The Evolution of an Edvolution, Chapter One
The Evolution of an Edvolution:
The Kentucky Story
Chapter One — The Budding Desire to “Edvolve” — by MeMe Ratliff
The story of the KYEdvolution began less than two years ago in January 2014 at the Red Mile Race Track in Lexington, Kentucky. Over 200 teacher leaders from across the Bluegrass had accepted invitations to attend the inaugural state convening for ECET2 (Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers). There was decent buildup to the event, with a stylish agenda and invigorating correspondence from the host organization, The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky, a nonprofit organization established in April 2013 to provide encouragement and support for teachers, school leaders and others as they work toward adopting a new culture of continual improvement and innovation.
What no one could have planned for leading up to the convening was a horrific snow and ice storm (I say this with a facetious tone, knowing that in northern states, this storm would be a mere formality, yet in Kentucky, the nearly 8 inches of snow caused massive strife and angst). Of the 200 planned attendees, barely 50 were able to make the event. The majority of those were from areas of the state over two hours away, who were able to drive to Lexington before the storm hit. What should have been a ballroom full of buzz and activity was in fact quite empty, with attendees moving from desolate tables of one or two educators to merge with others to create a handful of populated tables amid the mass of snowy white tablecloths.
In spite of the elements working against them, those in attendance were exposed to a day of unique, personalized sessions that introduced the emerging network of teacher leadership in the state. Organizations like theHope Street Group, the Prichard Committee and the Center for Teaching Quality, as well as emerging voices in state education, spread their missions and visions to the crowd. It was amazing to see the “Ahas” — the lightbulb moments that were evident on the faces of those who had braved the cold and snow to unknowingly begin their teacher leader journey. Formal sessions of Colleague Circles were strategically placed throughout the day to foster conversations through guided discussions. This opportunity further engaged those in attendance in state-level conversations that were occurring between partnering organizations in Kentucky education.
To fuel the fires ignited by the powerful sessions promoting collaboration, professional growth and connectivity, a keynote was given by Megan Allen, 2010 Florida Teacher of the Year, spoke with powerful conviction centering on each person’s “blank canvas” and how they would fill their empty board with memories, stories and challenges. The speech served as a brilliant compliment to the empowerment that resonated throughout the day.
As the event neared it’s conclusion, the Fund’s Executive Director, Barbara Bellissimo, sought out individuals who would be interested in furthering their involvement with the ECET2 movement. This call for action helped lead to the next chapter in the KYEdvolution…