By Matthew Tungate

The Kentucky Board of Education gave final approval to its strategic plan that will guide the board’s work and that of the department. Commissioner Terry Holliday used a PowerPoint presentation to walk the board through goals and measures for each of the board’s four strategic priorities (next-generation learners, professionals, support systems and school/districts).

Many of the objectives were similar to those for schools and districts. For instance, the plan’s aims include:

  • all students perform at or above proficiency and show continuous improvement (achievement/growth)
  • all students succeed (gap closure)
  • every student graduates from high school (graduation)
  • every student graduates high school college/career-ready (readiness)

To do that, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) will:

  • develop and adopt Kentucky Core Academic Standards in English/language arts and mathematics
  • develop and adopt new standards in science, social studies, world languages and technology
  • develop and disseminate a model curriculum framework
  • establish and support Leadership Networks
  • create and implement a new balanced assessment and accountability system

The strategic plan includes indicators and targets to measure the board’s progress toward meeting its objectives. Among those included to measure student achievement and gap closure:

  • By 2015, improve the percentage of students performing at or above basic on the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) in 4th- and 8th-grade reading to rank in the top 20 states nationally.
  • By 2015, improve the percentage of students performing at or above basic on the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) in 4th- and 8th-grade mathematics to rank in the top 20 states nationally.
  • By 2015, decrease the gap by 50 percent on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) combined reading and mathematics scores for 4th- and 8th-grade students.

The two objectives under next-generation professionals are to have every student is taught by an effective teacher and every school led by an effective leader.

According to the plan, strategies to do so include:

  • develop and implement common teacher and leader professional growth/evaluation system (based on a continuous-improvement model that includes multiple measures of student achievement)
  • develop and implement a plan to ensure equitable distribution of effective teachers and leaders
  • collaborate on improvement of effective principal/teacher preparation programs
  • implement Teach for America in eastern Kentucky (30 placements by 2011-12)
  • create statewide strategy for ongoing professional learning experiences and supports for principals
    and teachers

The plan calls for the board to increase the percentage of effective principals and teachers (as measured by principal and teacher effectiveness tools) by 2015. The actual percentage increase will be computed once the baseline is set.

In the area of next-generation support systems, the plan calls for the use data to inform decision-making as well as teaching and learning.

To do so, the department plans to, among other things:

  • implement the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Kentucky Survey
  • implement Program Reviews in arts, practical living/career studies and writing
  • improve access to and relevance of state data
  • implement the Continuous Instructional Improvement Technology System (CIITS)
  • monitor ongoing professional development supports on the accurate collection, timely reporting and use of data

The board has set a target for increasing participation on the TELL survey and ultimately of increasing the percentage of teachers and principals who report being satisfied with their jobs.  The survey will first be given in March 2011 and then again in 2013.

The board also wants to increase the percentage of schools and districts with highly effective programs as measured by Program Reviews.

Progress on the strategic plan are part of Holliday’s individual goals, as are goals on visiting school districts, keeping customer satisfaction survey results above a certain percentage, and improving internal communication.