Archive | January 25th, 2011

Wheeler named to NASBE study group

Wheeler

The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) recently announced that Mary Gwen Wheeler, a member of the Kentucky Board of Education, has been selected to serve on a year-long NASBE study group to examine educator preparation and professional development, their job performance evaluations, and the impact of the Common Core State Standards on teaching. Continue Reading

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FCCTC prepares students for the future

Sophomore Tevon Clay vertical-up welds during Randy Shewmaker's class at the Franklin County Career and Technical Center Dec. 1, 2010. Photo by Amy Wallot

Sophomore Tevon Clay vertical-up welds during Randy Shewmaker's class at the Franklin County Career and Technical Center Dec. 1, 2010. Photo by Amy Wallot

By Susan Riddell
susan.riddell@education.ky.gov

The Franklin County Career and Technical Center (FCCTC) is housed in a building that was previously known as the vocational school 20 years ago.

It “was thought of as a place where the non-academic students should go to learn a trade for work because they would never go to college,” said Randy Shewmaker, welding instructor.

“Now, any and every student who would like to learn a skill or a trade, and/or go to college, can and does attend.

“That is the beauty of a career and technical center,” he added. “Students are provided with hands-on instruction in a career pathway that can lead them to a successful postsecondary avenue, whether it is the college level, the work force or the military. Every teacher and program at FCCTC also delivers instruction specifically focused on workplace skills, safety and health, communication and teamwork, and problem-solving skills. The students receive a well-rounded, career-oriented education with hands-on experience while attending the Career and Technical Center (CTC).” Continue Reading

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New, old turnaround models help Leslie County High do a 180

Education recovery leader Susan Brock, left, counselor Mary Feltner, center, and Educational Recovery Specialist BJ Martin meet with school leaders at Leslie County High School Jan. 5, 2011. Behind them, data walls help track student progress on assessment. Photo by Amy Wallot

Education recovery leader Susan Brock, left, counselor Mary Feltner, center, and Educational Recovery Specialist BJ Martin meet with school leaders at Leslie County High School Jan. 5, 2011. Behind them, data walls help track student progress on assessment. Photo by Amy Wallot

By Matthew Tungate
matthew.tungate@education.ky.gov

In the spring of 2010, Kentucky identified the first group of 10 persistently low-achieving schools to receive federal money and state help to improve after years of struggling to improve student test scores. For most of the state, it was the beginning of a new school-turnaround model. For 24-year veteran teacher Donna Asher, it was her livelihood.

“It was embarrassing,” the Leslie County High School mathematics teacher said. “It was implied that all our teachers were not doing their jobs, and this wasn’t true. We had about five who were not doing their jobs. I knew our students and staff were much better than what the test scores implied. We were capable of so much more. We just needed better leadership with a better focus on what’s most important: the best possible education for our students.”

But Asher has gone from embarrassed to appreciative after attending training over the summer for what was ahead of her and seeing those teachers leave the school.

“I was on board and wanted big changes in the school,” she said.

Big change is exactly what is expected from the persistently low-achieving schools and the new school-turnaround model, passed into law one year ago. District 180, as the model is known, provides money from federal School Improvement Grants (SIGs) and state-paid specialists for three years to help improve school performance. District 180 uses experienced teachers, called education recovery specialists (ERSs), to go into schools to help teachers improve mathematics and reading instruction. Continue Reading

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