We are coming to the end of another school year — made longer thanks to this year’s difficult winter — and I know many of you are preparing for the K-PREP tests.
Tremendous change has occurred in Kentucky public education system during the past several years with the implementation of new standards, the creation of the Unbridled Learning assessment and accountability system and the development of the new teacher and principal Professional Growth and Effectiveness System. Kentucky is a national leader in the effort to increase student achievement and prepare kids for life after high school. That excites us and brings us great pride. But I realize it also brings its share of stress and uncertainty, especially for teachers and others who feel pressure to learn and master the changes so they can raise achievement for all students and accomplish the goals we have set.
This week, May 5-9, is National Teacher Appreciation Week. I want to thank teachers for all their support and hard work this school year. I know teachers don’t always receive the compensation or the recognition they deserve for the work they do and the sacrifices they make. As I visit schools across the state and talk to educators, I am impressed by the high expectations Kentucky teachers are setting for their students and themselves, and the innovation they are undertaking in their classrooms. Kentucky is blessed to have so many dedicated professional educators. As I noted in my Op-Ed that was published in the Louisville Courier-Journal this week, Kentucky’s teachers have much to teach us about what is happening in our schools, and ways they can be improved.
While teachers deserve credit for their work, I would be remiss if I also did not recognize all district and school administrators and personnel for the support they have provided during the school year. The reform we are undertaking is not a one-person job; it requires a team of caring adults working together to forge major change and improvement. From the bus driver who is often the first and last school employee students see each day, to the cafeteria workers who provide our students with the food they need to fuel their brains, to resource teachers, library specialists, maintenance staff and a lengthy list of others – each school and district employee plays a part in our work to prepare students for success. I appreciate the contributions you make toward ensuring every Kentucky student receives a world-class education and is college/career-ready by the time he or she graduates from high school.
As we move ahead with continued implementation of our school reform agenda, I pledge to continue to advocate for students, teachers and all school personnel and will support and encourage their efforts every way I can. I value the input I receive from teachers, school employees and parents and encourage them to continue to share their comments, concerns and ideas with me. It takes us all working together to improve our schools, prepare ALL Kentucky’s children to succeed and move our state forward. You may reach Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday at firstname.lastname@example.org.