TELL Kentucky Survey off to a good start; first cash award given

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After just one week, more than 9,500 Kentucky educators have taken part in the TELL (Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning) Survey of school working conditions. That represents about 18 percent of the school-based certified educators eligible to participate.

Two districts, Leslie County and Harlan Independent, have already achieved a 100 percent response rate; and 250 schools have already met or exceeded the 50 percent minimum response rate to receive their school’s results.

From now through March 31, school-based certified educators in all 173 Kentucky school districts will be able to share their thoughts about the working conditions in their schools through the survey.

The TELL Kentucky Survey is designed to gather a variety of information from teachers, counselors, principals and other administrators who deal with teaching and learning conditions every day – including the adequacy of facilities and resources; time; empowerment; school leadership; community support; student conduct; professional development; mentoring and induction services; and student learning. The web-based survey is voluntary, anonymous and confidential.

Every school that reaches a 50 percent response rate is entered into a drawing for a $1,000 cash award for the school’s use. Schools that reach a 100 percent response rate are entered into a drawing for a $1,000 cash award to go to an individual educator at the school, who many use the prize how he or she wishes. No public monies are used for prize drawings.

The first week’s winners are:

Week 1 School: Browning Springs Middle School (Hopkins County)

Week 1 Educator: An educator at Joe Harrison Carter Elementary (Monroe Co.). The educator’s name will be announced in next week’s news release.

The Kentucky Education Association, Kentucky Association of School Administrators, Kentucky School Boards Association, the Hope Street Group and the Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky are all contributing prize money for the weekly drawings. No public monies are being used in the drawings.

School- and district-completion rates are posted on the www.tellkentucky.org website in real time.

As when the survey was first given in 2011, the results will be used to enhance school improvement efforts and student outcomes.

“The previous two TELL Kentucky surveys provided important feedback to improve teaching and learning in our schools,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “The data is an integral part of school and district improvement plans. Through the TELL Kentucky Survey, we know we can count on Kentucky educators to tell us what they need to do their jobs and provide Kentucky students with a world-class education.”

The survey provides each Kentucky school with a 50 percent or greater response rate, its specific data that can become a part of its ongoing improvement planning process.

At the state level, the data is useful to the Governor, the Kentucky Board of Education, the Kentucky Department of Education, legislators and other policymakers who are committed to listening to the voices of educators as they develop and implement education reform policies.

“We saw significant change in our schools, districts and at the state level as the result of the first two surveys,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “As one example, our teachers said they didn’t have adequate or reliable Internet service to support their teaching. So we went to the legislature and asked for funding to support an upgrade in technology, which was included in the last budget. There’s power in the voices of nearly 50,000 teachers.”

Kentucky had an 87 percent response rate to the TELL Kentucky Survey in 2013; state and local leaders are hoping for an even better response rate this year. The survey takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

To encourage greater participation, the Kentucky Education Association, Kentucky Association of School Administrators, Kentucky School Boards Association, the Hope Street Group and the Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky are contributing prize money for weekly drawings. Every school that reaches a 50 percent response rate will be entered into a drawing for a $1,000 cash award for the school. Schools that reach a 100 percent response rate will be entered into a drawing for a $1,000 cash award that will go to an individual educator. School- and district-completion rates are posted on the www.tellkentucky.org website in real time. No public monies are being used in the drawings.

The TELL Kentucky Survey is administered by the New Teacher Center (NTC), a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the development of a high-quality teaching force. NTC has conducted similar surveys in other states. Survey data collected from across the country since 2002 demonstrates three primary findings:

  • Teacher working conditions are critical for increasing student achievement.
  • Improving working conditions creates a more stable teaching force.
  • Considerable gaps exist between the perceptions of teachers and administrators regarding the presence of key working conditions.

NTC will aggregate and report results from the 2015 TELL Kentucky survey no later than June 1. These reports will be a compilation of educator responses to all questions and will be presented as bar charts and in Excel format for the school (if at least 50 percent of educators respond), district and state.

TELL Kentucky is conducted under the leadership of the Kentucky Department of Education and supported by a coalition of education organizations, all of whom believe that it is critically important to listen to educators’ views when shaping school improvement strategies.

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