The Evolution of an Edvolution:

The Kentucky Story

Chapter Two — Holes in the Calendar: The Need for Continual Professional Growth — by MeMe Ratliff

The educational landscape of the Bluegrass State is somewhat predictable. Educators in larger school systems, located in more populous areas, are afforded more opportunities for professional growth. Of the sessions offered, most are on weekends, in the summer, or held on three day weekends. Many aren’t well publicized. A plethora of competent, willing learners exist, but they lack the knowledge that is taught to students in early elementary — four of the “5 W’s” — who is offering the training, what is the content, when is the event, where is the venue? The fifth W, the why, is evident. Professional learning is key to effective pedagogy.

After the original ECET (Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers) convening in January 2014, it became evident that the teachers of Kentucky wanted more than what existed in professional learning at the current time. The word personalized was being added to the term, and professional learning communities (PLC’s) were quickly expanding outside the walls of individual schools and districts. Teachers were talking about their instructional practices more than ever before and it was evident that the current structures for professional growth were not adequate.

Couple the growing desire for personalized professional growth with the introduction of Professional Growth and Effective System (PGES) by the Kentucky Department of Education (the goal of PGES is to create a fair and equitable system to measure teacher and leader effectiveness and act as a catalyst for professional growth), there had never been as great a need to have year round professional growth opportunities that could be accessed by any interested educational stakeholder.

It was after the “Let’s TALK” Conference (Teaching Advocates Leading Kentucky) of the Kentucky Education Association in summer 2014 when Hope Street Group Kentucky State Teacher Fellows Kip Hottman and Brad Clark sat on Kip’s back porch to discuss the need for a Master Calendar for Kentucky education.

Kip Hottman, Hope Street Group Kentucky State Teacher Fellow

The goal of the Master Calendar would be to create professional learning opportunities across the state that would keep conversations centered around enhanced student learning moving forward, and it would be accessible to every professional organization, administrator and teacher in the state. Teachers could see what professional development was being offered not only in their cooperative region, but statewide as well. Hyperlinks would give immediate information about the event and provide the user with registration capabilities. The two Fellows continued to talk about the idea and how to best present their idea to the state organizations for consumption and realized the idea could be a game changer…