Making a Difference:
Professional Development for Teachers
Without KET’s course, to get this training we would have had to pay for substitute teachers, pay for travel, pay for the training, and, if it was after school...it would be extra pay. But this way, financially, it was easier.
Donna Wear may be the principal at Paducah’s Commonwealth Middle College, but if you ask any of her students, they’re more likely to give her the title of friend.
Like a true friend, the bubbly, positive Wear concentrates on bringing out the best in the high-school students from three counties enrolled in the unique joint high school/college program at Western Kentucky Community and Technical College.
And the lifelong friend that Wear herself has relied upon throughout her four decades in education has been KET.
“KET has been a part of my life since I became a teacher 40-plus years ago,” said Wear, who has taught at the middle- and high-school levels, as well as serving as assistant principal in schools both large and small including Ballard Memorial High School, which has just 425 students.
“As a small high school we couldn’t provide all the classes that were needed and wanted,” she said, “so we turned to distance learning particularly for foreign language, physics and calculus.”
In every school, she noted, including her current one, her staff has taken advantage of the professional development, or PD, courses KET offers for teachers to complete required ongoing training.
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Recently, Commonwealth Middle College teachers completed Promoting Positive Behavior in Schools, an online PD course developed by KET and the Kentucky Department of Education in response to the new Kentucky regulation enacted to protect the welfare and safety of children, school personnel, and visitors in public schools.
“Without KET’s course, to get this training we would have had to pay for substitute teachers, pay for travel, pay for the training, and, if it was after school, for classified (workers) it would be extra pay,” she said. “But this way, financially, it was easier, but beyond that, it was easier because it was flexible and we could work at our own pace.”
Online PD courses also are a particular boon to remote Western Kentucky, she added; entire staffs can be trained rather than sending one emissary who must return and pass the information along to the rest of the staff.
Wear also cites KET’s Education Matters program as a vital resource to educators.
“Education Matters is pivotal to get information to people in our state about the face of education in Kentucky, I really believe that,” she said. “The guests are educators, real teachers, and legislators who control the funding for so many of our programs—everything from curriculum to assessment. It’s so important.”
In addition to her role as educator, Wear also fulfills a community role for KET. As a community ambassador and Friend of KET, she carries to Western Kentucky the message that KET is a trusted resource.
“I really believe KET challenges us,” she said. “KET makes learning a lifelong adventure, and part of what my job is as a Friends Board member is to share that with other people.”
And it’s the diversity of KET’s programing schedule, she said, that’s key to achieving this goal.
“KET brings a wealth of learning to all people of all ages—whether you’re early elementary or whether you’re 75 sitting listening to bluegrass music,” she said. “There is something there for everyone.
“And KET never grows old,” she adds. “It is so modern—from technology to the programming—it truly stays with what’s new and what is current.”