Kentucky’s oldest K-12 cooperative, the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative, prepares to celebrate its 50th birthday
Founded in 1969, KVEC is the state’s oldest K-12 educational cooperative and acknowledged throughout the nation as one of the most innovative.
The Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC) consortia of 22 local school districts serves over 50,000 students and over 3,000 educators in a area larger than Connecticut.
The USDOE Race to the Top grant $30 million grant, “Appalachian Renaissance Initiative (ARI),” enabled KVEC to provide Next Generation Classrooms and advanced technology placement (including the largest rollout of Next Gen classroom technology in rural America – done in a six week period summer 2014) in 100 schools.
The ARI plan of action focuses on implementing seven interrelated projects [1) Project Management, 2) Next Generation Classrooms, 3) College- and Career-Readiness, 4) Personalized Learning Environment, 5) Effective Teachers and Leaders, 6) Accessible Data Systems, and 7) Readiness and Wellness] that, when combined, provide a systemic catalyst for sustainable improvement across 22 districts in a scalable model designed to perpetuate innovation.
National leaders have praised KVEC’s “Appalachian Technology Initiative” (ATI) as a creative way to provide STEM education across rural school districts serving over 1,000 students.
KVEC launched The Holler: http://WWW.theholler.org which is a three tier digital platform: (1) courses/learning management system; (2) social networking; and, (3) resource/data archives reaching over 100.000 persons annually. The Holler team records, edits and broadcasts videos for FIRE Cast on innovations
KVEC houses a comprehensive Special Needs Cooperative, the state’s largest non-urban Reading Recovery Program and an array of content specific projects and initiatives as well as the nationally recognized Reading Recovery program. KVEC has also managed adult education programs.
KVEC houses the state’s most advanced state-of-the-art Virtual Realty Capture Suite in the Innovation Lab which includes STEM Maker Space.
KVEC is national leader in advancing professional learning for K-12 educators. It has developed two proprietary programs: Perpetuating Excellence in Teaching, Leadership and Learning (PETLL): KVEC’s continuous school improvement program; and, Activating Catalytic Transformation (ACT) builds the skill and capacity of school shared leadership teams to identify a systemic problem of practice and develop a Theory of Action to not only solve the problem of practice but to also scale and share the solutions with others who would benefit from the learning and outcomes.
KVEC hosts national (National Micro-Credentials and Rural Educators Forum and international summits (Forging Innovation in Rural Education (FIRE) with participants from 48 states and over 15 nations).
Other professional learning activities include the Appalachian Renaissance Initiative (ARI) “ARI Renaissance Academies.” KVEC has also hosted Blended Learning Professional Action Network events. These PAN meetings were hosted by KVEC and used local teachers to present tracks of instructional technology tools to their peers in an all-day format. KVEC has also completed 4 years of region wide Google classroom tools training. This has been so successful that every district now has multiple Google certified teachers in every school. Many districts are now hosting their own Google training events. KVEC launched Summit Learning and teacher training which aims to give students the opportunity to reach their full potential and teachers the tools they need to meet the unique needs and interests of each student. Summit supports the personalization of learning through real-time data, increased rigor and high expectations for student success.
KVEC has funded more than 450 teacher innovations in classrooms.
KVEC has organized groups as catalysts to reinvent the “New Economy” and enhance community development in the region. These include the Appalachian Innovation Collaborations (AIC) which has assisted 15 counties to pursue KY Work Ready Community status and create a New Economy Community Toolkit, the Silicon Holler workgroup, and millennial round tables.
KVEC has empowered youth through robust student leadership and entrepreneurial initiatives including The Student Senate, and “Students Transforming Appalachia With Real-world Solutions” (STARS community problem solving).
Building it Forward (Tiny House Project) is an investment in creating a ‘future story’ for students interested in learning skills for a real-world vocation. The project was designed to be on-going and sustainable each year. The completed homes are auctioned and the money re-invested to complete a new Tiny House each year. Three schools built houses in 2017 and eight schools built the unique houses in 2018.
The consortia’s success attracted visits by Bill and Melinda Gates, Face Book founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Howard Schultz, former Starbucks CEO.
Obtaining a USDOE “Project Prevent” grant, KVEC utilizes KVEC Ripple Effects, an award winning Social Emotional Learning technology based software system to help the emotional well-being of students. Ripple Effects not only addresses trauma and violence, but operates on the three tier intervention model offering content to benefit each and every student. Students have access to hundreds of topics from acne to abuse.
Girls Planning for Success is a program designed for middle school aged girls to empower our next generation of female leaders through a variety of interactive topics, mentorship, physical activity, community engagement and problem solving. The curriculum for GPS, created by KVEC staff, encompasses the following topics: Squad Building, Setting Goals, Being a Community, Leadership, Finding Inner Beauty, Self-Talk Matters, Untangling Our Emotions, Healthy Choices and Physical Fitness.
KVEC districts have collectively lead the state in both graduation and college and career readiness rates.
The KVEC School Districts: Ashland Independent, Breathitt County Schools, Floyd County Schools, Harlan County Schools, Hazard Independent Schools, Jackson Independent Schools, Jenkins Independent Schools, Johnson County Schools, Knott County Schools, Lawrence County Schools, Lee County Schools, Letcher County Schools, Magoffin County Schools, Martin County Schools, Middlesboro Independent Schools, Owsley County Schools, Paintsville Independent Schools, Pike County Schools, Pikeville Independent Schools, and Wolfe County Schools (and virtual member Galt Union Elementary School District near Sacramento, CA.)
KVEC Origins – The organization that is now the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative was launched in July of 1968, when representatives from the Appalachian Educational Laboratory, headquartered in Charleston, West Virginia met with area school superintendents and other leaders to discuss the creation of an educational cooperative that might collectively serve the needs of small rural school districts in eastern Kentucky. Continuing discussions led to the development of two initial regional initiatives to serve the needs of school districts – a driver education program for high school students and a guidance program aimed primarily at connecting vocational programs to the workforce. Both programs began in February 1969.
In June 1972, an educational cooperative was formally organized as “KVEC” pursuant to the appropriate laws and regulations of Kentucky and represented public school districts in eight counties that included: Breathitt, Knott, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Owsley, Perry and Wolfe. During the next decade, KVEC expanded services to member districts to include data collection, mandatory professional development training, Adult Basic Education, cooperative purchasing/procurement and required training and program reviews for Special Education. KVEC’s programs and supports remained relatively consistent, as did membership until 2000.
Beginning in 1999-2000, KVEC leadership made a conscious decision to expand the scope of KVEC services and intentionally design a cross-district rural education model driven by dynamic engagement and catalytic transformations in teaching, leadership and learning.
KVEC’s offices are located in Job Site Center building at 412 Roy Campbell Drive in Hazard, KY.