Saturday, November 07, 2009

Commissioner Contemplations

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday is still on the road; meeting, greeting, getting to know more and more Kentuckians.

Say what you will, but I think most Kentucky political observers will tell you that this is a necessary component of effective advocacy in the commonwealth. So much depends on personal relationships in this state.

Another necessary component is effective communication and I can't remember a commissioner who has communicated more.

Holliday tweets his day-to-day meet and greets. Facebook is use as a tool for personal accountablilty. His weekly blog and other communications to the state board, superintendents and other key stakeholders are regular, informative and visionary; in the sense that they outline where the department of education is heading. When conditions change, he updates.

For example, key state leaders receive an email blast called, "Fast Five on Friday."

Meeting with Co-op Directors - Kentucky is very lucky to have excellent regional education cooperative agencies. I met with the leaders of the co-ops this week to discuss how KDE could partner with them to roll out Senate Bill 1 and Race to the Top initiatives. See this week's blog for additional information:

Superintendent Advisory Committee - Over 30 superintendents joined us this week to discuss key issues surrounding the upcoming legislative session, December Kentucky Board of Education agenda, federal Race to the Top efforts and Senate Bill 1 deployment. The group also discussed how we could create a partnership between
superintendents, KDE, the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents and co-ops to provide more support and stronger voice for superintendents. We have a great group of superintendents in Kentucky, and I have been very impressed with how well they work together to support student learning for ALL children.

Visits - I visited this week with the Prichard Committee, the Kentucky School Board Association’s Bill Scott, the SACS/CASI conference in Paducah and McCracken County schools.

Senate Bill 1 - The steering committee met this week, and agenda information and a PowerPoint presentation can be seen at this link:
We have been very impressed with the commitment from our legislators to the work of this committee.

Anderson Cooper 360- The appearance that did not happen....

State Superintendents receive Monday emails to update state leaders on activities and opportunities, like this:


As part of our effort to streamline communications and cut down on the number of e-mails you receive, here is a Monday E-Mail that combines several items into one

If you have questions about the specific items, please see the contact information for each item.

Items from KDE

Enhancing Education Through Technology –ARRA—Request for Applications (RFA)
The Kentucky Department of Education has recently posted an Enhancing Education Through Technology -- ARRA -- Request for Applications (RFA) on the KDE website. Eligibility is limited to specific districts based on poverty factors using the 2007 Census Data. District eligibility is based on percent and numbers of children ages 5-17 in poverty and a substantial need for assistance for acquiring and using technology.

Please see Appendix A included in the RFA for eligible districts. This is a competitive grant section as defined in NCLB legislation passed in 2002 and the ARRA Act of 2009. Please note the deadline to submit Intent to Apply is Friday, November 6. The RFA can be accessed at the link below:

Competitive Grants from KDE
Please note the following important dates and deadlines:
Deadline to Submit Intent To Apply November 6, 2009 – 4:00 p.m. (EST)

Technical Assistance Web Cast (TBD) – Details will be posted on the KDE website when available.

Deadline to Submit Questions
November 30, 2009 – 12:00 Noon (EST)

Deadline to Submit Application
December 14, 2009 – 4:00 p.m. (EST) -- Applications received after this date and time will be deemed non-responsive and will not move forward in the evaluation process.

If you have any questions, please feel free to submit those questions to the KDE RFP Inbox at

Should you have any questions, please contact Leah Settle at (502) 564-2351 or via e-mail at

Items from Outside Agencies...

Plus - word is - most folks in the department are accepting of Holliday's direction and appreciative of his experience in the field.

Holliday's ability to effectively move the program is severely hampered by the current recession -- and it looks like it is about to get worse. There is no sign that the legislature will conjure up the necessary courage to reform the state's tax code in 2010 and that will cause legislators to resort to the more typical patchwork approach of special interests, structural imbalances and attacks on essential governmental services.

But for Holliday - all things considered - so far, so good.


Susan Weston said...

I'd make just one addition to your great profile: Commissioner Holliday's extreme verbal efficiency. If you're used to fifteen minute orations from people in leadership roles, it can be a jolt. Five minutes in, when most people would just be revving up to their first big point, he's done--and he's packed in three or four ideas that are new, true, clear, and important.

Richard Day said...

I was plesantly surprised by the reaction he got from my students recently. I knew they'd be polite and hoped they'd be smart. I did not know they would be inspired.