Publications iconKansas Register

Volume 40 - Issue 38 - September 23, 2021

State of Kansas

Department of Education

Permanent Administrative Regulations

Article 31.—ACCREDITATION

91-31-31. Definitions. As used in this article of the department’s regulations, each of the following terms shall have the meaning specified in this regulation:

(a) “Accreditation” means the process of documenting that an education system meets requirements established by the state board.

(b) “Accreditation cycle” means the period of time from the beginning of the needs assessment to the point at which the state board grants an accreditation rating to an education system.

(c) “Accreditation rating” means the status granted by the state board upon recommendation of the accreditation review council.

(d) “Accreditation review council” means the body of education professionals charged with providing a recommendation of accreditation rating to the state board at the end of each accreditation cycle.

(e) “Accreditation year” means the final year, or step, of an education system’s accreditation cycle.

(f) “Accredited” means the status assigned to an education system that meets the following conditions established by the state board:

(1) The education system is in good standing.

(2) The education system provides conclusive evidence of improvement in student performance.

(3) The education system provides conclusive evidence of a process of continuous improvement.

(g) “Area for improvement” means the specific issue to be corrected, as determined by the accreditation review council, that an education system shall complete in order to improve the education system’s accreditation rating.

(h) “Chief administrative officer” means the person hired by a governing body to lead the work of achieving the education system’s mission and to oversee all aspects of the operation of the education system.

(i) “Commissioner” means commissioner of education.

(j) “Conclusive evidence” means data that is sufficient to the accreditation review council to justify its recommendation of accredited to the state board.

(k) “Conditionally accredited” means the status assigned to any of the following:

(1) A new education system seeking accreditation;

(2) an education system seeking accreditation after one or more years of not seeking accreditation; or

(3) an education system about which both of the following are true:

(A) The education system is in good standing; and

(B) the education system provides neither conclusive evidence of growth in student performance nor conclusive evidence of a process of continuous improvement.

(l) “Corrective action plan” means the set of actions developed by an education system in response to areas for improvement identified by the accreditation review council.

(m) “Credit” means formal acknowledgment by an education system’s governing body for criteria-based accomplishment. In Kansas K-12 education, this term is usually expressed as a number of units of credit.

(n) “Curriculum standards” means statements adopted by the state board specifying what students should know and be able to demonstrate in specific content areas.

(o) “Education system” means a Kansas unified school district, the Kansas state school for the blind, the Kansas school for the deaf, an organized body of non-public schools, or an independent private school.

(p) “Education system leadership team” means the group of education system employees that leads the education system’s work toward an accreditation rating during an accreditation cycle.

(q) “Education system site council” means the group of people from outside of the education system from whom the education system leadership team receives input related to the education system’s work toward an accreditation rating during an accreditation cycle.

(r) “Final analysis” means the process of reviewing education system-level data at the end of an accreditation cycle.

(s) “Foundational structures” means programs, models, or practices prerequisite to receiving an accreditation rating of “accredited” from the state board.

(t) “Framework” means a defined set of practices that together encompass the work that education systems do to prepare successful Kansas high school graduates.

(u) “Goal area” means one area of performance selected by an education system for specific focus during its accreditation cycle.

(v) “Governing body” means either of the following:

(1) The board of education of any public education system; or

(2) the decision-making authority of any private education system.

(w) “Independent private school” means a non-public school that, for accreditation purposes, is not affiliated with other non-public schools.

(x) “In good standing” means in compliance with, or working with the state board to achieve compliance with, all applicable federal and state statutes and regulations.

(y) “Kansas assessment program” means the evaluation that the state board conducts in order to measure student learning within the Kansas curriculum standards.

(z) “Kansas education systems accreditation” and “KESA” mean the Kansas model for the accreditation of education systems that offer any grades kindergarten through grade 12.

(aa) “Needs assessment” means a systematic process of scoring state board-approved rubrics and examining current data supporting KESA results for the purpose of determining needs or gaps between current conditions and desired conditions.

(bb) “Not accredited” means the status assigned to an education system that is described by either of the following:

(1) Is not in good standing; or

(2) fails to provide conclusive evidence of either improvement in student performance or a process of continuous improvement.

(cc) “On-site visit” means a visit at an education system by either the education system’s outside visitation team or its state technical assistance team.

(dd) “Outside visitation team” means a group of trained education professionals selected by an education system to collaborate with the education system in a coaching or mentoring role, supporting the education system for the duration of an accreditation cycle.

(ee) “Outside visitation team chair” means the member of the outside visitation team who has been specifically trained and appointed to act as the leader of the group for the duration of an accreditation cycle.

(ff) “Private education system” means either of the following:

(1) An organized body of non-public schools; or

(2) an independent private school.

(gg) “Public education system” means any of the following:

(1) A Kansas unified school district;

(2) the Kansas state school for the blind; or

(3) the Kansas school for the deaf.

(hh) “Qualified admissions” means the set of criteria allowing a high school graduate guaranteed admission into Kansas public universities.

(ii) “School” means an organizational unit that provides educational services in a logical sequence of elements that may be structured as grade levels, developmental levels, or instructional levels.

(jj) “School leadership team” means the group of employees of a school leading that school’s work toward an accreditation rating during an accreditation cycle.

(kk) “School site council” means the group of people not employed by the school with whom the school leadership team consults.

(ll) “State board” means the Kansas state board of education.

(mm) “State board-approved rubrics” means the methods used by an education system during the needs assessment to evaluate the education system’s current condition.

(nn) “State technical assistance team” means a group of persons appointed by the commissioner to assist “not accredited” public education systems in achieving an upgraded status.

(oo) “Successful Kansas high school graduate” means a high school graduate who has the academic preparation, cognitive preparation, technical skills, employability skills, and civic engagement to be successful in postsecondary education, in the attainment of an industry-recognized certification, or in the workforce, without the need for remediation.

(pp) “Unit” means the number or amount, expressed in fractions or decimals, of credit assigned to a specific achievement. A full unit is credit that is awarded for the successful demonstration of competency and knowledge of a content area. (Authorized by and implementing Article 6, Section 2(a) of the Kansas Constitution and K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 72-5170; effective July 1, 2005; amended Oct. 8, 2021.)

91-31-32. Kansas education systems accreditation. (a) The Kansas accreditation model shall be the Kansas education systems accreditation model.

(b) An education system’s accreditation status may be changed by the state board at any time in accordance with K.A.R. 91-31-37 or K.A.R. 91-31-40, or both.

(c) Each school that held an accreditation rating from the state board on June 30, 2017 shall retain that accreditation rating subject to subsection (b) and demonstrated engagement in the Kansas education systems accreditation process, until that accreditation rating is superseded by the first accreditation rating granted under Kansas education systems accreditation.

(d) Each public education system shall participate in the Kansas education systems accreditation process.

(e) Except as authorized by K.A.R. 91-31-42, each private education system that voluntarily participates in the Kansas education systems accreditation process shall be subject to all requirements of the Kansas education systems accreditation process.

(f) Before an education system shall be considered for an accreditation rating above “not accredited,” the education system shall be in good standing.

(g) Each education system seeking accreditation shall meet the following requirements:

(1) Participate in the Kansas assessment program as directed by the state board;

(2) have in place a method of data collection approved by the state board for collecting kindergarten-entry data;

(3) have in place a state board-approved individual plan of study program for each student. The program shall begin for all students by grade eight and continue through high school graduation;

(4) have in place a method of assessing all students’ social-emotional growth;

(5) provide evidence that the foundational structures for each accreditation cycle are in place;

(6) offer curricula that allow students to meet the requirements of the state scholarship program;

(7) offer subjects and areas of instruction approved by the state board that provide each student with the opportunity to achieve at least the capacities listed in K.S.A. 72-3218, and amendments thereto; and

(8) document the existence, membership, training, and meetings of school site councils, education system site councils, and education system leadership teams.

(h) Each education system shall be granted its accreditation rating following completion of the accreditation cycle. A new accreditation cycle shall begin after the state board grants the new accreditation rating, with the length of the accreditation cycle determined by the state board. (Authorized by and implementing Article 6, Section 2(a) of the Kansas Constitution and K.S.A. 72-3218; effective July 1, 2005; amended Jan. 10, 2014; amended Dec. 9, 2016; amended Oct. 8, 2021.)

91-31-33. Data submission. Each education system participating in the Kansas education systems accreditation shall provide any data requested by the state board. (Authorized by and implementing Article 6, Section 2(a) of the Kansas Constitution; effective July 1, 2005; amended Oct. 8, 2021.)

91-31-34. Governing body requirements. (a) General. Each governing body shall ensure that its education system meets the requirements of this regulation.

(b) Staff.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, in filling positions for which a license or certificate is issued by the state board, each education system shall employ persons who hold licenses or certificates with specific endorsements for the positions held.

(2) If a teacher holding an appropriate license or certificate is not available, the education system shall use a substitute teacher holding a valid Kansas teacher or administrator license or certificate at any level or in any field or subject. An education system shall not allow any person holding a Kansas teaching license or certificate to substitute teach for more than 140 days in the same assignment.

(3) If a substitute teacher holding a valid Kansas teacher or administrator license or certificate is not available, the education system shall use a substitute teacher holding a valid Kansas substitute teaching license or certificate. An education system shall not allow a person holding a substitute teaching license or certificate to teach for more than 90 days in the same assignment.

(4) If a substitute teacher holding a valid Kansas substitute teaching license is not available, the education system shall use a person who holds a baccalaureate degree and an emergency substitute teaching license or certificate. An education system shall not allow a person who holds a baccalaureate degree and an emergency substitute teaching license or certificate to teach for more than 45 days in the same assignment.

(5)(A) If a person holding a baccalaureate degree and an emergency substitute teaching license is not available, the education system shall use a person who has been licensed or certified by the state board as an emergency substitute teacher. An education system shall not allow any person who does not hold a baccalaureate degree to teach for more than 25 days in the same assignment or more than 75 days in a semester.

(B) If a governing body documents that there is an insufficient supply of substitute teachers, the governing body may appeal to the commissioner for authority to allow individuals holding an emergency substitute teaching license or certificate to continue to teach for an additional length of time.

(6) Each education system shall report the name of each licensed or certified staff member on the personnel report or the supplemental personnel report required by the state board. Each licensed or certified personnel staff change that occurs between September 15 and the end of the school year shall be reported on a form prescribed by the state board within 30 days after the staff change.

(c) Minimum enrollment. Each education system shall have an enrollment of 10 or more students on September 20 to remain eligible for accreditation.

(d) Credit. Each education system, through the governing body, shall have a written policy specifying that the credit of any pupil transferring from an accredited school or education system shall be accepted.

(e) Records retention. Each education system shall permanently retain each student’s records relating to academic performance, attendance, and activities.

(f) Interscholastic athletics.

(1) A governing body shall not allow any student below the sixth-grade level to participate in interscholastic athletics.

(2) A governing body may allow any student at the sixth-grade level or higher to participate in interscholastic athletics.

(3) If a governing body allows students at the sixth-grade level to participate in interscholastic athletics, the governing body shall comply with the guidelines for interscholastic athletics adopted by the state board.

(4) Any governing body may join the Kansas state high school activities association and participate under its rules. Each governing body that does not join that association shall comply with the guidelines for interscholastic athletics adopted by the state board.

(g) Athletic practice.

(1) Any elementary or middle school that includes any of the grades six through nine may conduct athletic practice during the school day only at times when one or more elective academic courses or a study period is offered to students.

(2) The time used for high school athletic practice that is conducted during the school day shall not count toward the statutorily required number of hours or days of instruction. (Authorized by and implementing Article 6, Section 2(a) of the Kansas Constitution; effective July 1, 2005; amended Oct. 8, 2021.)

91-31-35. Graduation requirements. (a) Each governing body shall adopt a written policy specifying that pupils are eligible for graduation only after completion of at least the following graduation requirements as established by the state board:

(1) Four units of English language arts, which shall include reading, writing, literature, communication, and grammar. The chief administrative officer may waive up to one unit of this requirement if the chief administrative officer determines that a pupil will benefit more by taking another subject;

(2) three units of history and government, which shall include world history; United States history; United States government, including the Constitution of the United States; concepts of economics and geography; and, except as otherwise provided in K.A.R. 91-31-32, a course of instruction in Kansas history and government;

(3) three units of science, which shall include physical, biological, and earth and space science concepts and which shall include at least one unit as a laboratory course;

(4) three units of mathematics, including algebraic and geometric concepts;

(5) one unit of physical education, which shall include health and which may include safety, first aid, or physiology. This requirement shall be waived if the school district is provided with either of the following:

(A) A statement by a licensed physician that a pupil is mentally or physically incapable of participating in a regular or modified physical education program; or

(B) a statement, signed by a lawful custodian of the pupil, indicating that the requirement is contrary to the religious teachings of the pupil;

(6) one unit of fine arts, which may include art, music, dance, theatre, forensics, and other similar studies selected by the governing body; and

(7) six units of elective courses.

(b) At least 21 units of credit shall be required for graduation.

(c) Any governing body may increase the number of units of credit required for graduation. Any additional requirements of the governing body that increase the number of units of credit required for graduation shall apply to those students who will enter the ninth grade in the school year following the effective date of the additional requirement.

(d) Unless more stringent requirements are specified by existing local policy, the graduation requirements specified in this regulation shall apply to those students who enter the ninth grade in the school year following the effective date of this regulation and to each subsequent class of students. (Authorized by and implementing Article 6, Section 2(a) of the Kansas Constitution, K.S.A. 72-3235, and K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 72-5170; effective July 1, 2005; amended Oct. 8, 2021.)

91-31-36. Outside visitation teams. (a) Each education system shall select an outside visitation team, which shall be approved by the education system’s governing body. The outside visitation team’s composition and number of members shall be determined by the education system leadership team according to guidelines established by the state board.

(b) Each member of an outside visitation team shall receive specific training determined by the state board. Each person serving as an outside visitation team chair shall attend additional, specific training to be determined by the state board.

(c) One meeting between the outside visitation team and the education system leadership team shall occur during each year of the accreditation cycle. (Authorized by and implementing Article 6, Section 2(a) of the Kansas Constitution; effective July 1, 2005; amended Oct. 8, 2021.)

91-31-37. Accreditation recommendation and appeal. (a) Upon completion of the accreditation process during or before the education system’s originally scheduled accreditation year, a recommendation from the accreditation review council regarding the accreditation rating to be assigned to the education system shall be communicated to the education system. Each recommendation shall include a statement of the reasons for the recommendation.

(b) The education system’s governing body may file an appeal with the commissioner within 15 days after receipt of the recommendation. The education system’s governing body may raise any issue and present any additional information that is relevant to its appeal.

(c) If the governing body files an appeal, a consultation shall be ordered by the commissioner and shall be conducted by an appeal team appointed by the commissioner.

(1) If there is agreement on the recommendation following the appeal, the appeal team shall forward the accreditation recommendation to the commissioner for submission to the state board.

(2) If there is not agreement on a recommendation following the appeal, the appeal team shall request the commissioner to appoint a hearing officer to conduct a hearing and forward an accreditation recommendation to the state board.

(d) Each recommendation for an accreditation rating shall be acted upon by the state board. (Authorized by and implementing Article 6, Section 2(a) of the Kansas Constitution; effective July 1, 2005; amended Oct. 8, 2021.)

91-31-38. Accreditation rating. (a) Each education system shall be classified as one of the following:

(1) Accredited;

(2) conditionally accredited; or

(3) not accredited.

(b) Each unaccredited education system that seeks accreditation shall receive an accreditation rating of “conditionally accredited” until the education system’s accreditation rating is determined using the criteria prescribed in K.A.R. 91-31-32.

(c) If an education system receives an accreditation rating of “conditionally accredited,” the accreditation review council shall notify the education system of specific areas for improvement and any other corrective action that shall be addressed.

(1) To change the education system’s accreditation rating to “accredited,” the education system shall develop and implement a corrective action plan approved by the accreditation review council.

(2) Upon satisfaction of the requirements of the corrective action plan and any other required corrective actions, the education system’s accreditation rating may be upgraded to “accredited.”

(3) If the requirements of the corrective action plan and any other required corrective actions are not met by the deadline established by the accreditation review council, the education system’s accreditation rating may be downgraded to “not accredited.”

(d) If a public education system receives an accreditation rating of “not accredited,” that education system shall be assigned a state technical assistance team to guide it in achieving an upgraded accreditation rating. The state technical assistance team shall be appointed by the commissioner and take the place of the outside visitation team. The state technical assistance team shall provide guidance to the education system in achieving appropriate corrective action. The state technical assistance team shall remain assigned to the education system until it attains an accreditation rating of at least “conditionally accredited” through action of the state board.

(e) If a public education system retains the accreditation rating of “not accredited” after state technical assistance has been in place for one year, sanctions may be applied as determined by the state board under K.A.R. 91-31-40.

(f) An accreditation rating of “not accredited” for a private education system shall remain in effect until that education system demonstrates satisfactory achievement of all corrective actions required for an upgraded accreditation rating and until the state board grants the upgraded accreditation rating. (Authorized by and implementing Article 6, Section 2(a) of the Kansas Constitution; effective July 1, 2005; amended Oct. 8, 2021.)

91-31-39. (Authorized by and implementing Article 6, Section 2(a) of the Kansas Constitution; effective July 1, 2005; revoked Oct. 8, 2021.)

91-31-40. Sanctions. (a) Sanctions may be applied by the state board to a public education system in response to any of the following circumstances:

(1) The public education system’s accreditation rating of “not accredited”;

(2) the public education system’s failure to move from “not accredited” to “conditionally accredited” after state technical assistance has been in place for one year; or

(3) failure to remain in good standing.

(b) One or more of the following sanctions may be applied in response to any of the circumstances specified in subsection (a):

(1) A recommendation that public education system personnel or resources be reassigned or reallocated within the public education system by the governing body;

(2) a recommendation that the public education system be assigned a state technical assistance team to assist the education system until it achieves an upgraded accreditation rating;

(3) a recommendation to the legislature that it approve a reduction in state funding to the public education system by an amount that will be added to the local property tax imposed by the governing body;

(4) a recommendation that the legislature abolish or restructure the public education system; or

(5) a letter of notification and a press release announcing the public education system’s accreditation rating and specifying each reason for that accreditation rating. (Authorized by and implementing Article 6, Section 2(a) of the Kansas Constitution; effective July 1, 2005; amended Oct. 8, 2021.)

91-31-41. Public disclosure. Each education system participating in KESA shall at all times provide, on the home page of the education system’s official web site, a link to the KSDE report card. (Authorized by and implementing Article 6, Section 2(a) of the Kansas Constitution, K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 72-1181, and K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 72-5170; effective July 1, 2005; amended Oct. 8, 2021.)

91-31-42. Waiver. (a) Any education system may request a waiver from one or more accreditation requirements imposed by the state board. Each request for a waiver shall meet the following requirements:

(1) The education system shall submit the request, in writing, to the commissioner.

(2) The chief administrative officer of the education system shall sign the request. If the request is made by a public education system, both the superintendent and the president of the governing body shall sign the request.

(3) In the request, the education system shall state each specific requirement for which the education system is requesting a waiver and shall indicate how the granting of the waiver would enhance improvement in the education system.

(b) Within 30 days after the receipt of a request for a waiver, a recommendation shall be made by the commissioner to the state board either to grant or to deny the request. The commissioner may consider information in addition to that which is provided in the request.

(c) The request and the recommendation from the commissioner shall be considered by the state board, and the final decision on whether to grant or deny the request shall be made by the state board. (Authorized by and implementing Article 6, Section 2(a) of the Kansas Constitution and K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 72-5170; effective July 1, 2005; amended Oct. 8, 2021.)

91-31-43. Child abuse and neglect mandated reporter training. Each accredited education system shall develop and implement written policies for annual child abuse and neglect mandated reporter training of all employees. The training shall address child abuse and neglect reporting requirements when any individual has reason to suspect that a student attending the accredited education system has been harmed as a result of physical, mental, or emotional abuse or neglect or sexual abuse. Each accredited education system shall maintain documentation that each employee has met the annual training requirement. (Authorized by and implementing Article 6, Section 2(a) of the Kansas Constitution and K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 72-5170; effective Oct. 8, 2021.)

Randy Watson
Commissioner of Education

Doc. No. 049460