People Are Talking

People Are Talking

People Are Talking

Kentucky School Advocate
January 2016

"Local board members play a special role in our communities. Unless they have served on a local board, I do not think people realize that being a board member is a full time job – with little or no pay. They do not get to turn off being a board member at the grocery store, the mall, or even church. They listen to the concerns of the community, their superintendents, their parents and their community at large. They then have to take those concerns and determine the best course of action for students given the resources at their disposal.” Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen L. Pruitt (pictured with Graves County Superintendent Kim Dublin) in one of his weekly blogs in December. From the Kentucky Department of Education.
 
 
 
 
“We’re going to kick some boy bootie.” Ashlee Edmonson, a member of the Elkhorn Crossing School (Scott County) all-girls robotics team, in anticipation of playing against some of the all-male teams in a 70-squad regional competition at her school. From the Georgetown News-Graphic.

“I guess what I’m asking isn’t so much about what to do if you want to report, but committing yourself to report whether you want to or not and whether parents understand that their kids are committing to report everything that they witness. My concern is if a parent commits to a policy that requires their kid to report and something happens and it’s not reported, the kid is liable.” Rowan County Board of Education member Scott Davison, wanting to ensure possible changes in the board’s anti-bullying policy clearly spell out expectations for students. From the Morehead News.

 

 
 
“Obviously, the Somerset Schools are dissatisfied with their present school limitations. We think a more economic system of education that should be considered is a merger of these two school districts pursuant to KRS 160.040. This would eliminate the issues of nonresident student contracts and annexation efforts by the Somerset Schools.” Pulaski County Schools board attorney Larry Bryson in a filing with the Kentucky Department of Education as part of his district’s opposition to an annexation effort by Somerset Independent Schools. From the Somerset Commonwealth-Journal.

“There are days we have to be creative with our staffing.” An understatement by Danville Independent Schools Superintendent Keith Look on the challenges of a shrinking pool of qualified substitute teachers in his region. From the Danville Advocate-Messenger.

“In just one year, energy efficiency features of this school have saved $59,000 in utility costs. Energy savings enables the district to keep our operating dollars where we need them most – in the classroom. It’s part of being a good steward of taxpayer dollars and is the environmentally responsible choice.” Estill County Schools Superintendent Jeff Saylor on one of the financial pluses the district has realized from the design of the new West Irvine Elementary School. From WTVQ TV News in Lexington.

“Go forth and dig. And find good soil.” Comments respectively by Corbin Independent Board of Education members Todd Childers and Kim Croley following approval of a $28 million bond issue to build a long-awaited new middle school. From the Corbin Times-Tribune.

“It gives you an extra set of eyes to validate what you are doing. We’re pretty excited about that because it gives us a good, clear focus for our entire district, which includes all the schools, at the exact same time.” Bardstown Independent Schools Superintendent Brent Holsclaw emphasizing the importance of parent feedback to the district’s quest for accreditation from the AdvancEd organization. From the Bardstown Kentucky Standard.

“There’s a lot of liability out there and we all don’t know where it is going to end up. They’re all not happy about the liability.” George Sparks, a CPA with the Cincinnati-based Barnes Denning & Co. accounting firm, assessing a common reaction among leaders of 14 Kentucky systems his firm audits on new requirements that districts show their share of state pension fund shortfalls to cover employee future retirement benefits. From the Owenton News-Herald.

“Right now, it’s harder than ever to find quality staff in all areas in the educational system. And I’ve done some homework, and it’s this way across the state of Kentucky. It’s not just Eastern Kentucky and Floyd County. So, if we dismantle our pension system in any way, then less people will go into education and future generations are going to suffer.” Kentucky Association of School Superintendents President Henry Webb of Floyd County expressing a frequent concern about possible changes in Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System benefits by the 2016 General Assembly. From the Prestonsburg Floyd County Chronicle.

“The students do Passion Projects, which is when the students create their own project they have an interest in and a passion for, that is also a benefit to the community; they do Design Briefs, which are short assignments where the kids have a task to conquer and they were given three resources to use and they had to figure out how to use those three resources to solve the problem, which is completely critical thinking.” Marshall County Schools Instructional Supervisor Abby Griffy explaining one aspect of planned implementation of project-based learning next fall in the district’s third through fifth grades. From the Benton Tribune-Courier.

“I pour my heart into making the very best decisions I can make for the children of Knox County and will continue to do so as long as I’m serving in this position.” Knox County Board of Education Chairman Dexter Smith responding to an Office of Education Accountability finding that he, fellow board member Merrill Smith and Superintendent Kelly Sprinkles had violated several mandates regarding personnel and day-to-day school operations. From the Lexington Herald-Leader.

“It’s not about the numbers. I just want to make sure that every child has a full belly when they are in the classroom. If we are feeding 50 percent of our students, 25 percent, 75 percent, those numbers don’t matter to me. I want to know that our students have the opportunity to get a meal, and that they will be satisfied enough with our services to take it.” Madison County Schools Food Services Director Scott Anderson on a nearly 75 percent increase in breakfasts being served as the district participates in the expanded federal free-and-reduced meals program. From the Richmond Register.

“We are going down a bumpy road. At first we were trying all these different breakfast foods, but we were advised to cut down the choices and now we have something like freshly made berry bread, and hard boiled eggs, but with the choice of cereal, the same basic menu every five days. We are building a program and there are bound to be challenges. What I am understanding from you is that the philosophy is not the problem, it is the execution.” Dayton Independent Schools Superintendent Jay Brewer responding to some parents’ concerns about the food being served in school cafeterias. From the Covington River City News.
“This is the largest gap that we have from meeting our delivery target. This is clearly something that we have become very well aware of. We need to work with our community, pulling together our stakeholders to get this information out there to help our parents and help our children know what readiness looks like and sounds like.” Campbell County Schools Associate Superintendent Shelli Wilson on a special event (shown at right) for parents of preschoolers using “diologic reading” techniques to show how to improve children’s literacy skills before they enter kindergarten. From the Fort Mitchell Community Press & Recorder.
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