The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) recognized nine schools and three school districts for best practices during the 2022 Continuous Improvement Summit, held at the Central Bank Center in Lexington on Sept. 26-27. More than 800 educators from across the Commonwealth attended the summit.
The summit provided attendees the opportunity to invest in their own growth as a leader and a teacher and offered strategies to make a difference in their work and in their students’ experiences.
“Congratulations to all of our Best Practice winners,” said Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass. “I am proud of our educators’ dedication to providing Kentucky students with vibrant learning experiences that will help them in and out of the classroom.”
Associate Commissioner Kelly Foster presented each Best Practice winner with a $500 check that can be used toward school improvement.
Those recognized were:
- Jacob Elementary (Jefferson County), Regulators, Mount Up 2.0!: This project created an identity in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports that helps staff develop a basic understanding of brain science and its impact in the classroom for students & teachers;
- Wellington Elementary (Fayette County), Powerful Practice: PDSA to Coaching Protocol: Wellington Elementary engaged in a Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) journey that led to developing a school-wide coaching protocol that is evolving;
- Whitney Young Elementary (Jefferson County), Implementing a Weekly Continuous Improvement Loop to Support Teacher Development and Student Success: The Young Elementary leadership team applied Carnegie Improvement Science protocols and inquiry cycles to the professional learning community (PLC) work to create a system of teacher support. The PDSA iterative process provided the pathway to this system creation that yielded improved student outcomes, instructional practices, and dispositions;
- Fern Creek High School (Jefferson County), Laundry & Loot: Meeting Basic Needs to Improve Overall Student Outcomes: Laundry & Loot provides pick up laundry services to students. Additionally, students and their families receive clothing and food assistance. In spring 2022, Fern Creek Laundry & Loot offered the inaugural Prom Glow Up where students were able to select dresses, suits and accessories for senior prom, as well as receive hair and makeup services on prom day;
- Doss High School (Jefferson County), Accelerating Student Achievement: Doss High School utilizes PLC systems to analyze a variety of data sources and identify students in need of Tier 3 support in core content classes. Identified students are grouped and assigned to content-specific teachers for a designated 45-minute block on alternating days for 3-week rotations. During this time, highly skilled teachers focus on standards recovery, utilizing strategies and activities most effective with Tier 3 instruction and learning. The program happens during the school day;
- Fairview Independent School District, Strategic Planning: Strategic Thinking Process: Fairview Independent adopted the Strategic Planning Process from the National Institute for School Leadership Strategic Thinking Framework, encompassing the PDSA from Jim Shipley & Associates (JSA), with the focus on the JSA Systems Approach to Continuous Improvement. The Strategic Planning Process allows schools and districts to develop systems around priorities and objectives. Through this process, monitoring of the systems being developed is incorporated to align with the model for continuous improvement;
- James A. Farmer Elementary (Jefferson County), Say Goodbye Word Wall and Hello Sound Wall: The sound wall is an instructional tool that aligns to the structured literacy methodology by promoting explicit, systematic teaching that is good for all children, but necessary for struggling readers. By ensuring a high-quality Tier I instruction, fewer students are identified as needing Tier II and III interventions. The sound wall, which aligns to structured literacy, also addresses the limitations of the word wall. Specifically, the sound wall promoted phonemic awareness, phonics and a clear organization to address student usability of this instructional tool. The sound wall uses bars to reflect the frequency in which the letters represent each of the 44 sounds;
- Jessamine County School District, Elevating Student Growth During the Summer: In 2021, Jessamine County leaders launched a targeted summer program that resulted in summer progress from spring to fall 2021;
- Jessamine County School District, Teacher Leader Networks – A Continuous Improvement Powerhouse: Identifying and partnering with teacher leaders across the district has been a key to developing a system of strong professional learning communities. These teachers work with district and school administrators to lead their peers in implementing high yield practices, effective learning communities and classroom learning systems. They are the backbone of the work and create sustainable change in their schools that has led to high levels of growth throughout our schools;
- Camargo Elementary (Montgomery County), Vertical Planning: Vertical Planning is a purposeful planning process between grade levels that addresses instructional gaps, repetition of standards, resources, vocabulary and the overall quality of instruction. This process allows teachers to become masters in their content and grade level area and understand the importance of their instructional impact in the progression of a standard;
- Rowan County School District, Keep Your Eye on the Prize: Learning Intentions and Success Criteria in the Elementary Classroom: Focusing on learning intentions and success criteria, the students took the lead in their learning. Through learning intentions aligned to the standards, success criteria designed to allow students to assess their understanding and teachers collecting formative data to inform instructional decisions, the result is great opportunities for successful learning;
- Martha Layne Collins High School (Shelby County), Establishing a Culture of Growth Through Full Staff Feedback: The administrative team made a commitment to provide every teacher with feedback that they would find useful. To do so, they developed expectations, documents, and protocols that we attribute to the success of our system. With a few adjustments, this process could prove useful at any school; and
- Atkinson Academy (Jefferson County), Improving Writing Instruction with Improvement Science: This project focuses on their use of improvement science to improve writing instruction in all classrooms. Their journey included the use of a writing improvement committee and multiple improvement science tools to foster overwhelming teacher efficacy.
In 2013, KDE launched the Best Practices and Sustainability website which was designed to serve as a clearinghouse to promote practices that motivate, engage and provide measurable results in student learning, achievement and school/district processes. The site supports teachers, administrators, district personnel and any other education advocates seeking strategies that have been proven successful in a variety of settings. KDE has identified effective practices that improve student performance and promotes practices for educators with the goal of improving educational opportunities for all children.
Any Kentucky teacher, school or district may submit a best practice to KDE for consideration to be a Best Practice award recipient.