Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

Dear Kentucky Teacher,

As you settle into the school year, I am taking the opportunity to update you on implementation of the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES).

This school year, as you know, we are implementing PGES for teachers and principals statewide. Unfortunately, there have been some unexpected glitches with the PGES technology platform, specifically the Educator Development Suite (EDS) of the Continuous Instructional Improvement Technology System (CIITS).

First, let me emphasize that there has been no compromise in the privacy of teacher or student data. However, the timing could not have been worse, and understandably created much frustration at a time when you were trying to focus on your students and getting the school year off to a great start. For that, I am sorry.

Several weeks ago, when we learned of the issues educators were having with EDS, we immediately reached out to the vendor to rectify the situation. In fact, I have personally spoken with the president of Pearson North America about the need to get the technology right for Kentucky teachers and principals. Currently, this is KDE’s main priority. I’m happy to report that, in response, the vendor has provided the following improvements:


  • The software will auto save every 15 seconds.
  • The software will save on closing.
    • The close button was renamed Save & Exit.
    • Your work will be saved one final time prior to exit.
  • The Submit Final button was renamed Submit Self-Reflection to be clearer.
  • There is improved reporting for principals and leadership.
    • The View Self-Reflection report now shows three distinct statuses:
      • not started
      • in progress
      • submitted


  • CIITS Educator Development notification e-mails regarding Self-Reflection and Professional Growth Plans (PGPs) have been suspended. The same information is available from the notifications feature that appears on the My Schoolnet page within CIITS. In the future, when Self-Reflection and Professional Growth Plan e-mail notifications are better targeted, they will be re-enabled. NOTE: CIITS Educator Development notification e-mails that are directed to the specific individual who is reviewing a Student Growth Goal (SGG) will still be delivered.

Also, we have provided additional support to districts to address the correct assignment of roles and permissions within CIITS so that new principals/teachers can see all of their new teachers/students. We have also clarified the responsibilities of the Help Desk so that if you should encounter a problem, it will be dealt with promptly and professionally.

These and other improvements have resulted in significant and consistent increases in the numbers of Self-Reflections, PGPs, SGSs and Observations successfully started and completed (numbers as of Monday morning):

  • Self-Reflections: 31,981 (nearly 75 percent) in progress or submitted – an increase of 16 percent in the past week
  • Professional Growth Plans (PGPs): 10,037 (nearly 45 percent) approved, pending approval or revisions requested – an increase of 45 percent in the past week
  • Student Growth Goals (SGGs): 10,751 in progress, draft, approved or completed – an increase of 56 percent in the past week
  • Observations: 3,382 draft, in progress or complete – an increase of 80 percent in the past week

Additional functionality is scheduled to be available to Kentucky educators in the upcoming releases of CIITS. Of note, the following will be coming in the next few months:

Professional growth plan enhancements

  • The software will auto save every 15 seconds.
  • Reporting will be improved – showing all statuses including in progress.

Site visits

  • The software will allow principal observation.

Share draft self-reflection

  • The software will allow educator ongoing self-reflection throughout the year.
  • An educator can share a draft of the self-reflection using Share Draft and continue to edit throughout the year.


  • Numeric scores are to be suppressed.
  • The number values are to be removed.
  • Scoring is to be configured to align with the effectiveness rating: E = Exemplary; A= Accomplished; D = Developing; I = Ineffective.
  • There will be no Average Overall Score.

I emphasize to you that while there were unfortunate glitches early-on in the technology platform for PGES, PGES itself is not broken. The system has been developed over the past five years in collaboration with teachers, principals and other education stakeholders to support the continuous professional growth and development of the skills needed to be a highly effective teacher or a highly effective administrator in a school or district.

In Kentucky, we are fortunate to already have some of the best educators in the country. You have proven that over the past few years as you have implemented new standards, new assessments and a new accountability system that combined have driven a significant increase in the number of students who are graduating college/career-ready. I am excited about what the future holds for you and for our children once we have the last piece of the system in place. PGES will empower you and guide you to make positive changes in your professional practice and improve student learning outcomes for all children.

In closing, thank you for your dedication, professionalism and patience as we work to refine EDS, and implement Kentucky’s Professional Growth and Effectiveness System for the benefit of you and your students.

Terry Holliday, Ph.D.