Interim Commissioner Kevin C. Brown’s July 10 letter to families

0
1017

From the Desk of Commissioner Kevin C. Brown. An Update for Kentucky's Families about the COVID-19 crisis and our schools, June 26, 2020

Dear Kentucky Public School Families,

I am pleased to share that the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) announced today that Jason Glass will be Kentucky’s next commissioner of education. Dr. Glass has been serving as superintendent and chief learner for Jeffco Public Schools in the metro Denver area since 2017.

Dr. Glass grew up in Brandenburg and is a third generation teacher. His parents and his grandmother were teachers, and his sister currently teachers in Metcalfe County. A 1990 graduate of Meade County High School, Dr. Glass earned his doctorate in education leadership from Seton Hall University, his master’s in political science, a master’s in education and a bachelor’s in political science and history, all from the University of Kentucky. His first teaching job was at Hazard High School in eastern Kentucky, where he taught World Civilizations and Geography. He also coached football and track.

In 2001, Glass moved to Colorado after taking a position in Colorado’s Department of Education. Living in Denver, he worked in special education, data systems and assessment. He also spent time helping develop one of the first early childhood quality rating systems in the country. He and his wife Sarah, who was teaching in a district north of Denver, moved to Eagle County in Colorado.

In 2010, Dr. Glass was selected to be Iowa’s director of education, the state’s equivalent to Kentucky’s commissioner of education. While in Iowa, he became interested in international benchmarking, or looking at education systems around the world for ideas and innovations.

I look forward to working with Dr. Glass as he transitions into the commissioner’s role in September, and when I return to Jefferson County Public Schools in the fall.

Another important event happened at today’s KBE meeting, when the board unanimously passed a resolution affirming its commitment to racial equity in Kentucky public schools by standing against all acts of racism and violence. It calls for creating a better educational community for students, especially for Black students and other students of color.  

Racial equity remains a problem for all statewide school systems, including ours. The resolution cites that even with the progress made in recent decades with increases in achievement overall, there has been no significant reduction in closing achievement gaps between racial groups. Kentucky’s society and its economy cannot be or remain healthy if we are leaving a significant portion of our students behind.

KBE and the Kentucky Department of Education will be dedicated to tackling racism through supporting inclusionary teacher preparation programs that put highly qualified teachers of color in front of students, as well as school improvement options for local districts to close achievement gaps.  

Also included in the resolution is an acknowledgement that education leaders must make a concerted effort to address the social and emotional health of students and staff as society confronts the convergence of serious racial unrest and a global pandemic. We know that when students return to classes this fall, they will be facing a variety of issues that may keep them from learning. We must recognize that these issues exist and be prepared and willing to help our students address them. Mental health must be at the forefront of decision-making as students return to school this fall.

Board members also called on educators, schools and districts to commit to listening to those seeking to be heard and to ensure that young people of color feel valued and safe in school and the community. A challenge was issued to schools, districts, local boards of education, educational cooperatives, parents and families, and communities to join together to break down the barriers that stand between students of color and the equitable education they deserve.

I want you to know that these are not hollow promises or window dressing. The board and the department stand behind these beliefs and will use this resolution as a basis for our plans and decisions going forward.

While the department has tried to address inequities in the education system and cares deeply about the issues facing our Black students and other students of color, those efforts have not been enough. We will rededicate ourselves and our efforts to making sure all of the Commonwealth’s students have a chance to achieve their dreams regardless of their race.

But we cannot do this alone. We need our families and our communities to be our partners in these efforts. When your school or district reaches out for your input or help, I hope you will consider taking part. It will take all of us to make progress in this long-standing problem. We hope you will join us in our efforts.

I will continue to keep you updated on items that are important to you and your families.

Sincerely,

Kevin

 

MORE INFO:

Kentucky Teacher: “Jason Glass named Kentucky’s next education commissioner”

LEAVE A REPLY