Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

No matter how busy my schedule gets as Kentucky’s education commissioner, I am always interested in receiving feedback. That’s one of the many reasons I meet regularly with staff, connect through social media and visit schools around the state. The comments, questions and ideas I receive from all of these and many other activities are invaluable, and I believe help Kentucky continue making gains in its pledge to ensure every child is college and career ready.

That is why I am such a big supporter of the TELL Kentucky survey which was first administered in 2011. TELL stands for Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning – the actions we are seeking to optimize in our schools.

Next month, March 4 through March 29, every certified staff member in Kentucky’s public schools will again have an opportunity to use this anonymous, Web-based survey to voice their perceptions of the teaching and learning conditions in Kentucky schools.

The survey, which is voluntary and confidential, will query certified staff about working conditions in areas such as leadership, facilities, resources, professional development, empowerment and time.

The results will be used by school-based decision making councils, schools, districts, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) and numerous other organizations to improve the working conditions in our schools and districts.

I am very excited that we can offer this survey to all of our certified staff in Kentucky once again.

As in 2011, the intent of the survey is to provide schools, districts and the state data that can be used to enhance school improvement efforts.

In 2011, educators in Kentucky set a record breaking response rate for first-time statewide surveys with an 80 percent response rate to TELL Kentucky. The survey data was used in different initiatives across the commonwealth, including use in school improvement plans, the design of new evaluation tools, Race to the Top and Kentucky’s ESEA Waiver applications and professional development opportunities.

And recently, the Kentucky Board of Education adopted the Kentucky Teaching Condition Standards establishing expectations that every principal, superintendent and local board of education will understand and work to meet. The standards were approved by KBE at the November meeting and they are posted on the KDE website and at TELL Kentucky website( KDE is encouraging districts to use the standards as part of their school improvement planning process.  After the TELL survey administration in March 2013, KDE will provide additional resources for districts on how to use the standards to inform their school improvement planning.

I ask every certified staff member in Kentucky to take the TELL survey, encourage their co-workers to do so and monitor the participation rates for your school and district through the TELL Kentucky website. Your voice is essential.

I firmly believe that by addressing working conditions in our schools and districts, we will have a positive impact on student learning results, reduce teacher turnover rates and make a long-term impact on the economy of Kentucky.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the survey help desk at or call toll-free at 1-855-258-2818, Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET or access instant help from the website at