There are many success stories in rural eastern Kentucky relating to the Race to the Top District grant received by Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC) in 2013. One notable initiative was recently recognized in an article published in the National FORUM of Educational Administration and Supervision Journal, Vol. 35, No. 4, 2017-Online (NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS, founded in 1982 in Houston, Texas). The article, Rural Education Partnerships: If Educators Perpetuate Excellence in Teaching, Leadership, and Learning (PETLL), Do Students Learn Faster?, focuses on a staff and school improvement program that provides regular, accelerated, personalized professional development activities for both teachers and administrators.
The project, Perpetuating Excellence in Teaching, Leadership, and Learning (PETLL), involved a partnership between KVEC, Asbury University and several public schools in rural eastern Kentucky. Research was conducted with seven of the participating public schools in Knott County, KY, over a three year period. The program was designed to strengthen the culture of excellence in teaching, leadership, and learning among the involved schools. Teachers, administrators, and professors developed a collaborative approach for professional development based on shared responsibility for training and evaluation.
Following the 2015-16 academic year, the teachers in the seven participating schools were administered a ten item survey concerning their perceptions in regard to the degree of PETLL’s impact on school culture, student learning, and personal efficacy as a teacher. The results of the study indicate that faculty and staff believed that PETLL had a positive impact on student learning, student achievement, teacher morale and satisfaction. Based on the analysis of the available data, it appears that PETLL was a beneficial project for all teachers within the district, regardless of the grade level taught, years experience, specialty area, or gender.
Based on survey responses by district personnel, the PETLL project was also well received in this department. Both groups, teachers and district administrators, felt that there was 1) a correlation between the implementation of PETLL and the successful performance of students on the state mandated tests and 2) that they would recommend the implementation of the PETLL process to another school district.
The National FORUM of Educational Administration and Supervision Journal is a national refereed, juried, peer-reviewed, blind-reviewed academic periodical with a national and global circulation. Competition to publish at the national level is intense, with about an 88% rejection rate.
Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief of National FORUM Journals, says “Our National Policy Board overwhelmingly approved the article written by Dr. Kayatin, Dr. Riel, and Mr. Kelly. Our national referees emphasized the article will have positive impact for education in KY and beyond.”
Dr. Will Kayatin (Senior Director for Higher Education Affairs at KVEC), Dr. David R. Riel (Associate Professor, Asbury University in Wilmore, KY) and Kelly Hall (Instructional Supervisor for Knott County Schools in Hindman, KY) spearheaded the PETLL project in Knott County, conducted the research and wrote the article for publishing.
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