A Service to Kentuckians
In the early years of Hilma Prather’s career, when she worked as a teacher and later a principal with Somerset Independent Schools, she’d always held a “teacher’s appreciation” for KET and the educational resources the network created for educators across the Commonwealth.
It wasn’t until after she retired and embarked upon a second career in public education advocacy – including positions with the Kentucky Department of Education and the Pritchard Committee for Academic Excellence – that Prather says she got a better view of KET and took in the full breadth of the network’s efforts to support education in Kentucky.
“That’s when I really began to understand the multi-faceted approach to services that KET offers learners of all ages,” Prather said. “I saw that KET was so much more than just its television programming. It’s an educational hub that strives to meet the needs of Kentuckians throughout the different chapters of their lives.”
KET has done an extraordinary job of using technology to stay abreast of the next way to provide services to Kentuckians.Hilma Prather
Prather, who served on KET’s governing board from 1994-2018 and as the board’s chair from 2007-2010, said the front-row seat she was afforded to KET’s operations only deepened her appreciation for the network.
“One of the things I love about KET is that it’s always made education its main thing,” said Prather, who these days continues to volunteer with the Commonwealth Fund for KET. “That was the vision of KET’s founder Len Press: to provide equitable educational services to children across Kentucky, regardless of where they lived. And KET has never veered from that course. Rather, it’s expanded it immensely and done an extraordinary job of using technology to stay abreast of the next way to provide services to Kentuckians.”
As an example, she points to KET’s efforts to create a variety of online resources that support people of all ages and walks of life. For those interested in early childhood education, for instance, there’s the online resource Let’s Learn Kentucky, which offers new parents helpful tips on preparing their child for preschool. For those eying a career change, there’s KET’s workforce development resources, such as FastForward, which helps people study for the GED® equivalency exam, and Workplace Essential Skills, which helps them brush up on key business and math concepts. And for those interested in public affairs, KET’s legislative coverage and programs such as Kentucky Edition, Kentucky Tonight and KET Forums help people stay informed about the issues facing the Commonwealth.
“In a place like Kentucky, where so many of our population centers sit along bordering states, there’s a lot of forces pulling Kentuckian’s interests outward to other regions,” Prather said. “But KET does a great job of bringing our attention back to Kentucky and creating conversations that help unify our state.”
And when it comes to teaching children about Kentucky and its history, KET’s classroom resources are still “second to none,” thanks to engaging online series such as News Quiz, Social Studies Shorts and KET’s virtual tours that explore significant landmarks and historical sites around the Commonwealth.
“Even as peoples’ lives change, KET does so much to meet their needs,” she said. “I think that’s why KET has as much value today as it did when it was founded in 1968. It really is a huge treasure for Kentuckians.”