Take Note

Take Note

Kentucky School Advocate
April 2016
STEMming dropouts
Three Kentucky school districts will share funding through a national consortium in a program to increase student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and manufacturing careers.

The two-year project will distribute $1.5 million among three states. New York and Mississippi are the others.

Toyota USA Foundation and several other groups are partnering in the project, aimed at increasing graduation rates and a more educated, skilled, diverse and motivated workforce.

Participating Kentucky schools are: Fayette County’s Bryan Station High School; Scott County High School, Cardinal Academy and Scott County Ninth Grade School in Scott County; and The Academy and Franklin County High School in Franklin County.

Battle lines drawn
Kentucky’s Battle of the School Buildings is on, and 131 schools and associated buildings are competing to see which will be the Top Kentucky School Building, determined by the percentage-based reduction in energy use achieved from 2015 to 2016.

The competition, based on the national ENERGY STAR Battle of the buildings contest, is sponsored by KSBA’s School Energy Managers Project. Competing buildings include 72 elementary schools, 26 middle schools, 19 high schools and 14 other structures. Twenty-seven districts are represented; among those with multiple schools, six submitted all their buildings in the battle.

“This is the first time this ‘battle’ has been launched among Kentucky schools, and we are pleased at the response from school districts,” said Ron Willhite, director of the School Energy Managers Project. “It will be especially interesting because of the variety of school buildings that will be involved in tracking their energy use – schools of different sizes, grade levels and uses. For some schools, this will be the beginning of a school energy team. I expect serious competition among the schools and districts, yet in the end, all participants will be winners because they are focused on eliminating wasteful spending and implementing the best in energy efficiencies.”

In addition to the top energy saver, KSBA-SEMP also will recognize schools that reduce energy use by 20 percent or more from 2015 to 2016.

Spring training
School board members who are looking to earn training credits in the spring will not have to warm up for this opportunity. KSBA is once again partnering with the state’s education co-ops to offer regional training closer to home for board members. The sessions will focus on the three state-mandated training areas of finance, superintendent evaluation and ethics. The specific courses vary from site to site, but each site will offer three to five 60-minute workshops on those topics. There is a $40 fee for each workshop except for those dealing with superintendent evaluations, which are free thanks to a partnership with the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence and Gates Foundation funding.

Here are the locations/dates: Kentucky Educational Development Corporation, Ashland – April 14; Southeast-Southcentral Educational Cooperative, Corbin, April 16; West Kentucky Educational Cooperative, Eddyville – April 21; Central Kentucky Educational Cooperative, Lexington – April 23; Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative, Hazard – April 28; Green River Regional Educational Cooperative, Bowling Green – April 30; Ohio Valley Education Cooperative, Shelbyville – May 3.

To see schedule details and register, go to Events at www.ksba.org.
Recognition maker
Boone County Schools’ MakerSpace – featured in the December 2015 issue of this magazine – received an honorable mention nod in the 2016 Magna Awards sponsored by the American School Board Journal and Sodexo. The NKY MakerSpace, operating in a school district-rented building, is open to students, teachers and others in Boone County and elsewhere in the region. Its rooms revolve around STEAM subjects of science, math, engineering, arts and mathematics and are packed with gear like robots, 3-D printers, virtual reality headsets, microcomputers and video equipment.
NKY MakerSpace intern Kian Quinn works on a project. 

The project, which was conceived and advocated by students, was one of five Magna honorable mentions in the over 20,000 enrollment category.
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