0513 People are Talking

0513 People are Talking

People are Talking

People are Talking “It’s more efficient in the sense that textbooks only teach to a certain percentage of my class. What happens to the student that is struggling who might need a lower level of text or to the student that instead of reading how to learn needs to see how to learn? Now with these Chromebooks, I can bring up videos that allow those visual learners to see how to do something. I can bring up things that will differentiate lessons that will make my instruction reach my higher kids, my lower kids and those in between.” Campbellsburg Elementary (Henry County) teacher Chris Cleveland on how the school’s technology selection has impacted her classroom. From the Eminence Henry County Local. Photo provided by Henry County Schools

“Our first year, we’re going to maintain personnel as best we can with our federal funds, but there’s definitely going to be some impact on programs and services that are provided to the school district. It’s a challenging time for school districts to continue to be fiscally responsible and the best stewards of public dollars we can be, while continuing to do some innovative initiatives connected to college and career readiness and student achievement overall.” Crittenden County Schools Superintendent Rachel Yarbrough on maintaining academic standards despite federal funding cuts under the sequestration spending reductions. From the Marion Crittenden Press.

“We’ve tried to stay away from hitting the classroom as much as possible. It’s not that we’re overstaffed, we’re just trying our best to keep teachers in the classroom.” Harrison County Schools Superintendent Andy Dotson on his plans to further reduce spending on central office administration to address the anticipated federal funds losses. From the Cynthiana Democrat.

“The schools that have built buildings and sold bonds, it’s going to hit them. We feel like we’ve been cut to the core with all the state cuts and now the federal cuts. We never want to use general fund money to pay for a building, but when the federal government reneges, we don’t have a choice.” Paducah Independent Schools Superintendent Randy  Greene on one aspect of the sequestration cuts that hasn’t received much attention – federal subsidies on some school construction bonds. From the Paducah Sun.

“We were fortunate that apart from hitting a pole, nothing else happened. I immediately prohibited any further use of Mike Hamilton’s bus service. This was their one strike.” Webster County Schools Superintendent Dr. James Kemp on his decision to prohibit further use of a regional transportation contractor after a minor accident revealed the company’s driver didn’t have either of two commercial licenses. From the Madisonville SurfKY News Group.

“In order for technology to be a successful classroom tool, it has to change the way we teach. There has to be a shift. There has to be sacrifice.  This has become evident in our middle and high school and, I believe, our students will be more successful because of it.” Cloverport Independent School Principal Dwayne Bishop on completion of a first-in-the-state initiative to put an iPad or iPod unit in the hands of every P-12 student. From the Hardinsburg WXBC Radio News.

“The biggest difference is our current system is more of a measurement of whether or not the teacher met the standard or didn’t meet the standard. The new system is more focused on development. Certainly, we’ve got good teachers, and all of us can be better.” Anderson County Schools Instructional Supervisor Sharon Jackman on her district’s implementation of the state’s new teacher evaluation system. From the Lawrenceburg Anderson News.

“I was struggling with everybody. I couldn’t keep friends, I’d keep blowing up. They’re helping me bring my grades up, helping me with homework. Then, I didn’t like school. Now, I like school. I have friends now. I like my teachers.” Zach, a student at Scott County’s Ninth Grade School, on how he has benefited from the Check and Connect mentoring program involving local law enforcement officers. From the Georgetown News Graphic.

“It demonstrates to our community our commitment to excellence, our openness to external review and feedback, and our desire to be the best we can on behalf of the students we serve.  The process enabled us to take a hard look at our purpose and direction. This has been a great growth process for our district.” Butler County Schools Superintendent Scott Howard on his district’s successful effort to gain accreditation by AdvancEd, formerly the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. From the Morgantown Beech Tree News.

“I’ve never heard of a child learning to read on a school bus. I can’t find any research that says instructional aides improve student performance. My first question is ‘What’s the overhead cost in the district?’ Any businessman will tell you if you’re going to cut expenditures, cut overhead first if you possibly can. Managing a school budget is not driving a Ski-Doo. If you’re driving a Ski-Doo, you can run right up to a boat and turn it real quick. It’s more like driving an ocean liner. If you ... have to turn real quick, there’s going to be wailing and gnashing of teeth everywhere.” Bob Spillman, a budget consultant for the Kentucky Department of Education, to the Lincoln County school board on options for it to reduce spending by $500,000 next year. From the Stanford Interior-Journal.

“I know we’re going to have a hard time, and there are going to be people upset either way.” Trimble County Board of Education member Scott Burrows on an athletic field renovation choice the board faces, which would restrict home games or meets for either the high school football team or track teams. From the Madison (Indiana) Courier.

“I think we all realize cursive is a skill we will continue to need, but we have to balance it with the need for typing skills.” Greenup County Schools curriculum director Diana Whitt on the debate over whether schools should continue to teach cursive writing even as new high-stakes assessments put more focus on keyboarding. From the Ashland Daily Independent.

“For most of the kids who currently aren’t as successful meeting their benchmark scores, if you look back, you could see it coming in their K-5 days. If the state approves our application, this gives us the freedom to implement some pretty radical changes that could make the difference in whether these kids succeed, not just in our classrooms, but years after they graduate, too.” Owensboro Independent Schools Assistant Superintendent Paula Roberts on local leaders’ hopes to be one of the first to gain state designation as a District of Innovation. From the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer.

“We are rearranging our classes and our ag department, working toward horticulture because that is a growing industry in this area. We are planning to build a greenhouse for the students for educational purposes, but also for business, selecting seeds and plants and selling to local people.” Ballard County Schools Career and Technical Center Principal Dana Rohrer on transforming his district’s agriculture courses. From the Paducah West Kentucky Star.

“Farming is hard work but it is also very rewarding. It is really important that these kids understand there is more to farming than watering plants.” West Carter High School agriculture teacher Will Davis on an agreement with a local company to allow his students to cultivate 13 acres of land to produce 10 types of crops. From the Grayson Journal-Times.

Point/Counterpoint on ... the balancing act in school facilities planning
Point...
“Because of the condition and age of the buildings, they’re not what we want our students to be in. So, if it takes meeting some challenges, it’s something we’re willing to do to take four of our old schools and come up with two brand new schools.” Perry County Schools finance officer Jody Maggard on a facility plan that calls for a combination of consolidation and new construction.

Counterpoint...
“If, in the next few years [student enrollment at Chavies] goes below 300, there ain’t going to be no school. If you had $20 million, you won’t get a new school.” Perry County Board of Education Chairman John Combs on concerns that consolidation of existing elementaries into one new school could impact the ability to get state approval for the second new facility. 

From the Hazard Herald

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