By: Brigitte Blom, President & CEO, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
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.
In an effort to amplify the “magic of the classroom,” last summer we invited Kentucky teachers who exhibited creative problem-solving, collaboration skills, and demonstrated impact on local education outcomes to apply to be a Prichard Committee Teacher Fellow. After a competitive process, 12 educators were selected to be part of a support cohort and to each launch a strategic local initiative. In addition, they worked collaboratively to write the second, “Letter from Kentucky Teachers”.
The Fellows were supported by master educators in Kentucky, including facilitator Lauren Hill, Fayette County, along with coaches: Kiara Gray, Jefferson County, Renee Boss, Woodford County, and Natalie Croney, Warren County.
The cohort’s “Letter from Kentucky Teachers” asks all Kentucky teachers to commit to:
- Providing equitable learning opportunities for every student,
- Developing and expanding skills that strengthen the quality of teaching and the learning experiences of students,
- Developing stronger, more collaborative relationships with students, families, and communities, and
- Promoting diverse perspectives through culturally competent instruction.
The 2021-22 Prichard Committee Teacher Fellows expressed continued devotion to these commitments.
Their local initiatives have been captured in their own words and archived on the Prichard Committee website. I invite you to read about their projects, why they choose them, and the impact they had.
I also encourage you to reach out to these teachers with words of encouragement and gratitude. They are setting a positive tone for teaching and learning – and pushing forward with a steadfast “can-do” attitude during a time when so many teachers are leaving the profession and many young people are choosing to not go into teaching. Elevating and amplifying their voices is more important than ever.
I am inspired by the work of the Fellows and excited to share their work with you.