CTL Educational Programs and Leadership Specialist Mary Rudd calls it, “The beginning of a long conversation.” She’s describing the work CTL is doing in partnership with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), convening higher education faculty from around the state to share information about teacher leadership initiatives. The work is part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Instructional Transformation Grant being implemented by KDE, with CTL, The Fund KY, the Kentucky Education Association, Hope Street Fellows and the Bluegrass Center for Teacher Quality as partners. The goal is to align those initiatives with one another and with Kentucky’s new approach to teacher accountability, the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES).
One meeting has already taken place, with two more planned, and 11 Kentucky colleges and universities are participating, including the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville, Thomas More College, Bellarmine University, Spalding University, Western Kentucky University, Murray State University, Kentucky State University, Campbellsville University, University of the Cumberlands, and Northern Kentucky University.
Mary says the focus so far has been on Domain 4 of PGES – Professional Responsibilities. “The message,” she says, “is there is a level of professional responsibility that is expected of all teachers, to find a way to lead not only in their classroom, but beyond it as well.” For example, the Common Core-aligned Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) and Mathematics Design Collaborative (MDC) not only provide instructional frameworks that prove useful in the classroom, they also provide opportunities to leverage teacher expertise about how to implement these and other innovative tools and approaches.
The higher education participants have responded with enthusiasm, Mary says. Accustomed to collaborating mainly on issues related to compliance and regulations, they relish the opportunity to focus on the work actually taking place in districts and schools. The sessions being designed and moderated by CTL promote sharing and building of collective knowledge that will strengthen teacher preparation at all levels in Kentucky, from undergraduate through doctoral, including professional supervision and licensure.
Mary notes that CTL looks forward to continuing to work with higher education faculty to broaden the definition and implementation of teacher leadership throughout Kentucky.