A girl points to a poster board describing a project about elk.

A multi-year partnership between the Kentucky Department of Education and PBLWorks aims to scale high-quality project-based learning (PBL) to one-third of Kentucky’s public schools.

The partnership, made possible through $7 million in financial support from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, runs through the end of 2024.

Kentucky Educator Commissioner and Chief Learner Jason E. Glass will serve as the keynote speaker at the 2023 PBL World conference June 27-28, where he will discuss project-based learning in Kentucky and United We Learn, Kentucky’s vision for the future of public education in the Commonwealth.

“We are excited about this ongoing partnership with PBLWorks and how it amplifies the kinds of deeper learning experiences we want Kentucky students to experience,” said Glass. “With deeper learning experiences, students go beyond just the basics and use that knowledge to solve a real problem or create something new and important. We look forward to seeing how our educators, administrators and districts work to bring gold standard PBL experiences to the students in their district.”  

PBLWorks defines project-based learning as a “teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem or challenge.”

The Scaling Gold Standard PBL Kentucky initiative aims to bring high-quality project-based learning to the state by providing training and support to Kentucky educators, principals and district leaders through a blend of face-to-face workshops, personal online coaching, school site visits and deep collaboration via a peer network of Kentucky PBL leaders. The first Kentucky PBL Leader Network cohort launched in November 2021, and the second launched in March 2022. The final one will launch this summer.

There also will be PBL 101 Summer Regional Conferences for educators, which will include keynote speakers, teacher presentations and feature an intensive three-day PBL 101 Workshop, PBLWorks’ foundational course in project-based learning. PBL Summer Regional Conferences will take place in all of Kentucky’s regions and online through partnerships with school districts and educational cooperatives. The training is free for Kentucky K-12 public school educators.

The 2023 Summer Regional Conference dates are:

  • June 6-8, Bullitt County
  • June 13-15, Allen County
  • June 20-22, Paducah Public Schools
  • June 27-29, Online
  • July 11-13, Boone County
  • July 18-20, Rowan County
  • July 25-27, Scott County
  • Aug. 1-3, Floyd County

Educators may sign up for any session, even if it is out of their local school district.

Questions about PBLWorks can be directed to Jodi Dempsey.