Kansas relying on Blueprint for Literacy to build reading skills among public school students – By Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector

Cindy Lane takes it personally that Kansas needed a Kansas Blueprint for Literacy initiative to improve preparation of educators to teach reading and funnel more literate students into colleges and the workplace.

Lane, retired special education teacher and former superintendent of Kansas City, Kansas, schools, will soon step down from the Kansas Board of Regents to become administrative director of Blueprint for Literacy. The Kansas Legislature adopted and Gov. Laura Kelly signed into law a bill mandating the state’s education system engrain in current and future teachers evidence-based reading science strategies.

A bipartisan coalition of state legislators earmarked $10 million to implement the blueprint and work to change the lives of 40% of Kansas public school students not proficient at reading.

“Frankly, this is personal,” Lane said. “I was a kid who my favorite subject was recess. It really was. The way that reading was approached at that time didn’t connect with how I think and grow and I really didn’t learn to read until I was in junior high. And, I can’t imagine being a person who never had a teacher that figured out what’s the code for that kid to be able to learn to read. I can’t imagine what their life must be like today.”


FCC approves $200M K-12 cybersecurity pilot – By Anna Merod, K-12 Dive

The Federal Communications Commission approved a $200 million, three-year pilot program to boost cybersecurity in schools and libraries in a 3-2 vote on Thursday.

The Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program aims to enroll a variety of schools and districts and will fund eligible participating school systems at a minimum of $15,000 to at most $1.5 million. Funding amounts will be determined using a formula that estimates a cost of $13.60 per student.

Qualifying districts may use the funds to secure their networks under four categories: advanced or next-generation firewalls; endpoint protection; identity protection and authentication; and monitoring, detection and response.


Florida schools offer principals multi-year contracts for stability – By Jeffrey Solochek, Tampa Bay Times

The big story: As has been well documented over time, finding and keeping strong principals in schools is key to long-term success.

Challenges have abounded in this regard, including state requirements that give principals little time to turn around poor performing schools and districts’ tendency to place administrators on one-year contracts.

The Hernando County school district aims to turn things around by giving its principals, along with district administrators, more security. The board recently agreed in principle to give multi-year contracts to its top leaders.

“I don’t want to go into a school and try to do a job and knowing every 12 months, if somebody doesn’t like me, or they have a certain feeling and for whatever reason the leadership could go ahead and just get rid of me,” board member Shannon Rodriguez said.


Colorado invests in bilingual preschool as Spanish-speaking population grows with new migrants – Jennifer Brown, Colorado Sun

Londis Ramirez knew her plan was working when a preschooler making a self-portrait asked her, “Can you help me draw my panza?”

Panza means belly in Spanish, which is not the child’s first language. But a Head Start program tested last year and expanding this fall in Jefferson County is offering preschool in Spanish and English, one of many efforts in the works across Colorado as the state tries to get more Spanish-speaking students into preschool and assimilate new migrants from South America.

It also comes as Gov. Jared Polis signed a new law last week to create a bilingual licensing unit within the state Department of Early Childhood, targeting $360,000 in state funds next year to help Spanish-speaking child care providers get licensed and to expand bilingual preschool options.

Next fall, Jefferson County Head Start will have three bilingual classrooms in Arvada — for kids who speak Spanish at home and whose parents speak only Spanish, and for English-speaking children whose parents want them to learn Spanish.