KISD: Keller U Named Outstanding District Professional Learning Program
Keller ISD and its implementation of Keller University was recently presented the Learning Forward Texas Outstanding District Professional Learning Program Award for 2018.
Keller University is a free, District-wide professional development conference that exists to enable educators to develop their knowledge and skills so they can effectively help students in the classrooms of Keller ISD.
Learning Forward values learning communities and Keller University is dedicated to being a community of learning for educators and administrators throughout the District.
This past summer, dynamic, sought-after speakers like Jon Gordon and Ron Clark gave teachers inspirational messages of leadership and positivity at Keller University. Keller ISD’s content coordinators, specialists, and teachers also presented workshops that provided updates in the curriculum, while other presenters hosted learning sessions on everything from teaching 21st Century learners to rediscovering the motivation to teach. The event had sessions for both teachers and administrators that ranged across all interest areas, grade levels, and departments.
More than 1,600 teachers participated during the three-day event and there were more than 150 presenters facilitating 269 classes. In all, an astounding 13,978 hours of professional development were earned over the three days.
Since 2017, Jennifer Love, Coordinator of Professional Learning and Keller U Program Facilitator, and her team have grown Keller University into what it is today. In just her first year in her role, Keller University grew by 50 percent in participation and another 40 percent this past summer. This happened by constantly designing models to match their intended outcome – a learning “experience,” not just a conference.
Love had plans for Keller University to become not only a place for educators to learn successful teaching practices, but to do so in a learning community that made things simple and enjoyable over the three days. To effectively do that, conveniences like online scheduling, a digital catalog, a website for the latest details, a breakfast cafe, on-site lunch choices, and a presenter lounge were added. One of the most impactful changes came from the Keller U Mall where community members and KISD employees could sell items from clothing to candles to make-up. Having the Keller U Mall allows participants a place to come between classes to unwind and enjoy themselves while promoting positive relationships as they shop together, laugh, and relax.
Keller University also incorporates the support of student volunteers, who, this past year, earned more than 320 hours of community service. Additionally, attendees had the opportunity to donate to the Carter BloodCare mobile, and #KellerU trended on Twitter in the DFW area from so many educators tweeting out comments and pictures from their experiences.
Community involvement became a part of the Keller University process under Love and her team’s guidance as they added sponsorship opportunities for local businesses. In 2018, more than 30 businesses provided donations to help facilitate and subsidize the event. Fostering those relationships became a critical piece in the growth of Keller University as it allowed community members to see the work and professional learning that our educators were doing to directly benefit students in KISD.
Following the conference, more than 1,500 pieces of feedback were collected to continue evolving this highly sought after conference and meet and exceed the needs of Keller ISD employees. One participant shared, “I feel blessed that I get to choose my PD based on my needs and interests. Thank you, KU, for giving us this opportunity.”
Keller University 2019 will be held July 16-18 at Timber Creek High School. For more information, visit ku.kellerisd.com.