KU unveils new program to help K-12 leaders as school begins

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 12:47 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Just in time for the start of the school year, the University of Kansas has unveiled a new program to help leaders in K-12 school districts.

The University of Kansas says on Thursday, Aug. 11, that its Achievement and Assessment Institute announced its new Center for Evaluation and Education Leadership, which is meant to support district and building level leaders, and organize and implement the most effective and equitable learning environments for PreK-12 students.

Neal Kingston, AAI director and University Distinguished Professor, said questions from districts across the state led his team to create the new center.

“We received requests about a range of services that intersected with many areas of work at AAI but which required inquiries of multiple center directors,” Kingston said. “Schools needed a single best place to which they could reach out. As a result, we recognized both a need and an opportunity to further our mission of improving the lives of children and adults, especially students and educators.”

KU said the Center for Evaluation and Educational Leadership draws on overlapping areas of expertise and research done by faculty in the School of Education and Human Sciences and creates a specific, service-minded focus.

The University noted that representatives from CEEL will meet with district leaders to develop and implement strategic plans leading to educational success and ensuring all student populations have access to high-quality support and services. It said plans will be customized per the district’s specific needs while also adherent to Kansas Education Systems Accreditation processes and meeting the state legislature’s statutory requirements for a comprehensive needs assessment.

To help design the new center, KU said AAI engaged the services of the consulting firm Neuenswander Educational Consulting LLC, which has worked with multiple parties drawing on the latest research to help shape the scope of the new center.

“The new center will focus on the structures that surround education, since a child’s education is the result of several layers of input, such as the classroom itself, a school’s administrative practice, its district and the broader community in which the school resides,” said Rick Ginsberg, dean of the School of Education & Human Sciences.

“The main goal is to support educators at the district level, but we also want to involve the community in our process,” he said. “As such, in addition to needs assessments, strategic planning trainings and developing district plans, we envision community participation to be an important part of the center’s process.”

Kingston said, “Education has many influencing factors. With this new center, we aim to be a critical support for schools and districts throughout Kansas.”

Interested districts should contact Kingston at nkingsto@ku.edu or email ceel@ku.edu.

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