Twenty-five percent of the high school’s 10th-12th graders are enrolled in college course work through the district’s partnership with Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University and the Hazard Community and Technical College.
The district has been designated as a District of Innovation and a Digital Promise School.
Olivia Bryant graduated from Owsley County High School in 2014. Two weeks earlier she graduated from Hazard Community and Technical College with an associate of arts degree. She graduated with a 3.9 GPA on her college coursework and is currently a senior at Eastern Kentucky University.
Her mom, Jennifer Bryant, wrote that the enrollment loss worried her because a corresponding decrease in teaching staff and courses offered could have limited her daughter’s options.
“My daughter is very artistic and enjoys studying the humanities,” Bryant said. “I was very happy to learn in my daughter’s sophomore year that the school district had adopted new initiatives to allow students access to more dual-credit classes. This allowed her to take classes that fed her passion for the arts. She took humanities, world religions, art history, music appreciation and philosophy. She also took classes to help her meet all her general education requirements for college.”
Jennifer’s son, Axl, is a senior at OCHS and has taken several dual credit science classes.
“These classes have challenged him academically and allowed him to be exposed to content that he would have not been otherwise,” she said.
The Owsley County Board of Education allocates $1,800 pay for its teachers to teach a dual credit course. Students may pay a $50 fee for some dual-credit courses but the board has allocated up to $10,000 to help offset those costs.
“Our board is a very student-centered, focused board and we’re always looking out for the needs of the students as well as what else can we do for our students and it’s really good to have a board that thinks that way but then also acts that way,” Bobrowski said.
The district’s reducing barriers initiative includes:
• Blended learning, which enables students to combine classroom learning with working independently via technology.
• Non-traditional instructional days, so students can continue to learn while at home during inclement weather.
• Pathways to Careers for freshmen and sophomores. Students in those grade levels do job shadowing and have a mentor in career exploration.
• 24/7/365 learning management systems, including Edgenuity and Blackboard, which enable students to get instruction at school, home or wherever they may be. Virtual high school addresses home-bound, excessive absences and individual learning needs or issues.
• Early College options and dual credit classes (10-12) earn college credit. The district currently offers 33 credit courses.
• One-to-one access at high school and Wi-Fi on buses.
• Individual learning plans for all grades 9-12 students, graduation waivers. Once students reach benchmark levels in math and reading their instructional time is flexible to allow for career exploration and additional college courses.