Graphic for Student Advisory Council virtual meeting on February 25, 2022.The Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE’s) Commissioner’s Student Advisory Council  heard an update on the application process for the next student and teacher nonvoting members of the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) at its Feb. 25 meeting.

Meredith Brewer, KDE’s director of education policy, said KDE has not yet received any applications for the student position, and urged the council to encourage their peers to apply and not be deterred by the required time commitment.

“We know that this is not a small commitment. We really are asking for someone who can dedicate the time that’s necessary to really take advantage of this position,” said Brewer. “However, the minimum expectation is that you be prepared to talk about the items that the board is reviewing at each meeting.”

Brewer said KDE has sent communications regarding the applications to school counselors throughout the state and encouraged them to recommend the application to students.

Soleila González, a junior at Ballard High School (Jefferson County), recommended the KDE notify teachers directly as well.

“Personally, a lot of the opportunities that I’ve had – for example, being able to apply to this advisory council – I learned about that through a teacher,” said González.

The next KBE student member must be a current sophomore residing in the 4th Congressional District, which includes: Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Carter (partial), Gallatin, Grant, Greenup, Harrison, Henry, Kenton, Lewis, Mason, Nelson (partial), Oldham, Owen, Pendleton, Robertson, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble.

Brewer strongly encouraged students to apply soon.

“You can make this position what you want it to be, but we need students to apply,” said Brewer.

After the application deadline, the application review subcommittee – made up of Student Advisory Council members – will meet the week of March 14 to review applications. Up to three candidates will be recommended to the KBE for consideration, and a KBE subcommittee will review the recommendations and select a candidate for each position. The full board will review and approve the selected candidates during their meeting on April 20.

Applications are due March 7 at 5 p.m. ET.

2022 Impact Kentucky survey results

The council also heard from KDE Associate Commissioner Byron Darnall as he presented an overview of the finding from the 2022 Impact Kentucky Working Conditions Survey.

The Impact Kentucky Survey, formerly the TELL Kentucky survey, asks teachers about their working conditions and helps improve the environment for educators across the state. This year, KDE and Panorama received feedback from the Commissioner’s Teacher Advisory Council and Principal Advisory Council to help shape the survey format and content.

This is the first working conditions survey administered to employees since the COVID-19 pandemic began. More than 38,000 certified employees responded to the survey, and approximately 33,000 of those were teachers.

While educators reported most favorably on staff-leadership relationships at 76%, they reported least favorably on emotional well-being and belonging at 48%. A total of 75% of respondents said they were, to some degree, concerned with the emotional well-being of their colleagues as a result of their work, and 64% said they were concerned about their own emotional well-being.

However, 70% of the respondents across the state reported favorably for the sense of belonging at their current school.

Darnall encouraged students to review the data themselves and use it to advocate for their teachers.

“This is for you all and your experience,” he said. “Your voice is important for support and advocacy in what you need as far as the public school system goes.”