During the summer and early fall of 2021, leaders from the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) and the Kansas State Board of Education facilitated the Kansans Can Success Tour. The tour, a 50-city event, provided opportunities for school leaders, parents and community members to give feedback to state education leaders on the current direction for Kansas K–12 education.
To support KSDE, the R12CC project team received survey data from more than 3,500 respondents and analyzed data from survey items that asked about the supports schools need to accomplish the system change desired by Kansas. As part of this work, team members independently analyzed data then collaborated with representatives from the Kansas State Department of Education and Kansas State University to share themes from the analysis and a draft consensus summary of findings. The summary overview of themes was presented to the Kansas State Board of Education in January by Dr. Randy Watson, KSDE Commissioner. The State Board of Education will continue to review Success Tour data in March.
To further assist KSDE, the project team identified the goals, anticipated outcomes, and structure for another cohort of Kansas education stakeholders—Cadre 2.0. Cadre 2.0 capacity building sessions are designed to support KSDE staff as they develop a shared understanding of competency-based education. A kickoff session held in January explored examples of national and other states’ definitions of competency-based education and the importance of competency-based education for Kansans Can School Redesign success. Most recently, the Cadre developed and then selected a working definition of competency-based education for Kansas.
R12CC continues to host a monthly Executive Leadership Forum with Kansas superintendents to support them as they lead change management initiatives. Recent sessions have focused on supporting superintendents as they use unlearning and reflective thinking to recalibrate and innovate in schools; encourage risk-taking among teachers and school leaders in the midst of stress, exhaustion, and uncertainty; and connecting learnings of the past two years and ESSER resources to advance higher student performance. Upcoming sessions will feature a consecutive three-part series that focuses on developing teacher talent.
Collectively, these efforts support Kansas education stakeholders as they deepen their understanding of the technical and adaptive challenges related to navigating education redesign and move toward a more personalized, competency-based education model across the state.