Friday, August 13, 2010

School News from Around Kentucky

Kentucky 2010 ACT scores show modest gains: Juniors in Kentucky’s public high schools made modest improvements this year on the ACT college readiness exam, according to numbers released Thursday by the state Department of Education. English scores for 2010 rose to 17.3 to 17.8, and reading rose from 18.4 to 18.9, but results in math and science saw more minimal gains. The ACT is scored on a 36-point scale. “We are beginning to see the benefits of an early focus on college and career readiness; however, there is much work remaining,” Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said in a statement. (The Courier-Journal)

Teacher websites provide resources for students, parents: Educators in one Kentucky school district are launching websites to help provide more resources for students and their parents. Teachers are posting classroom materials, assignments and syllabi, and also will offer reminders of upcoming events. "It's just another mode of communication," one teacher said. (Daily News)

Is one year enough time to turn around a struggling school?: Shawnee High School in Louisville, Ky., is immersed in the federal turnaround process that is aimed at improving student achievement and a graduation rate that hovers around 60%. The school's principal and staff -- half of which are new this year -- will have one year to make the changes, which some see as an unrealistic time frame. "Very few people, if any, know how to turn a school around dramatically in one year. We are in desperate need of good training on how to do this," a district official said. (Education Week)

Lessons learned: It's August, so it's no surprise that temperatures have risen to brutal heights. And … it's August, so it's also no surprise that the beginning of school is right around the corner — although student athletes already have shown up to practice for their upcoming sports seasons. The Louisville area cannot just take these two rites of August at face value anymore, not after a student athlete named Max Gilpin died two Augusts ago after a hard and hot football practice at Pleasure Ridge Park High School. The community watched as his coach, Jason Stinson, was charged with wanton endangerment and reckless homicide in his heat-related death; Mr. Stinson was found not guilty on all counts in the criminal trial (a civil trial has yet to take place). Upon that verdict, Michele Crockett, Max Gilpin's mother, said she was disappointed in the outcome but believed her son's death was not in vain because it had raised awareness about heat, young people and athletics. That awareness does seem to have been raised. (Courier-Journal)

Athletes to get heat patches: Collins High School has some high-tech features in the building and now will have some high-tech features on its athletes as well. On Tuesday afternoon the school received a donation of about $2,000 worth of Ionx Body Temperature Alert Patches from the Kentucky Justice Association and the Kentucky Family Safety Foundation to outfit all the Titans through October. After the death of Pleasure Ridge Park freshman Max Gilpin in 2008 because of heat-related issues, coaches have been keeping a closer eye on athletes and how they react to the rising summer temperatures. (Sentinel-News)

Kenton school chief happy with Race to the Top presentation: Tim Hanner spent Tuesday in Washington, D.C., trying to persuade a panel of judges to award Kentucky $175 million for education reform. The superintendent of the Kenton County School District was one of five people representing the state in a quest for federal Race to the Top funds. The team had a strict 30-minute time limit to present its case. The judges then had 60 minutes to ask questions. "It was intense and specific," Hanner said, "but we felt that it highlighted just how strong our application is." (

Jefferson County school board races draw crowded ballot: Only one currently serving board member will run unopposed: Linda Duncan, a former school administrator who has represented southern Louisville's District 5 since 2006. But in western Louisville's District 1, three women who interviewed for the job when it was vacated by Ann Elmore are challenging interim board member Diane Porter. And in the northeastern suburbs of District 3, three more challengers are taking on Chairwoman Debbie Wesslund — with at least two opposing the student-assignment plan that aims to keep schools integrated but requires some students to take longer bus rides. (The Courier-Journal)

Laurel County Schools Distribute Gideon Bibles: Laurel County School board members approved allowing Gideon’s International representatives to distribute copies of the New Testament to fifth-grade students in the county.Terry Beckner approached the board to request permission and explained the Bibles were not forced upon any student.“What we have done is set up a table and allow any student who wants a free copy of the New Testament to take one,” Beckner said. “These are not forced on anyone.”Board member Bud Stuber questioned why the Bibles are distributed solely to fifth-graders.“We always have done fifth-graders,” Beckner said. “There were a few years where we didn’t go to the schools and when we were allowed back in, we just chose the fifth-grade class.”School board attorney Larry Bryson said the question of what is too young and what is too old may have played into the decision of which age group could appreciate the Bibles more.“That is the age of accountability,” he said. (Sentinel Echo)

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