2020 taught us to prioritize innovation & engagement – Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

2020 taught us to prioritize innovation & engagement

Whew, what a year it’s been! We’ve all weathered both collective and unique challenges in 2020 and, without a doubt, we’re pleased to the see the year come to a close. The core values we learned quickly to prioritize were innovation & engagement.

As a team, we came together quickly in March to start providing answers and meaningful discussions during the early days of the pandemic with our Facebook Live Innovations in Education episodes. Those conversations led to much of the work that followed:

  • We led the state-wide call to close the Digital Divide as a means to ensure continued progress in our state through remote learning, remote work, and remote access to healthcare.
  • Following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, we released a Call for Racial Equity and Justice, calling for cultural competency in all areas of education and government, and hosted Black Minds Matter Week.
  • We expanded our family engagement work to provide Weekly Resources to parents as they began to help their children with online learning and hosted virtual café’s to provide a much needed outlet for parents to share worries, concerns, and solutions.
  • We surveyed studentsfamilies and teacherschild care providers and parents, and are working on a survey of postsecondary students to better understand the impact of the pandemic. This work will show ways we can improve the pipeline of education so that it is stronger than it was pre-pandemic.
  • During the Prichard Committee Annual Meeting in September-October, we explored both equity in education and the pandemic’s disproportionate impact. We also released the Committee’s new national rankings report: Big Bold Future and designed the next 5-year strategic plan for our long arc of continued improvement as a state.

Finally, when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, we’ll be toasting to the success of our efforts to mobilize a new generation of Kentuckians who share in the vision of a “Big Bold Future – with education at the core.” That work, fondly known as Groundswell Initiative, is now more than 1,000 strong! Visit our website to learn what actions members from Paducah to Pikeville are taking to improve education in their communities!

But, before we close out this year there’s one more exciting release – the  inaugural Letter from Kentucky Teachers. The idea for this Letter arose as I watched the tense political environment of recent years and at the same time saw so many teachers expressing their longing to focus on the needs of students in their classrooms. I knew we needed to give teachers a platform to talk about their aspirations for excellence in teaching and to shape our collective vision for what’s possible – and what’s necessary. This letter is the culmination of that longing, and a beautiful statement of commitment by OUR Kentucky teachers. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it over the holiday season.

In celebration of all we’ve learned, and in solidarity with all who have lost so much this year, we wish you Peace and moments of Joy this holiday season.

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