0114 People Are Talking

0114 People Are Talking

People are Talking

People are Talking "A night like this makes the parents and students aware of what’s going on in the high school setting. They can see how important math and science are in careers and in the real world.”  Adair County High School math teacher Brent Campbell on “Adair Night Out,” an evening for parents to visit math and science classrooms to see student presentations. At right, a student explains his project to a community member. From the Columbia Adair Progress. Photo by Wes Feese/Adair Progress

“This gives people who are aspiring to be teachers a taste of what it’s like – before student teaching.” Bowling Green Ind. High School social studies and history teacher Dan Mosier on a Western Kentucky University initiative to create a student teaching model that bridges gaps between high school and college instruction. From the Bowling Green Daily News.

“Teaching is a stressful profession because we want to see our students succeed and it’s frustrating when they underperform sometimes. (But) it’s very important to keep our emotions in check. Teachers put a lot of pressure on themselves and they become invested in their students’ success. It’s important for her to learn from it.” Belfry (Pike County) Middle School Principal Matt Mercer after a teacher’s scolding comments about students’ class work was recorded and posted online, drawing complaints from some parents. From the Pikeville Appalachian News-Express.

“It doesn’t make any difference what our job is, everybody needs assistance and coaching from time to time.” Marion County school board Chairman Michael Mullins after some teachers objected to the district spending $220,000 to hire instructional coaches to improve classroom teaching and to help with implementation of the Kentucky Core Academic Standards. From the Lebanon Enterprise.

“The ability for FRYSCs to empower families and students has greatly diminished since 2008. Many centers are understaffed and some have reduced days worked and hours per day due to the reductions. Many of the supports that help students succeed in school are no longer available because collaborative community partners have seen their budgets diminish as well.” Doug Jones, a program manager in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Division of Family Resource and Youth Services Centers, on the effect of ongoing state funding cuts for FRYSCs. From the Bethesda, Md. Education Week.

“The age of the district’s technology, vehicles and general equipment should be considered in future budget discussions. They are aging quicker than you are replacing them.” Auditor Brian Woosley to the Russell County school board on another of the financial considerations local school leaders must plan for.  From the Russell Springs News-Register.

“We have to take all of our coaches and substitute teachers and find a way to track the number of hours they have worked. If they work over 30 hours a week on average, then we are supposed to offer them health coverage. We have some problems when it comes to employees that work multiple jobs. If they are a coach in one school, they could be a coach in another school. The same goes with substitute teachers. We are trying to wrap our hands around who are we actually talking about here.” Hopkins County Schools Assistant Superintendent Shari Winstead on one of the challenges districts face in complying with the federal Affordable Care Act as it pertains to mandatory health insurance for employees. From the Madisonville Messenger.

“We have evolved in education, but the way we looked at the gifted and talented program had not changed. We have to celebrate smart but smart and gifted are not always the same thing.” Tina Hayes, McCracken County Schools’ director of elementary instruction and the gifted and talented program, on her district’s efforts to improve how students are identified for inclusion in gifted and talented opportunities. From the Paducah Sun

“These kids (from Fort Campbell) will come to us because of the address of the base. We’re obligated to take them. Almost every year, this comes up. I just think it’s more serious this time because the Army is having to give up things that are very important to them. They are having to consider preparing our soldiers versus what can we do without.” Christian County Schools Chief Operations Officer Kathy Hancock on the impact for her district’s facilities plan if some Department of Defense schools are closed. From the Hopkinsville Kentucky New Era.

“If we didn’t teach students to be active, assertive learners, nothing was ever going to change. We’re forcing them to question and think, and they don’t like it. And the ones who don’t like it are some of our best students. That’s why our 4.0 (grade point average) students didn’t make better than 17 or 18 on the ACT.” Allen County-Scottsville High School math teacher Julie Shelton on complaints about a new instructional approach that puts more responsibility for learning math concepts on the students. From the Scottsville Citizen-Times.

“Having limited funding to accomplish the significant goals that our state has, which are all right and good for kids, we have to figure out more creative ways to collaborate, ways to leverage resources. So we look for partnerships.” Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative Executive Director Jeff Hawkins on one element of his co-op’s college-and-career readiness proposal that is a finalist for $30 million in federal Race to the Top funding. From the Louisville WFPL Radio News.

“There’s only so much you can do with a 1938 model facility.” Whitley County school board Chairman Larry Lambdin on Pleasant View Elementary School’s TELL Kentucky working conditions survey regarding classroom technology and the planned replacement of the school. From the Corbin Times-Tribune.

“We had to do some soul searching and evaluate ourselves in an honest manner without finger-pointing, and take responsibility to make the changes to improve education. Expectations were raised and the cultural climate improved. People are ecstatic. It means a lot for morale.”  Superintendent Steve Hall on Greenup County High School’s three-year climb from being in the lowest 10 percent in the state academically to the 71st percentile on the most recent K-PREP scores. From the Ashland Independent.

“We looked at our school as a business. Everyone links up and has a part that is their goal. We have a 30-, 60- and 90-day plan where we are always looking at what we are doing, [and asking] is it effective.” Leslie County High School Principal Kevin Gay on the school, once one of the state’s lowest performing, recently gaining special notice for its turnaround progress from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  From the Hazard WYMT-TV News.

Fighting for funding
“Many school boards are showing the gumption the legislature lacks by raising property taxes. Unlike lawmakers, these elected officials are fulfilling their public trust. The problem is, the more dependent schools become on local property taxes, the wider the funding gap grows between poor districts and those where the property tax base is richer. The same property tax rate yields wildly different results depending on whether or not a county has large commercial developments and high-priced residential real estate. This inequality was at the heart of the 1989 Supreme Court ruling that reaffirmed the constitutional duty of the legislature to provide an equal education across the state.”
Portions of an editorial backing school board resolutions seeking restoration of state funding reduced since 2008-09. From the Lexington Herald-Leader.
View text-based website