Innovation status allows districts to think differently
Kentucky School Advocate
By Matt McCarty
Ten districts are now recognized as Districts of Innovation by the Kentucky Department of Education, and the program’s director, David Cook, says the distinction of being in the program can unleash a district.
“There’s a certain amount of freedom that comes from being identified as a District of Innovation in the community,” Cook said.
He said he would like to see some revisions made to the legislation that authorized the program to allow for even more flexibility, including making it easier to get teachers certified in certain areas.
“I’m sure you can imagine one of the pieces they really struggle with, particularly in smaller, rural districts, is finding the right people to teach some of the programs that they want to have,” Cook said. “And they have qualified people, people who could really teach the programs they want to have but they’re not qualified in a formal sense through (the Education Professional Standards Board).
“I would love to see us be able to sit down and go, ‘Can we fix this and can we fix this?’” he added. “By virtue of doing that, I think we would have a fairly quick influx” of districts who would want to apply.
(Editor’s Note: After publication of this article, EPSB Executive Director Jimmy Adams contacted the Kentucky School Advocate to say that the EPSB has never denied a waiver request from any district in the districts of innovation. Adams said “the EPSB has never had to grant a waiver request because all requests that have been made were allowable under current regulations. Certification is not solely about content and pedagogy knowledge, it is also about the safety of our students and public trust. The EPSB has the authority to hold certified educators accountable if they violate that trust.”)