HOISINGTON — In December of 2010, Hoisington High School Principal Meg Wilson was approached by Sue Kidd, Kansas Character Education Initiative coordinator, at the National Character Education Conference in San Francisco to co-chair the Kansas state character education development committee in its infancy. The committee was charged with developing K-12 standards for schools to guide the process of integrating social and emotional character development for Kansas. The committee work began in January of 2011 and with diligent efforts throughout the past 14 months has reached a final product approved by the Kansas State Board of Education.
Kansas became the first state in the nation to integrate social, emotional and character development into a single, seamless set of standards when the Kansas State Board of Education adopted the standards for K-12 education during its monthly meeting in Topeka.
At its April meeting, the Kansas State BOE approved model standards for emotional, social and character development. The standards are not a requirement for Kansas schools, but are in place to assist schools that would like to develop programs aimed at helping students to develop social competencies and emotional intelligence. The Kansas standards are unique in that they are the first standards in the nation to integrate social, emotional learning and character development into a single set of standards aligned with the Multi-tiered System of Support. MTSS is a term to describe the tools and resources each teacher uses to support each child.
SECD Standards are not designed to replace the existing school counseling standards but rather are aligned with and work in conjunction with them, particularly the personal-social domain.
The character standards writing committee were co-chairs Wilson and Noalee McDonald-Augustine, Character Education Partnership consultant Dr. Ed Dunkelblau and Kidd. They guided the process that yielded a historical document and needed tool in less than 18 months, according to a news release from K State BOE.
State board members also approved entering into a contract to create a Kansas Bullying Assistance and Support Hotline. The hotline would be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide support and referral services as needed to students, educators and parents. The contractual process will take between 60 and 90 days and KSDE will provide specific information when that process is complete.