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The University of Kentucky Center for Next Generation Leadership offers a ChangeMakers program as a rank change pathway that combines the best of job-embedded, high-quality professional learning with the expertise of research-based next generation practices.
Photo submitted by the University of Kentucky Next Generation Leadership Academy

Who among teachers could use some inspiration? ChangeMakers, a continuing education option for teachers to pursue EPSB rank change, is enrolling now for a cohort that begins in June 2023.

ChangeMakers is a one-year, online, job-embedded program through the Center for Next Generation Leadership at the University of Kentucky College of Education. The program enables teachers to engage with colleagues learning new, practical content that can be applied right away. This rank-change pathway focuses on deeper learning, with modules covering student-centered learning, learner agency, inquiry, equity, assessment for deeper learning, competency-based education and more.

The program offers the chance to be in community with like-minded professionals, said former participant and Shelby County East Middle School teacher Katie Ramos.

“I get to keep growing and learn things in a really authentic way that applies to my classroom,” said Ramos.

Participants are reinvigorated in their teaching through support from peers, along with immediately actionable practices they can implement.

“The most rewarding part of the program is the way I think about teaching and learning. My whole philosophy of education has shifted,” said Denise McClain, an art teacher at Heritage Elementary School (Shelby County). “It sparked something in me, like I was a first-year excited teacher again.”

ChangeMakers puts a focus on empowering and impacting students.

“The best part is you will be surprised by how much better you will get with understanding student needs, and authentic voice and choice,” said Karen Cash, a math teacher at Liberty High School (Jefferson County).

ChangeMakers empowers teachers to lead the way in empowering students to think critically, solve problems, and take control of their learning.

“The most rewarding part is driving home how much we are able to turn learning over to students. At the high school level, the students experience the same issue with taking control as we did as learners in the program learning to use our agency,” said Karla Fidoe, a teacher at Kenwood Elementary (Jefferson County).

One of the unique elements of the program is an action research component where ChangeMakers participants can gather real-time data to measure success. ChangeMakers faculty said gathering data to prove the efficacy of changes in practice is powerful.

“I was excited about the research piece before I did it because none of my undergraduate or graduate work required me to do research in that capacity. So, learning a process like that and then being able to implement in my classroom later was good,” said Eileen Ryan, a teacher at Central High School Magnet Career Academy (Jefferson County).

ChangeMakers participants have shared that change can be powerful in a building when teams are engaged in learning together.

“We had a team at my school interested in looking at personalized learning and changing the way we teach. It’s my principal who encouraged us to do it together. It gives me a chance to become a leader in my school and share my knowledge,” Fidoe said.

The ChangeMakers program is a rank change pathway that combines the best of job-embedded, high quality professional learning with the expertise of research-based next generation practices. ChangeMakers is designed to support participants and teams as they experience, reflect, and grow professionally over the course of a great year of teaching and leading.

Visit the ChangeMakers website for more information and to apply for the June 2023 cohort.

Liza Holland is a communications specialist at the University of Kentucky and the University of Kentucky Center for Next Generation Leadership.