Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of columns that will be published throughout July highlighting the experiences of different members of the Kentucky Coalition for Advancing Education and the work that will take place moving forward.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
— Nelson Mandela
Our experience with the Kentucky Coalition for Advancing Education has given us hope for change in our educational system, a change that will reflect the voices of district and school leaders, teachers, students, families and community members.
This process provided an opportunity for conversations to occur that acknowledge and include multiple perspectives on the current state of education in Kentucky. This experience also allowed us to focus on listening to and reflecting on feedback and the distinctive needs that exist within and between role groups. Hearing the voice of multiple stakeholders has brought a level of awareness and understanding for experiences that are different from our own.
As we move forward with this process, we are encouraged by the efforts to bring together a representative coalition from across the state to create a vision for public education in Kentucky.
In particular, the following three dimensions of this work encourage us:
- LEADERSHIP: From the beginning, Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass and the Center for Innovation in Education (C!E) have fostered the belief that the coalition members can and must DREAM BOLDLY about the future state of education in Kentucky.
- CO-CREATION: At the foundation of this work, there is also a commitment to transparency and the inclusion of the diversity of perspectives, experiences and expertise that exist across the state.
- OPPORTUNITY: Lastly, this work holds promise for reshaping our educational system. That is, the insights from this process are providing some understanding of which dimensions our system are effectively meeting the needs of students, parents, educators and community members, as well as what challenges must be addressed to advance and improve our system.
We are looking forward to the outcomes of this work – a vision for the future of public education in Kentucky – and the local innovations and policy recommendations that will follow.
Educators are working tirelessly to prepare our students and not let anyone fall through the cracks. Being part of this coalition has given school leaders the opportunity to hear from all stakeholders and reflect upon ways we can improve within our own schools to ensure that all voices are heard and feedback is given in a way that all stakeholders understand. We also are hopeful that when the outcomes of this process are shared with stakeholders from across the state, they will know: We have a voice! A voice that matters and is creating change in our state.
As school leaders, we have advocated for the inclusion of the diversity of voices of school leaders from across the state. We know that the experiences of school leaders differ vastly due to many factors, such as years of experience, location, grade levels and school size. As we continue with this work, we want to be intentional about including school leader voices that are representative of these different perspectives and identifying the key themes that emerge from the collective lens.
As school leaders, it is also our hope that the work from the coalition will truly lead to meaningful, everyday practices that we can change for the betterment of our students. We want the work to change the trajectory of education in Kentucky and to be the leader of innovative strategies to reach all students.
Dr. Stacie Gamble is principal at Liberty Big Picture High School in Jefferson County. Dr. Faneshia Jones is an Educational Recovery Leader with the Kentucky Department of Education. Both women are members of the Kentucky Coalition for Advancing Education.