For Kansas schools, challenge will be ensuring special education students aren’t left behind – News – The Topeka Capital-Journal

It’s one challenge to close any learning gaps for special education students, but in a pandemic, just measuring those gaps will be another obstacle for Kansas schools, two special education leaders told The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Bert Moore, director of special education and title services for the Kansas Department of Education, and Heith Peine, executive director of student support services for Wichita Public Schools, joined The Capital-Journal’s Teaching Topeka podcast to discuss how special education teachers across Kansas have adapted to teaching in a pandemic.

State Commissioner of Education Randy Watson on Tuesday told the Kansas State Board of Education that, after a tour of just a few western Kansas school districts, he was becoming increasingly concerned that certain student groups, including special education students, are showing signs of academic regression as schools adjust their operations for the pandemic. More than 76,000 students, or 14.7% of all Kansas students, receive special

Read More

Child care providers step up for remote back-to-school as Kansas considers funding – News – The Topeka Capital-Journal

When back-to-school day was approaching, Victor Rodriguez decided his oldest child, who is registered with Whitson Elementary School in Topeka, was staying home.

“We’re not sending her to school like two days here and then online,” he said. “I decided they’re not going to school the whole year until we see what’s going on with this pandemic.”

But Rodriguez faced a dilemma: how to continue running his restaurant to pay the bills and how to take care of his three children, all 5 years old or younger, at the same time. It’s something he has juggled with since the pandemic hit.

“Having three children, it becomes very expensive to have a caretaker or day care. One is expensive already, but three multiples it,” Rodriguez said.

He came up with a solution. Last week, Rodriguez opened up California Kids Child Care to not only take care of his own children but

Read More

Kansas schools under most stress he’s ever seen, education commissioner says – News – The Topeka Capital-Journal

A school’s football coaching staff is in quarantine in one Kansas school district.

In another, the entire kindergarten staff is quarantined. In other schools, it is just one or two students or staff members who test positive for the coronavirus, but suddenly, the entire school has to quarantine.

Those are just some of the situations Randy Watson, state commissioner of education, saw when he toured western Kansas schools last week, and they are the challenges that each district, big and small, will eventually face, he told the Kansas State Board of Education on Wednesday.

Most rural Kansas schools opened before Labor Day, Watson said, and have been in school for a few weeks. In that short time, they have been tested already by the strains of keeping schools open during the pandemic, especially as cases begin to pop up among students and staff.

“What that starts, then, is a juggling

Read More