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Parent involvement involves careful planning, communications

I recently received the following letter from a teacher regarding parent involvement and the challenges she faces getting parents engaged with her classroom and school. Parent involvement is vital to the work we are undertaking in Kentucky schools, yet I know it can be difficult to get parents engaged and involved in our schools. I wanted to share the letter with all of you, and also my response, which I hope provides some helpful suggestions.

Here is the teacher’s letter:

To: Holliday, Terry – Commissioner, Dept. of Education

Subject:  Increased Parental Involvement

Dr. Holliday,

As a teacher, I want you to know that I have tried more than once to get parents in to conference with them about their child. I have offered Parent Teacher Conferences October 8th, November 5th, 2012, January 4th, and February 26th, 2013. I also offer evening hours. I Continue Reading

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A quilt to remember

Commissioner Terry Holliday pictured in his office with a quilt made from t-shirts given to him during school visits. Photo by Amy Wallot, March 29, 2013

Commissioner Terry Holliday pictured in his office with a quilt made from t-shirts given to him during school visits.
Photo by Amy Wallot, March 29, 2013

When Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday looks up from his desk, before him hangs a custom-made quilt expertly designed, sewn and quilted by his sister-in-law, Libby Holliday, who lives in Belton, South Carolina. Based on the craftsmanship, it is clear she does this work professionally.

But this is no ordinary wall hanging. This quilt was created from t-shirts given to the commissioner by staff in many of the districts where he has travelled since taking the job in 2009. Blocks of district and school names, mottos and logos make up the colorful patchwork. It even has a stitched script of Kentucky subtly worked into the quilting.

In a 2011 self-evaluation, Holliday pledged to visit every public school district in the state. This past December, he accomplished his goal. In total, the commissioner visited roughly 450 schools in 174 districts and put about 50,000 miles on his car. Continue Reading

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Kentucky partners with national group to engage teachers

In an effort to better engage teachers in the implementation of Kentucky’s Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES), the Kentucky Department of Education, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Education Association, and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence have announced a partnership with Hope Street Group, a national nonprofit organization known for its teacher engagement work.

Hope Street Group’s collaborative efforts will center on transforming the teaching profession and improving outcomes for Kentucky children.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said the department and its partners welcome Hope Street Group to the state.

“We share a common commitment – to engage teachers at every level. The Hope Street Group’s work in Kentucky will support and reinforce our strategic work around educator effectiveness,” he said. “More effective teaching means improved student outcomes ensuring that all of our students graduate from high school college/career-ready.” Continue Reading

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Kentucky’s college- and career-readiness efforts recognized

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday, left,  Gov. Steve Beshear and ACT, Inc. recognized Hazard Community and Technical College President Dr. Stephen Greiner, Layfette High School (Fayette County) senior Devin O'Neil Morton, Murray High School (Murray Independent) Principal Teresa Speed and Citi Vice President of Public Affairs Crystal Gibson for their college and career readiness efforts during a press conference this week at the Capitol.

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday, left, Gov. Steve Beshear and ACT, Inc. recognized Hazard Community and Technical College President Dr. Stephen Greiner, Layfette High School (Fayette County) senior Devin O’Neil Morton, Murray High School (Murray Independent) Principal Teresa Speed and Citi Vice President of Public Affairs Crystal Gibson for their college and career readiness efforts during a press conference this week at the Capitol.
Photo by Amy Wallot, April 15 , 2013

Gov. Steve Beshear and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday teamed up with ACT, Inc. this week to celebrate Kentucky’s progress toward the goal of college- and career-readiness for all students and recognize those who embody or advance the state’s commitment to preparing students for success.

“From preschool to career, getting students ready to take the next step is vital not only to their future but Kentucky’s future,” said Gov. Beshear. “Our ability to create and maintain an energetic and highly trained workforce depends on that preparation. Education is the single-biggest factor in determining long-term success for our state – whether success is defined by the quality of life for our people, the stability of our economy, or the competitive strength of our business sector.”

The event was part of the ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign that celebrates achievement and creates awareness around the goal of college and career readiness for all.

Kentucky is one of seven states (others are Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina and Wisconsin) invited to participate in the national campaign’s inaugural year. Continue Reading

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New fund to provide support for innovative teachers, schools

Several business, government and education leaders announced this week the launch of a new non-profit organization that will encourage and support innovative new approaches in Kentucky classrooms.

The announcement came at a news conference at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce headquarters in Frankfort.

The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky (The Fund) will start off by partnering with the Kentucky Department of

Education (KDE) to administer two recent grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation totaling nearly $3 million. The first grant will help establish teacher networks and forums so innovative teachers can more easily “connect” with other teachers around the state and share promising new ideas for improving student outcomes.

The second grant is aimed at bringing together teachers in the “core” subject areas, such as science and math, so they can collaborate on assignments for students. It is hoped that this collaboration will yield significant improvements in student achievement. Continue Reading

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Legislative session yields passage of numerous education bills

Students from Warner Elementary School (Jessamine County) tour the Capitol in Frankfort. Photo by Amy Wallot, March 7, 2013

Students from Warner Elementary School (Jessamine County) tour the Capitol in Frankfort.
Photo by Amy Wallot, March 7, 2013

By Tracy Goff-Herman
tracy.herman@education.ky.gov

The 2013 legislative session was a so-called short session, lasting only 30 days, but it was packed with action on education bills, many of which support the state’s efforts to ensure all students graduate high school college- and career-ready.

Several of the bills that were passed also were priorities for the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE).

Among those were Senate Bill 97 which, like similar legislation that stalled in previous sessions, raises the compulsory student attendance age from 16 to 18.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, allows local school districts to adopt a policy to raise compulsory school age attendance from 16 to 18, beginning with the 2015-16 school year. The policy must apply to all students residing in the district, even if they attend school in another district under a non-resident contract. Additionally, local school boards must certify to the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) that their districts have programs and supports in place to meet the needs of students.

If 55 percent (96 of 174 districts) of all Kentucky public school districts adopt a local policy to raise the compulsory attendance, then a Continue Reading

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Board resolution urges early adoption of dropout age increase

At its meeting yesterday, the Kentucky Board of Education and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday urged local school boards to “be courageous” and adopt a policy to raise the compulsory school attendance age to 18 effective in the 2015-16 school year.

The state board approved a resolution encouraging districts to be early adopters of the policy, “in order to send a strong message that completing high school is essential to ensuring that every student graduates college- and career-ready.”

Local boards of education can begin adopting such a policy on July 1 or thereafter that would take effect in the 2015-16 school year.

Commissioner Holliday announced a program to award $10,000 planning grants to the first 57 districts to approve a policy raising the dropout age prior to the 2015-16 school year.  The money can be used to develop a required plan for implementation that would include integration of career and technical education, engagement of the community and the use of community resources.

Legislation passed in the most recent General Assembly includes a provision that once 55 percent of districts adopt a policy requiring students to stay in school until they are 18, the remainder of districts must do so within four years. Early adoption of the policy would allow districts to inform students beginning with the Class of 2019 of the change and give school and district staffs time to plan for its successful implementation. Continue Reading

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TELL Kentucky Survey response exceeds 84 percent

More than 43,000 educators – or 87 percent of those eligible – participated in the 2013 TELL Kentucky Survey.

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday expressed appreciation this week to everyone who participated in the survey. He also thanked those who assisted educators at the local level with the information on how to participate as well as our statewide partners that urged educators to provide feedback through the survey.

Numerous districts had high participation rates and all but two districts reached the 50 percent level or higher.

There were 29 school districts that had 100 percent participation as of Monday morning, April 1, 2013.

Those districts included: Adair County, Allen County, Augusta Independent, Ballard County, Bellevue Independent, Carter County, Caverna Independent, Cumberland County, Dawson Springs Independent, East Bernstadt Independent, Elliot County, Leslie County, Erlanger-Elsmere Independent, Fleming County, Hazard Independent, Hickman County, Jackson Independent, Kentucky School for the Blind, Lewis County, Logan County, Ludlow Independent, McLean County, Owen County, Paintsville Independent, Perry County, Pulaski County, Southgate Independent, Union County and Washington County.

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Kentucky Board of Education gets two new members

Gov. Steve Beshear recently appointed two new members to the Kentucky Board of Education.

They include:

  • Trevor R. Bonnstetter, of Mayfield, is CEO at West Kentucky Rural Telephone. He represents members at large. The appointment replaces Dorothy Z. Combs, whose term has expired. Bonnstetter shall serve for a term expiring April 14, 2016.
  • Grayson R. Boyd, of Williamsport, is a retired educator. He represents the 7th Supreme Court District. The appointment replaces Martha M. Jones, who resigned. Boyd shall serve for the remainder of the unexpired term ending April 14, 2014.

Gov. Beshear also made an appointment to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. Joe E. Ellis, an optometrist from Benton, will replace Lisa Osbourne, whose term expired. The governor also reappointed Pam Miller to the council. Miller, a former Lexington mayor, will serve on the council through Dec. 31, 2018.

 

 

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Voting slogan contest winners announced

Three middle school students were voted by the public as having coined the best slogans to promote voting in Kentucky.

Kassidy Kobb, a sixth-grade home school student in Muhlenberg County, submitted the winning slogan, “Make a choice. Use your voice. Vote!” For her first-place finish, Kobb will receive a $1,000 cash prize, which will be presented to her at the Civic Health Initiative roundtable at Henderson Community and Technical College on April 9th.

Second place and a $600 award go to Victoria Kelly Brunson, a seventh grader at Northern Middle School in Pulaski County, for the slogan, “Be the change, to see the change. VOTE!”

Tiarra Adkins, who is in the sixth grade at Olmsted Academy South in Jefferson County, won third place and a $400 prize for her submission: “Voting is showing you care. [Clap twice.]”

An honorable mention was awarded to Jessica Bailey, a sixth grader at Wallins Elementary in Harlan County, for her slogan, “We the people – Need to vote!” Continue Reading

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