The Fund for Transforming Education receives multi-year grant to expand its work with Kentucky teachers

Support comes from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

FRANKFORT, KY – The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky has received a multi-year grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand its existing programs designed to support Transforming the Teaching Profession in the Commonwealth and Next Generation Instructional Design.

Next Generation Instructional Design (NextGen ID) is a three-year initiative that examines the use of high-quality curriculum to accelerate the Kentucky State Academic Standards and their implementation. Working with a similar team from Colorado, The Fund coordinates efforts of over 60 educators in five Kentucky districts to:

  • Assess the impact of common assignments to support changes and improvements in classroom instruction;
  • Publish guidance on the uses of common assignments;
  • Create a set of exemplar units for use as common assignments across Kentucky; and
  • Develop a cohort of expert educators to lead the development of additional exemplars and respond to implementation challenges in their schools and districts.

This work is currently focused on English Language Arts and science in middle and high school. The expansion of this effort will create a statewide effort that will include teachers from all grade levels and subject areas.

The Transforming the Teaching Profession initiative is an effort led by teachers across the state who are seeking to transform their profession from a “job” or “career” into a “profession”. Along with partners at the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), Hope Street Group and The Center for Teaching Quality, The Fund believes that Kentucky can become the model for professionalizing teaching. Through this initiative, we work to engage Kentucky teachers to design, execute and continuously improve policies, practices and the profession itself so that students reach their maximum potential.

With this latest grant expansion, The Fund will now be able to create the Kentucky Teacher Network – a place where all teachers can collaborate and share innovative practices and ideas. Currently, teachers are split among some 33 networks across the state, making their efforts fragmented. A greater collaboration will make their work more robust and effective.

The Fund’s Executive Director Barbara Bellissimo, is extremely optimistic about the opportunities that could come from these grant expansions.

“The expansion of these projects will mean great things for Kentucky teachers. For the past year or so we’ve had some really amazing teachers lend their time to these efforts and it’s a true testament to their work that we are now able to build on progress we’ve made to date and expand to new areas”, said Bellissimo.

“Innovation and collaboration are at the heart of everything we do at The Fund. I think the expansions of these two projects will give our teachers a unique opportunity to join the effort – ‘thinking differently about the way we teach and learn.’  I’m very proud of this work and can’t wait to see where it goes from here,” said Bellissimo.

The grant will be administered directly from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and will be spread out over a two-year time period.

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