FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has received a positive response from Kentucky teachers concerning a new statewide evaluation system known as the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES). The latest feedback comes in two reports from the Hope Street Group (HSG), a national nonprofit organization known for its teacher engagement work. The reports include survey results from the Hope Street Group State Teacher Fellows and thousands of their peers, along with several recommendations on the implementation of PGES.
“The department values teacher input and so we welcome these reports,” said Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “It’s important that teachers have an active voice in the development and implementation of PGES. It will only help strengthen the system,” he said.
Select schools in all 173 school districts are piloting PGES this school year. For the past three years, the department, guided by a committee of stakeholders, has been working to develop a new statewide teacher evaluation system designed to transform the teaching profession and improve the outcomes for all students. A system for principals and superintendents is also in development with the guidance of stakeholders.
The first Hope Street Group report focuses on the use of student surveys and peer observation – two of the evidences that support a teacher’s professional practice rating. The reports showed teachers value both student input as well as feedback from their peers. However, among the recommendations are that KDE provide more information on student surveys to teachers and more professional learning to help teachers use survey data to individualize student instruction and modify their practice. The teachers also wanted more information about how peer observers are selected and saw the value in the practice not only for the observed but the observer as well.
The second report includes feedback on student growth goals as well as teacher opinions on education funding.
“We are working with Hope Street Group to incorporate educator recommendations as we tweak PGES prior to statewide implementation this fall,” Holliday said. “In fact, the department has already addressed several of the recommendations including revamping information included on the PGES webpages to better meet teacher needs.”
“For the past year, through the HSG Kentucky Teacher Fellowship Program, teachers across the state have been engaging in teacher networks and providing actionable feedback about PGES,” said Brian Bishop, the Kentucky mobilization and education director for the Hope Street Group. “The goal is to support the development of the best system possible focused on continuous improvement for teachers and students alike.”
The HSG Kentucky Teacher Fellows hail from 20 districts across the Commonwealth and, along with their teacher network peers, represent the high quality of professionals in Kentucky classrooms. The Kentucky Teacher Fellows are selected for their strong individual commitments to improving learning outcomes for children. Last year, the Kentucky Department of Education, the Kentucky Education Association, the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce partnered with the HSG in an effort to better engage teachers in the implementation of the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System.
In the coming year, the Hope Street Group will continue to mobilize teachers’ involvement and voice in Kentucky to inform policy and policymakers in an effort to transform the teaching profession.