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Great Public Schools Criteria for Kentucky

Great Public Schools Criteria refers to the seven elements needed for closing the achievement gaps and raising achievement for all students. The seven elements are: (1) readiness to learn, (2) high expectations, (3) quality conditions, (4) qualified staff, (5) accountability, (6) parental involvement, and (7) funding.

Read more below about the Great Public Schools Criteria in Kentucky.

Readiness to Learn

The Kentucky Preschool Program was created as a result of the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 and is offered to four-year-olds who are eligible for free lunch, as well as all three- and four-year-olds with disabilities. Most of Kentucky's preschoolers with special needs are served within the program, funding, although some are served through contracts with Head Start, private child care centers and special education facilities. Many districts contribute additional funds when state funds are not sufficient. Federal funds from Head Start and IDEA are sometimes blended with state and local funds to support the Kentucky Preschool Program. State funding for the program has decreased by $2.2 million since 2001, while the number of eligible preschool children has increased annually by 1,000. In some districts this has led to cuts in the quality and duration of services offered.

Full-day Kindergarten:


School funding systems must provide adequate, equitable and sustainable funding. Making taxes fair and eliminating inefficient and ineffective business subsidies are essential prerequisites to achieving adequacy, equity, and stability in school funding. ESEA programs should be fully funding at their authorized levels. Kentucky's school funding tax structure is hurt by tax giveaways to corporations.
Protecting Public Education From Tax Giveaways to Corporations (PDF, 62pp) (NEA, 2003)

NEA Grant to Close Achievement Gaps

The Kentucky Education Association plans to use its NEA Grant to Close Achievement Gaps to recruit teachers who are certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to conduct workshops for teachers seeking Board certification, and pursue a statewide contract from Kentucky to provide school-based decision-making training. Using separate funding, KEA is also planning to conduct a Center for Teacher Quality survey of working conditions in schools.

Recruitment and Retention

Kentucky has state policy for the retention and recruitment of both minority teachers and teachers in hard-to-staff schools. Kentucky also supports the Troop-to-Teachers and Transition to Teacher programs for the recruitment of certified teachers. In addition, the state also offers loan forgiveness programs to support paraprofessional and teaching assistants with becoming certified teachers.

State-Level Differentiated Teacher Compensation Program: State statute specifies that a school district may develop differentiated compensation programs that provide additional compensation for recruitment and retention.
KRS §157.075
702 KAR 3:310

For Hard-to-Staff Schools or Subject Areas: To increase the number of qualified teachers in local school districts and to reduce the number of emergency certified teachers, the District Teacher Certification Loan Fund was created to provide forgivable loans.
KRS §164.757

For Minority Teachers: The Minority Educator Recruitment and Retention Scholarship and the Future Educators of America both work to addresses the critical shortage of minority teacher.
DOE Minority Educator Recruitment and Retention Scholarship
KRS §161.165
DOE Future Educators of America

For Paraprofessional/Teaching Assistants to Become Certified Teachers: The Kentucky Department of Education established a plan to encourage people to enter the teaching profession, including programs to encourage paraprofessionals in schools, as well as other nontraditional students, to pursue additional education to become teachers.
KRS §161.167

Loan Programs: Forgivable loans are provided to emergency certified personnel and fully certified teachers who are willing to seek additional certification in hard-to-fill or critical shortage areas. Loans are also offered to paraprofessionals in local school districts to become fully certified teachers and to continue service within the local district.
KRS §164.757

Federal Grants and Programs: Troops-to-Teachers and Transition to Teaching are programs to recruit both members of the armed forces and mid-career professionals to become highly qualified teachers.

Other Alternative Routes to Certification: The state education department provides seven alternative routes to certification.
DOE EPSB Certification
DOE §161.048

Teaching Opportunities for Retired Teachers: The Board of Education has established policies to allow retired teachers to be reemployed in positions in critical shortage areas.
KRS §156.106

Out-of-Field Teaching Policies: Kentucky policy states, no teacher shall be reduced in salary due to being involuntarily moved out-of-field or being hired into a position out of his or her field.
KRS §161.1221
16 KAR 1:050 Out-of-field teaching shall be classified in four categories. 
16 KAR 2:120
16 KAR §161.100

Teacher Workload Policies: Polices are in place to provide teachers with additional time for non-teaching activities, and the local board of education shall use some days for professional development.
KRS §158.060  
KRS §158.070

Maximum Class Size Policies: Except for those schools that have implemented school-based decision making (SBDM), the chief state school officer shall enforce maximum class sizes for every academic course requirement in all grades, except in vocal and instrumental music, and physical education classes.
702 KAR 3:190

Classroom Discipline Policies: In cooperation with various agencies, the department of education shall develop statewide student discipline guidelines to ensure safe schools and recommendations designed to improve the learning environment.
KRS §158.148
704 KAR 7:050

Use of Time in School Day: Policies are in place to ensure teachers receive the required amount of duty-free lunch periods and additional time is provided for non-teaching activities.
KRS §158.060

Other Statewide Retention-Related Policies: The Teachers' Professional Growth Fund was created to provide teachers high quality professional development in content knowledge in various subject areas.
KRS §156.553
704 KAR 3:490

Rights of Tenure: If any teacher willfully refuses or neglects to comply with the law or such rules and regulations, the local superintendent may remove him or her at any time. When so removed, the teacher shall receive payment only for the time taught.
KRS §161.120
KRS §161.170
KRS §161.780
KRS §161.720 through §161.810

State Retirement Policies: Teachers' Retirement System (KTRS) membership is mandatory for all persons in eligible agencies occupying positions which require either certification or graduation from a four-year college or university as a condition of employment.
DOE Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System.
KRS §161.600 
KRS §161.220 through §161.716

Statewide Pension Policies: Calculation of retirement annuities is based on a final average salary of the three highest salaries for those members who are at least 55 years of age and have at least 27 years of Kentucky service credit.
102 KAR 1:220b
KRS §161.220 through §161.716
DOE Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System

Teacher Recognition Programs or Policies: The Kentucky Department of Education recognizes two awards programs for teachers, Teacher of the Year and Milken Family Foundation Educator Award.
DOE Awards and Recognition Programs.
The Kentucky Distinguished Educator Program identifies the state's most outstanding and highly skilled certified educators.
703 KAR 4:030

Sabbatical Policies: Upon written request of a teacher or superintendent, a board of education may grant a leave of absence for a period.
KRS §161.770

Teacher Exchange Opportunities: The superintendent of public instruction is authorized to issue appropriate certification to foreign teachers serving in Kentucky schools under the teacher exchange program, provided the requirements are met.
16 KAR 4:070

Pension Portability Policies: Kentucky retirement credit may not be used in calculating annuity payments if the same service credit has been used to increase benefits in another retirement system.
102 KAR 1:045

License Reciprocity with Other States: Notwithstanding any other statute to the contrary, an experienced, out-of-state teacher shall qualify for a regular provisional certificate if the applicant meets the requirements.
KRS §161.123

Kentucky is part of the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement; therefore, the state accepts recommendations from teacher preparation programs from state-accredited colleges and universities in many states.
DOE EPSB Certification FAQs

Certification/Licensure of Educators from Outside the State: Out-of-state applicants must have completed a state-approved teacher preparation program at a regionally accredited educator preparation institution or a state-approved alternative training program.
DOE EPSB Certification
KRS §161.030 (5)