never be sold nor bought.
And each agreed they would have failed if each had worked alone.
For behind the parent stood the school and behind the teacher, the home.

From: www.rogerknapp.com.

The poem you just read is a sample Monday Morning Motivational email from Paul Schaumburg, Community Relations Director of Graves Co. Schools. Schaumburg has provided the weekly emails since 2007 when his district featured a year-long focus on communication, customer service, and community relations.  Most pieces are well under 1,000 words and generally are far shorter in length. They range from quotes of famous personalities, many of them humorous, to short parables and practical tips on communication and living in general. All are credited to their authors. Many, but not all, relate to teaching, learning, and education. They often become thought-starters for recipients and their schools. 

If you would like to begin receiving the emails, send an email request to paul.schaumburg@graves.kyschools.us.