USD 224 May Choose to Pursue an "ACT Waiver Option" from the US Dept. of Education
by Brian Pekarek
USD 224 Clifton-Clyde School Board is strongly looking at the possibility of applying for a waiver from the United States Department of Education so that the district does not have to focus on the Kansas State Assessments for next school year (2011-2012). The school district has been following the progress of USD 418 McPherson School District very closely this year, and the waiver that that the McPherson School District submitted (and was granted) from the U.S. Department of Education. The waiver that McPherson School District was granted allowed the district staff to focus on their C3 Model (Citizenship, Career Readiness, and College-Readiness) and focus students on the ACT groups of tests instead of the state assessments. Since the ACT tests are linked to college/ vocational school scholarships and entry requirements, this is a direct link towards getting students ready for the "world outside of K-12 education". In addition to this, the ACT Work Keys tests will track the students' career-readiness skills based on a national benchmarks that can be measured.
USD 224 Clifton-Clyde has created a C4 Model (Child Awareness, Citizenship, College-readiness, and Career Readiness) that is very similar to the McPherson's C3 model. During the last school board meeting on April 4th, the USD 224 Clifton-Clyde School board asked the administration to check with the teachers on when the teachers would be ready for the board to apply for the waiver from the U.S. Government as well. If the board approves the motion, and the waiver is granted, the USD 224 School District hopes to be teaching curriculum and standards in the near future that are aligned with ACT group of tests, and not the KS State Assessments. If this happens, USD 224 would plan to give the ACT groups of tests for the 6-12 graders in the district.
In addition to USD 224, many school districts are looking at this possibility across the state. However, the McPherson School District, the Kansas City Kansas School District, and the Clifton-Clyde School District are the farthest along in this process.