(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – 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 2017 TELL (Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning) Kentucky Survey. Officials kicked off the fourth biennial statewide survey at Clear Creek Elementary School in Shelbyville March 1.

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.

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

“The TELL Kentucky Survey allows educators to use their voice to ensure there are quality learning environments in our schools and districts. It is really used at all levels to make improvements,” said Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt. “We want every teacher to tell us what is going on in their schools so we can work together to bring about positive change for all Kentucky students.”

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

At the state level, the data is useful to 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 policies.

Ron Skillern, the 2017 Kentucky Teacher of the Year and a social studies teacher at Bowling Green High School (Bowling Green Independent), strongly encourages teachers to participate in the survey.

“For educators, there is power in actually telling it like it is and the TELL Kentucky Survey provides us with such an opportunity,” Skillern said. “Completing the survey requires teachers to reflect about circumstances that we rarely have time to consider during our busy school days.

“The data generated from the TELL Survey reveals both strengths and weaknesses, and is then used in schools, districts and classrooms to improve planning, working conditions, student learning and teacher retention. For example, at my school, the data identified facility deficiencies, which have resulted in positive additions to our long-term building plan.”

Kentucky had more than an 89 percent response rate to the TELL Kentucky Survey in 2015 – the highest response rate of any state. 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 in the TELL Kentucky Survey, the Kentucky Education Association, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, Kentucky Association of School Administrators, the Center for Education Leadership and Jefferson County Teachers Association contributed prize money for weekly drawings to be held throughout the period during which the survey is live. No public monies are being used for TELL prizes.

Every school that reaches a 50 percent response rate is entered into a drawing for a $500 cash award for the school. Schools that reach 100 percent response rates are entered into a drawing for a $500 cash award to go to an individual educator. Additionally, one school and one individual educator will be selected to receive $500 cash awards at the conclusion of the survey window.

The TELL Kentucky Survey is administered by the New Teacher Center (NTC), a national nonprofit 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 2017 TELL Kentucky survey by June. 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 and a minimum of five educators respond), district and state.

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

The steering committee includes representatives from the:

  • Jefferson County Teachers Association
  • Kentucky Association of Professional Educators
  • Kentucky Association of School Administrators
  • Kentucky Association of School Councils
  • Kentucky Association of School Superintendents
  • Kentucky Board of Education
  • Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
  • Kentucky Department of Education
  • Kentucky Education Association
  • Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board
  • Kentucky Parent Teacher Association
  • Kentucky School Boards Association
  • Kentucky Teacher of the Year program
  • Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

For more information about the 2017 TELL Kentucky Survey, visit www.tellkentucky.org.