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Frequently Asked Questions

The Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA) is the state’s K-12 accrediting model. KESA accredits at the System (district) level to create systemic change within and among school buildings across the district. The Kansas State Board of Education identified five goal areas believed to have direct impact on producing successful high school graduates. These goals are: Social-Emotional Factors Measured Locally, Kindergarten Readiness, Individual Plans of Study, High School Graduation and Postsecondary Success. The KESA model focuses Systems on meeting these goals. Systems need to redesign and pursue a continuous improvement process at both the district and school levels. The School Redesign Project at the Kansas State Department of Education and KESA work together to create system changes to support the State Board Outcomes.

Dodge City Public schools just completed the first 5 year cycle of accreditation. The district goals during the first cycle were: 1. USD 443 will foster student relationships with peers, teachers, families, culture, and community to build student self-efficacy with focus on cultural competency as measured through district data. 2. USD 443 will develop, communicate, and implement a comprehensive district plan for all stakeholders that aligns with local and state board goals and outcomes. Starting in the fall of 2021, the district will set new goals for the next accreditation cycle based on the district strategic plan while continuing to improve upon the Kansas State Board Outcomes.

Updated May 18, 2021

 What is KELPA?

The Kansas English Language Proficiency Assessment (KELPA) is a yearly summative assessment, administered in grades K-12, that assesses the four domains reflected in the English Language Proficiency Standards: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.  The KELPA is a mostly computerized assessment with the exception of a few paper pencil items on the K-1 Writing assessment.  Students take the KELPA and all other state assessments using the KITE Client Student Portal.

Who takes KELPA?

When a student’s home language survey indicates that a student speaks or is exposed to a language other than English, that student is identified as a possible English Learner (EL).  The student is then administered the KELPA in the Spring to identify any current limitations in the ability to understand, speak, read or write academic English.  Students who exhibit any limitations are identified as an EL and are provided services that include academic and social language necessary to succeed in their educational endeavors.  Once a student has scored proficient in all four domains of the English Language Proficiency Standards, in a given year, they are moved to a monitored status for two years and then exited from receiving services.  

Where can I learn more information about the KELPA?

Visit KSDE for more information.  

KAP (Kansas Assessment Program)

The Kansas Assessment Program (KAP), a program of the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), fulfills a mandate from the Kansas Legislature. KAP provides general education assessments, alternate assessments, career and technical education assessments, and an English language proficiency assessment.

The English language arts (ELA), mathematics, and science assessments are part of the federal elementary and secondary education legislation. The assessment program does the following:

  • Measures specific claims related to the Kansas Standards in grades 3-8 and high school.
  • Reports individual student scores along with each student’s performance level.
  • Provides subscale and total scores that can be used with local assessment scores to assist in improving a building or district’s programs in ELA, mathematics, and science.

What is the test purpose?

KAP provides parents, educators, and policy makers with one piece of information about student learning.

What is the test format?

Computerized tests allow students to demonstrate their knowledge in various ways. In addition to seeing multiple-choice items, students see technology-enhanced items. Depending on the subject, technology-enhanced items might include ordering items, matching items or completing a matrix.

How are KAP assessments scored?

First, the state adds the points the student earned on the test questions without deducting points for incorrect answers. Some questions are worth more than one point. Next, we convert this raw score to a scaled score that has some meaning for all versions of the test. KAP scaled scores range from 220-380 and are divided into four performance levels.

How should KAP results be used?

Scores can be used to:

  • Identify the student’s relative strengths and limitations.
  • Determine the student’s progress toward meeting state curriculum standards.
  • Compare the student’s performance to that of other students in the school, district and state.

How can I, as a parent, help my student improve his or her KAP score?

  • Encourage your student to do his or her best on assessments.
  • Talk with the classroom teacher(s) about ways to develop your student’s critical-thinking skills.
  • Ask your student questions that require explanations and can’t be answered with a single word.
  • Establish time for your student to read and provide engaging and appropriately challenging reading material.
  • Have your student write lists, letters, stories, or podcast scripts.
  • Solve math problems with your student using everyday materials, such as road maps, sporting event results, or recipes. Have your student explain the solution to the problem.
  • Use the information on the back of the report to identify specific areas in which your student needs additional support. Ask the classroom teacher(s) how to practice these skills at home.

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is defined as…“A specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.” International Dyslexia Association, (2002)

What is a dyslexia screener?

Screeners are typically brief assessments of particular skills or abilities that are highly predictive of a later outcome. In Kansas, we will screen kindergarten students on their early reading skills of letter naming fluency, letter sound fluency, phoneme segmentation (the ability to take a word and break it into its individual sounds), and nonsense word fluency. We will screen first-graders in letter sound fluency, phoneme segmentation, nonsense word fluency, and oral reading fluency. Second-graders will be screened in non-sense word fluency and oral reading fluency. Students in grades 2–5 will be screened in oral reading fluency. Students in grades 6 – 12 will be screened using a reading comprehension assessment. Those students falling below grade level on the comprehension assessment will be given an oral reading fluency assessment to help determine which skills may need additional support

What are the positive effects of administering a dyslexia screener?

Extensive evidence exists that supports the fact that early interventions for young readers are critical. Struggling readers who do not receive early intervention tend to fall further behind their peers (Stanovich, 1986). Since research has shown that the rapid growth of the brain and its response to instruction in the primary years make the time from birth to age eight a critical period for literacy development (Nevills & Wolfe, 9), it is essential to identify the instructional needs of struggling students as soon as possible. It is imperative to “catch them before they fall” (Torgesen, 1998).

Why are Kansas schools administering a dyslexia screener?

The Kansas State Board of Education approved recommendations from the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia. Part of these recommendations include that every accredited school district must screen and identify students at risk of dyslexia or demonstrating characteristics of dyslexia in accordance with universal screening evidenced-based practices.

What screening instrument does USD443 use?

Dodge City Public School uses FastBridge as our Universal Screener that aligns with our Multi-Systems of Support (MTSS) process. Universal screeners are administered to identify students at risk in reading and math. Measures are scientifically reliable, efficient, and valid for risk of reading difficulties. Once risk is identified and immediate and effective interventions begins to ensure adequate progress continues.

How does administering a dyslexia screener support a child’s reading development?

While state assessments and other achievement measures look at overall growth, screeners are designed to be quick, easy to administer assessments that evaluate current learning. In other words, they should provide a teacher with practical information that allows for rapid response in the form of instructional adjustments. Once a reading deficiency is discovered through the screening, teachers can develop an immediate response with intervention in the general education classroom. This allows children to continually have exposure to grade level reading content, while working on skill-based interventions at the same time. The goal of timely intervention, through the screening process, is critical for reading success.

What happens if a child does not pass the screener?

If your child does not pass a portion of the dyslexia screener it DOES NOT MEAN that your child has dyslexia. The screening data allows teachers to respond immediately with evidence-based interventions that address the reading deficits.

What should a family member do if they have question about dyslexia screener?

Talk to your child’s teacher about the screener. Find out which specific areas your child is being screened and what the school will do to support them.

USD 443 has designed and implements district wide continuous improvement structures and processes.  This is to ensure all practices are aligned to research based strategies for every student regardless of their school, teacher or grade level.  This alignment will increase the chances for success.

Throughout each level in the district there is alignment of these processes starting at the teacher level then to the building level and ultimately at the district level.

The District Leadership Team is the district level structure that looks at alignment across all buildings in USD 443.  It is a team made up of teachers, instructional coaches, building administrator and district administrators.  The role of the team is to review each buildings’ data and processes to ensure growth but also to provide support for each building along the way.

Not only does the District Leadership review data it does so by ensuring all district actions are aligned to the Board of Education approved strategic plan.  All courses, instructional materials, professional development and personnel support is reviewed through this committee and recommendations are provided to the Superintendent of schools for consideration.

In USD 443 our Multiple Tiered System of Supports relies on current and accurate data for each student down to the specific building block skills in literacy and math.  This data is used to not only assess each student’s current academic level but also used by the teachers to monitor the impact of their individualized tiered supports for growth.  In other words for MTSS to work we must collect student data on each of the tiers in MTSS to then develop progress monitoring plans for each student.

We use a student data system called Fastbridge to collect this data.  During the fall, mid-year and in the spring every student pre-kindergarten through 10th grade participate in short assessments to determine their current levels in math and literacy.  Each classroom teacher administers these screenings and if the data indicates a student may have some gaps or needs enrichments additional short assessments are administered to identify specific skills needing attention.

The data received is then reviewed by the teacher and students are grouped based on similar instructional needs.  While every students receive Tier 1 instruction, which is grade and content level exposure, the FastBridge data allows for the grouping of needed Tier 2 supports.  These supports are built around these data points to ensure additional instruction is provide to either address gaps or to extend learning. 

Each student has a yearly growth chart that plots where they are academically in the fall and sets the goal for the end of the year.  Throughout the year students are screened with short assessments to measure and track academic growth.  Students and parents can request access to these charts which to partner with the classroom teacher to ensure parents and teachers partner for each student’s success. 

During each parent teacher conference the teacher will share the Fastbridge data and the instructional plans for each student. 

MTSS is a framework of supporting all students academically, behaviorally and socially.  It is a researched based and proven approach to ensure our schools focus on the “whole child.”

The multi-tier supports are a huge part of MTSS. These tiers of support increase in intensity from one level to the next. For example, some kids receiving small-group interventions may need to “move up” to one-on-one help.  There are three tiers of support which are:

  1. Tier 1:  this is the grade level curriculum all students receive
  2. Tier 2:  is additional support for those students who need a little extra support or extension usually conducted in a smaller group or it can be whole class if enough students need a little refresher or boost.
  3. Tier 3: is individualize for very small group supports for students who did not make the growth necessary during the Tier 1 and 2 supports and need a little more time and personalized attention.  Tier 3 supports is not just for Special Education students.

The individualized and structured support provided by MTSS for each student eliminates the need for retention of students who fall behind which is a practice not supported through research.  Rather, by regularly assessing students and responding immediately this process is structured to provide immediate support and results without the stigma of being held back a grade and long term potential negative consequences of doing so.

The MTSS model can help general education students receive interventions sooner. It can also help identify sooner which students need special education supports.

MTSS at a Glance:

  • It is a framework to provide individualized supports for all students
  • It ensures every student receives grade level content with supports if a student has gaps or needs extended.
  • It is dependent on screening data for reading and math three times a year to determine where each student is academically
  • It develops targeted responses for each kid based on the screening data.

What is SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) and Why is it Important?

In Dodge City Public Schools we are making a commitment to the implementation of  SEL throughout our schools and classrooms.  SEL is an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

SEL advances educational equity and excellence through authentic school-family-community partnerships to establish learning environments and experiences that feature trusting and collaborative relationships, rigorous and meaningful curriculum and instruction, and ongoing evaluation. SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities