Superintendent’s Spotlight: Steve Martin, Middlesboro Independent

Steve Martin
Steve Martin

The past three years have been a time of rebuilding the pride and tradition of the Middlesboro Independent school district. The district has promoted building a positive cultural environment that is dedicated to the success of our student body. With the vision of “Everyone Matters,” students, staff members and community residents have become stakeholders in putting the district’s children first.

Middlesboro Independent has focused on three areas in creating a cultural revolution. First, the district has been challenged to reduce spending. With a reduction of funding in state and federal programs, the district found ways to reduce spending on energy, staffing and transportation with the savings being used to meet the educational needs of students.

The next initiative was making the schools an inviting and safe place to work and learn. This has been a strong priority of the district’s leadership. A new facilities plan was completed and schools are receiving a much-needed face lift of 50 year-old buildings with modern features that promote an improved learning environment.

Finally, there has been an effort to fund initiatives to increase student achievement. In the past two years, the district has participated in the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative’s Appalachian Renaissance Initiative. This grant provided professional learning opportunities for staff and 21st-century technology that aided in the improvement of student academic success. Programs, including the district’s Born Learning Academy, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, the Appalachian Reading Foundation, The Leader in Me, GEAR UP Kentucky and Project Lead the Way, have given students opportunities for academic growth and a head start in school-, college- and career-readiness.

Through the development of the “Boro School,” in cooperation with Southeast Kentucky Community and Technological College, students may graduate from Middlesboro High School with an associate degree. The 2016 graduating class was the first to have students graduate with a college degree in conjunction with a diploma. Through efforts of students, staff and the community, the district, including each school, also received AdvancED accreditation this past year.

With a resurgence of pride and tradition, groups such as the Alumni and Friends Association and the Middlesboro Independent Education Foundation are working with Middlesboro Independent to support students and a cultural change. Students, community leaders, parents, Middlesboro Independent Board of Education members and district staff have been the key to the district’s ability to motivate and inspire student success.

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