By Whitney Harder
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 26, 2016) — The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky and the University of Kentucky College of Education’s Next Generation Leadership Academy are launching a statewide effort to galvanize schools, businesses and communities to quickly and effectively transform Kentucky’s public schools into systems that promote deeper learning.
Most Kentucky students still experience public education as it was originally designed over 120 years ago. Though changes are occurring, they continue to be in isolated pockets of the Commonwealth and are dependent upon the courage and initiative of individual teachers and leaders rather than as part of a cohesive, system-wide effort. Together, these two organizations are heading up a movement and calling upon educators from Paducah to Pikeville to transform the way they think about educating their students.
“The goal here is systemic change,” said Barbara Bellissimo, executive director of The Fund. “We’re creating a grassroots movement to innovate our public education system to benefit all students. This is a matter of equity — a moral imperative.”
“It’s about driving changes that promote real world, meaningful learning experiences for our kids — experiences that are just as intentional about those skills essential for success like perseverance, problem solving, collaboration and communication — as they are about content — and a very personalized approach,” said UK (Educational Leadership Studies) faculty member Carmen Coleman, who co-directs the college’s Next Generation Leadership Academy.
The Call for Transformation will be launched with a weeklong visit from Ted Dintersmith, co-author and producer of the documentary “Most Likely to Succeed.” After completing a 50-state tour with the film, Dintersmith recently named Kentucky one of five states showing the most potential to make bold progress in the next two years and reset the way America thinks about education.
Dintersmith will meet with various stakeholders utilizing messages from the film to spark innovative ideas that can be implemented in communities across the state.
On Sept. 27, the campus community is invited to a screening of “Most Likely to Succeed” at the Taylor Education Building. On Sept. 28, Dintersmith will address Kentucky school leaders attending the UK College of Education’s Next Generation Leadership Academy in a keynote.
“The innovations Ted Dintersmith is promoting are exactly what we help schools implement through the college’s Next Gen Academy,” Coleman said. “And, just as we promote in the Next Gen Academy, Ted suggests that our system of schooling is obsolete in many, many ways and that we are far beyond the need for incremental improvements. Instead, we believe, as he does, that we need a transformation — a completely new approach, and it’s a goal that we believe is within reach of our schools. One transformative project is often an entry point to systemic innovation.”
Launch week is only the first step in the movement. More details will be released as communities define and begin implementing their projects, but all materials and processes will be shared in an online collaboration space.
Schedule of “Most Likely to Succeed” Kentucky film screenings (open to media)
10 a.m., Sept. 26 – Eastern Kentucky University Center for the Arts, Richmond.
3 p.m., Sept. 27 – University of Kentucky, Taylor Education Building Auditorium, Lexington.
8:30 a.m., Sept. 28 – University of Kentucky College of Education Next Generation Leadership Academy session at the Elkhorn Crossing School, 2020 Frankfort Pike, Georgetown.*
5 p.m., Sept. 29 – Hilary’s at Treece Hall, Bellarmine University, Louisville.
* denotes Dintersmith keynote and film screening