As you may be aware, I have provided notice to the Kentucky Board of Education that I will be stepping down at the end of September to become the associate vice president of teaching and learning at Western Michigan University. This transition generates several different emotions for me, but I am choosing to focus on perhaps the strongest one – gratitude.
In July, I had the privilege of being one of the opening speakers for the Tales of Transformation: Sharing Stories of Deeper Learning conference. The event featured presentations from three districts from each of the eight regional educational cooperatives sharing their experiences with deeper learning that can be replicated across the Commonwealth.
May is always one of the busiest times of the year in education, as we wind up another school year and celebrate another class of seniors. This month, I wanted to write a column aimed at this year’s graduating class.
In April, I had the privilege of seeing student learning in action at the 2023 Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP) State Championship.
I had the opportunity to speak at the annual Kentucky Educators Rising Conference at Bellarmine University in Louisville in March. Educators Rising is the career technical student organization for middle and high school students interested in education-related careers and the Educators Rising Conference is an annual gathering and showcase of Kentucky’s prospective teachers.
Back in December, I wrote a column about what I considered to be deeper learning, a topic that you probably hear educators discuss a lot these days. While we have avoided laying out an official definition from the Kentucky Department of Education so that those learning and working in our schools can help determine what it means, we do know that deeper learning can take several forms.
Emerging from the pandemic, we’ve all heard increasing concerns about the current state of the teaching profession, both here in Kentucky and nationally. As districts struggle with filling positions both in the classroom and in support roles, we are seeing some noticeable strains in the educator workforce.
One of the things I miss most being commissioner of education is the ability to be out in our schools every day. While I love my position and the opportunities it gives me to help shape policies and state priorities, the school building is where the rubber meets the road.
Kentucky’s future vision for education, called United We Learn, was developed after listening to Kentuckians from all parts of the Commonwealth and represents what they said they wanted for our schools and their children when we took the time to listen. One major component of that vision is to create “vibrant learning experiences for every student.”
Across the state last school year, almost 21,000 of our public school students experienced some type of homelessness or housing instability.