People Are Talking

People Are Talking

People Are Talking

Kentucky School Advocate
February 2016
“To find a problem and research it, they knocked the walls of this school down. It really broadened their horizons. They started considering other people instead of just the project. My biggest goal this year as a teacher has been to allow student voice and choice. Clearly, they take their schoolwork far more personally if it’s something that they can relate directly to.” Henry County High School teacher Andrew Shearer on some of the projects undertaken by his students, from creating devices to help people with disabilities (as this student is doing in taking measurements for a deerstand wheelchair lift) to designing concussion-reducing cushions for football helmets. From the Eminence Henry County Local.
“The time to fix Kentucky’s current public employee retirement system is behind us. Someone in state government is going to have to address the current problem: there simply is not enough money to cover our debts. In other words, the state needs to look at a tax to pay for what it’s already borrowed. Unfortunately, it looks like the state may be heading in that direction in the wrong way. They’ve asked individual school districts to start showing their liabilities for future contributions. The next step down that road is to ask those districts to fund those shortfalls themselves. As districts raise funds through property taxes, that means homeowners will again bear the lion’s share of that significant burden. The state should veer off this course as soon as possible. A tax of some sort to cover the $30 billion is inevi-table. But there are plenty of places to tax outside of home and business owners.” Portion of an edito-rial echoing a worry local school leaders have voiced as state leaders explore options to address pen-sion funding problems, including those of the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System. From the Cadiz Record.

“Sometimes it boils down to the money. We feel that’s irresponsible as far as the budget is con-cerned.” Hickman County Board of Education Chairman Allen Kyle on his board’s decision to limit re-lease of funding for nonresident students to a maximum of 10 to each of four neighboring districts. From WPSD-TV in Paducah.

“Everything’s unknown, but the forecast’s a lot better for the next few years than once was thought about 18 months ago. Hopefully the worst is over and we’ve turned the corner. We’ll sit down and evaluate things after the first of the year and hopefully we’ll be able to re-establish some pay that was cut in the previous year.” Muhlenberg County Board of Education Chairman Kelly Tarter on the impact of an unexpected $1.1 million in additional Tennessee Valley Authority funding the cash-strapped dis-trict will receive this fiscal year. From SurfKY News of Madisonville.

“This is a game changer for our students as they have the resources to be college/career ready and can obtain that at Fulton County High School. We all play a part in this success as we prepare students ready to enter high school and now MSU. Every one of us plays a vital role in teaching our young peo-ple and we are part of a game changer for our students and our students are given skills and resources that will make them successful citizens that contribute to our community’s success.”
Fulton County Schools Superintendent Aaron Collins on Murray State University beginning to offer courses at the school’s area technology center that serves students from four districts. From the Clinton Hickman County Gazette
“The idea behind the performance-based credit option is to allow for students to expand their abilities to take other subject areas and essentially ‘test’ out if they are proficient in the area. It allows for students to not have the mandated seat time and yet create multiple course offerings that provide a pathway for students in their passion areas through project-based learning.” Frankfort Independent Schools Superintendent Houston Barber (left) on his board’s consideration of allowing high school students to earn credits toward graduation based on their mastery of course content while not taking a class. From the Frankfort State Journal.
“I’m always interested in looking at data, but at the end of the day, go in the schools and look at the kids and count the people in the classroom and determine whether small class sizes are needed building by building. I’m happy to look at the data, but I’m more excited when I go in schools and can tell that small class sizes may be needed in school A and B but not S and T. I hope we don’t get into the bind of, ‘This is what works based on the data.’” Jefferson County Board of Education Vice Chairwoman Diane Porter on the possibility of raising some class sizes in some schools to enable the district to redistribute teachers to other schools with specific needs. From the Louisville Courier-Journal.

“It can be a hard time for families, but this does not reflect the hard work that the teachers are putting in. They’re doing their best.” Pineville Independent Schools Vice Principal Russell Thompson making a case for an incentive program to help improve student attendance. From the Middlesboro Daily News.

“This is an effort to help involve grandparents and those who are on fixed incomes who would like to be at their grandchildren’s events – and many times you have more grandchildren than you have children – to attend more events without facing the admission price.” Laurel County Schools Superintendent Doug Bennett on giving grandparents of students a free pass to home games of district-managed athletic events. From the Corbin Times-Tribune.

“Students need to have a conceptual understanding of mathematics for many reasons. Not the least of which is that when they are confronted with increasingly difficult problems and higher level math such as algebra, students can get bogged down in procedures and struggle to find the solution. Having multiple strategies to choose from increases their degree of success and decreases their level of frustration.” Heritage Elementary School Principal J.C. Perkins to the Carter County school board during a demonstration of new math concepts being used in his school. From the Grayson Journal-Times.

“Writing is thinking. Great writing is from deeper thinking. One of our core values is to help our students secure a future. Meaningful thought and the ability to convey that thought through writing or speaking is vital to our students’ success.” Bellevue Independent Schools Superintendent Robb Smith on a discussion he had with high school students about what has helped them in their dual-credit courses. From the Covington River City News.
“If students do not complete the work, they are not counted absent, but they will be held responsible, in terms of grades, for any work not submitted. If they do not submit online while we are out, they will have two days per day missed to complete and submit the work. This is one way to make sure students that may not have Internet connectivity at home have an opportunity to complete the assignments.” Metcalfe County Schools Superintendent Benny Lile on one aspect of his district’s use of the state’s non-traditional instruction option when winter weather is too bad for schools to be open. From the Edmonton Herald-News.
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