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Preparing Kentucky Educators for Partnership BEFORE they Enter the Classroom

By Brooke Gill, Senior Director of Family Engagement Practice and Policy

Dr. Sonja Yow, Professor in the College of Education and Applied Human Sciences at Eastern Kentucky University, asked this of her preservice teachers last semester: “As you approach your final semester of school, what is the number one area you still feel least prepared and presents the biggest challenge for you?” Some might expect answers like individualizing learning, student mental health, writing lesson plans, or navigating in-school environments. However, the overwhelming response… (drum roll)… “Working with families.”

“Research points to family and community engagement as one of the most important predictors of student and life success. Yet, research consistently shows that educators have limited opportunities to learn and practice family and community engagement during their preparation and throughout their careers.” –National Association for Families Schools and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) 2022

In the fall of 2022, the KY Collaborative for Families Schools issued a survey to all Kentucky educator preparation programs and found that 74% of preservice programs would improve family engagement components if they were given the tools and resources. However, only 22% of respondents offer a standalone course in family and community partnership best practices. The 2022 Survey Findings Report also revealed the number one challenge is too many other required courses and standards to meet.

Brooke Gill, Senior Director of Family Engagement Practice and Policy

With funding from NAFSCE, we can respond to these national and state survey findings by developing innovative approaches to stronger family partnership coursework and field experiences for preservice teachers.

This project runs now through June 2023 and will be co-led by Dr. Edna Schack, Prichard Committee Member and Professor Emeritus at Morehead State University. Families will serve as advisors in the development of a series of seminars and field experiences for Kentucky preservice teachers and faculty in partnership with Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) and Madison County Schools, and Morehead State University (MSU) and Rowan County Schools. Corbin Independent and Menifee County Schools will also serve as field sites for prospective teachers. The conclusion and call to action for all Kentucky educator preparation programs will take place in June at the Kentucky Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (KACTE) annual conference. Kentucky will also join a national community of practice with grantees from the other seven states and NAFSCE researchers.

As result of this work, we hope more Kentucky preservice programs have tools and resources for equipping our rising educators with intentional, high-impact family partnership strategies. Teachers must enter the classroom with a desire to partner with families and the confidence to make the first move in developing those strong and authentic relationships.

We would love support and feedback on our approach to this new and innovative work. Please reach out to learn more!

A Big Bold Future for Kentucky By Susan Perkins Weston | December 8, 2022 In 2020, the Prichard Committee urged all Kentuckians to join the work of creating a Big Bold Future for our Commonwealth. To frame that work, we identified twelve indicators. Together, these data points let us: Compare our work to other states

The start of school has been making a wave across Kentucky, with students returning in early August and others who are returning this week. After several years of uncertainty, this beginning seems reminiscent of the pre-covid back to school frenzy.

The Connections Newsletter-Welcome Back Edition, hit inboxes in early August, as mailed letters also made their way to each Superintendent in Kentucky public schools

As schools are starting to open and, across the nation, we are hearing resounding concern about teacher shortages, there is no more important time to celebrate the work Kentucky teachers do – day in and day out. When it comes to what our schools can do to prepare each and every learner for a bright future, research confirms that teaching matters most. Yet so many stories of the impact a teacher has in his or her classroom are overshadowed by the shear busyness of our lives and the extraordinarily tense public-political world we find ourselves in.

With the passage of 2022’s House Bill 9, Kentucky has moved a step closer to having some public charter schools. That step invites many different questions about policy, impact, evidence, principles, and practicalities. Today, we’re releasing a series of posts by Susan Perkins Weston, each aimed at one major question we’ve heard recently and also over the years since the Prichard Committee’s “Exploring Charter Schools in Kentucky: An Informational Guide” came out in November 2015.