Wednesday, September 02, 2009

School News from Around Kentucky

Some Jefferson after-school programs on hold, canceled: More than 1,000 Jefferson County Public Schools students who paid for after-school activities are seeing some of those programs canceled or postponed because they violate district policy. The move threatens to end popular programs that had been offered for years at some schools, teaching topics ranging from science and martial arts to yoga and dance. Theresa Jensen, assistant superintendent of elementary schools for the district, said she was notified several weeks ago that some schools were violating district policy by allowing for-profit organizations or businesses to use school property for after-school activities that charged students a fee to participate. (C-J)

Opinion - Better prepared - Two signs that the brightest students are improving: The best and brightest of Kentucky high school students are doing better academically, a clear indication that the state’s high schools are doing a better job of preparing their best students for the academic rigors of college.That’s the conclusion that can be drawn from how Kentucky students are doing on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and on year-end exams in Advanced Placement (AP) classes. In both, Kentucky students are improving.The SAT is not an accurate measure of how well Kentucky high schools are preparing students for college life...Nevertheless, there were 9- to 10-point gains in verbal, math and writing skills among the minority of Kentucky students who did take the SAT. Even more encouraging is the increase in the number of Kentucky students taking Advance Placement classes and the scores they received on the year-in tests...The SAT scores and AP courses tell us little or nothing about how well Kentucky high schools are preparing all their students, but they tell us quite a bit about how well schools are preparing their top students — and the news is good. (Daily-Independent)

Former Fayette teacher sentenced: The former teacher accused of raping and sodomizing two students 30 years ago was sentenced to 6½ years in prison for his crimes, the maximum allowed because that's what the jury recommended when it found him guilty in July. There weren't words strong enough for Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael Jr. when it came to pronouncing the final judgment Friday on Jack Russell Hubbard, 62, for his actions while a science teacher at Beaumont Junior High School in 1978. (H-L)

Kentucky trial of high school coach has wide implications: ...if Stinson is convicted or pleads guilty to a lesser offense that carries a prison sentence, his case could produce major changes in high school football and high school sports in general. It could, for instance, compel high school coaches and school districts to treat players with much more care, and to provide them with added safeguards, such as ensuring that trainers are on-hand at all times, that coaches have undergone extensive sensitivity training, and that purportedly harsh practice conditions (e.g., denying a player water at any time; ordering sprints in hot and humid conditions) be eliminated. ...Stinson's case may also force coaches and school districts to condition the playing of sports on players' passage of rigorous, possibly invasive health tests. ...In that same vein, the profession of high school football coaching may take a hit. If a player's death on the practice field can lead to a coach facing criminal prosecution, the profession suddenly becomes a much less attractive one. The added possibility of tort liability under a wrongful death civil claim only amplifies that point. While a conviction or guilty plea in Stinson's case would undoubtedly prove meaningful, there are potential limitations to the fallout. Most notably, the case is limited to Kentucky law and the choice of prosecution by one Commonwealth Attorney's Office; other states' prosecutors have not pursued such a prosecution under their laws and there is no indication that they would do so. Regardless of its outcome, Commonwealth v. Stinson may encourage coaches across the country to rethink their practice conditions and how they treat players. While some of those coaches would likely deride a softening of football practices, others might embrace a perceived increase in player safety. (Sports Illustrated)

JCPS board appeals closed-meeting ruling: The school board for Jefferson County Public Schools has appealed to circuit court a state attorney general ruling that the board violated Kentucky's open-meeting law by conducting Superintendent Sheldon Berman's evaluation in private. (C-J)

RSS FEEDS AVAILABLE ON KDE WEB SITE: The Kentucky Department of Education now offers RSS feeds on selected sections of its Web site. (KDE)

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