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Two are honored with Dr. Samuel Robinson Award

Cindy Heine and Henry Webb, winners of  the Dr. Samuel Robinson Award. Photo by Amy Wallot, Dec. 3, 2014

Cindy Heine and Henry Webb, winners of the Dr. Samuel Robinson Award.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Dec. 3, 2014

The Kentucky Board of Education on Wednesday presented the annual Dr. Samuel Robinson Award to co-winners – Cindy Heine, retired associate executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, and Henry Webb, superintendent of Floyd Co. Schools.

Since 2004, the Dr. Samuel Robinson Award has been conferred on individuals or groups in Kentucky for outstanding leadership, commitment and service in promoting equity and opportunity to learn at high levels for all Kentucky students.

In Heine’s nomination letter, Prichard Committee Executive Director Stu Silberman and Associate Executive Director Brigitte Blom Ramsey wrote of her involvement with education: “For more than 30 years, Cindy followed the public discussion, studied the issues and engaged other parents and community members; all in support of the unfaltering belief that all children can learn at high levels.”

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Board backs action to fully fund teacher pension system

Beau Barnes, executive director of the Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System, and Associate Commissioner Hiren Desai update the Kentucky Board of Education on funding of the KTRS pension fund.  Photo by Amy Wallot, Dec. 3, 2014

Beau Barnes, deputy executive secretary of the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System, and Associate Commissioner Hiren Desai update the Kentucky Board of Education on the KTRS pension fund.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Dec. 3, 2014

The Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) passed a resolution Wednesday encouraging the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System (KTRS) to work with the governor and General Assembly to develop solutions to fully finance the teacher pension fund.

According to KTRS Deputy Executive Secretary Beau Barnes, the fund has only 51.9 percent of the money it needs to pay current and future benefits for its 149,000 members, who are not eligible to participate in Social Security. The unfunded pension liability is $13.9 billion and growing at 7.5 percent a year. The shortfall has resulted from the legislature’s inability to fund the annual employer-required contribution and an overall flat market performance in recent years. Barnes said the fund that pays medical benefits also is underfunded.

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Franklin County librarian wins national honor

Jessica Holmes

Jessica Holmes

Jessica Elaine Holmes, a librarian at Westridge Elementary School (Franklin County), has received the Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award for outstanding public service to the community and ongoing commitment to changing lives through education.

Holmes was one of 10 librarians nationwide to receive the award this year. She received a $5,000 prize at an award ceremony and reception Tuesday in New York.

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States announce actions to foster career readiness

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) on Monday released a series of actions states are taking to close the skills gap and make sure more students graduate from high school prepared for successful careers. Forty-two states, including Kentucky, and the District of Columbia already have signed on to implement these recommendations.

The recommended actions in the Opportunities and Options: Making Career Preparation Work for Students report, produced by CCSSO’s Career Readiness Task Force, seek to elevate career readiness programs in K-12 public schools.

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Simpson County’s Flynn named top superintendent

Jim Flynn

Jim Flynn

James Flynn, superintendent of Simpson County Schools, has been selected as the 2015 Kentucky Superintendent of the Year by the Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA).

Flynn was presented with the award Nov. 21 in a surprise ceremony at Franklin-Simpson High School that included faculty, staff, school board members and KASA staff members. He will now compete for the National Superintendent of the Year Award, to be given by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) in February, and he will also participate in the AASA’s National Conference on Education in February.

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Public relations group honors KDE Chief of Staff Floyd

Tommy Floyd

Tommy Floyd

Kentucky Department of Education Chief of Staff Tommy Floyd has received the Richard Thornton Award from the Kentucky School Public Relations Association (KYSPRA).

Floyd was presented the award at the organization’s annual conference Nov. 14.

Floyd was named to the newly created position about a year and a half ago, after 5½ years as superintendent of the Madison County schools. Earlier, he was Madison’s interim superintendent and chief academic officer for two years.

During his tenure in Madison County, he helped launch a number of initiatives, including a Middle College program; transitional mathematics and reading courses based on ACT benchmarks for college readiness; and the Positive Approach to Student Suspensions, which decreased suspensions in the district by 34 percent.

Earlier, Floyd worked in the Wayne County, Montgomery County and Somerset Independent school districts, and at the Kentucky Department of Education, where he was a Highly Skilled Educator. He has been a teacher, a coach, an assistant principal, a principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent.

His recognitions include the Kentucky Association of School Administrators’ Administrator of the Year, the Kentucky School Boards Association’s Kids First Advocacy Award and the national Reading Recovery Teacher Leader Award.

KYSPRA created the Richard Thornton Award in 2001 to honor the contributions to public education made by Thornton, a longtime KYSPRA member and past president of the National School Public Relations Association. It is presented to an individual or organization for exceptional leadership and dedication to public education in Kentucky.

 

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Governor, first lady honored for dropout prevention work

Gov. Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear this week received the National Dropout Prevention Network’s 2014 Crystal Star Award for Distinguished Leadership and Service.

“Governor Beshear and the first lady have demonstrated their commitment to education by championing programs and legislation designed to ensure that students throughout the state not only graduate high school but are college- and career-ready,” said Elizabeth Reynolds, the network’s executive director. “Their example is certainly one to emulate and we are pleased to recognize their leadership in dropout prevention with the Crystal Star Award.”

The Beshears received the award Tuesday during the organization’s national conference in Louisville. The award is presented annually to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated their commitment to education and to bettering the lives of others.

Beshear and the first lady – a former teacher – worked with the General Assembly in 2013 to introduce, pass and implement Senate Bill 97, also known as the Graduate Kentucky Bill. The legislation increases the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18. SB 97 stated that implementation would be voluntary until 55 percent — or 96 — of the state’s school districts adopted the policy. As of this week, 160 of the state’s 173 school districts had amended their attendance policies from 16 to 18. The remainder of Kentucky’s school districts must adopt and implement the standard no later than the 2017-18 school year.

“Keeping students enrolled in school is just the first step,” said Gov. Beshear. “We must also keep them engaged and on the path to graduation and success in college, career and life. Preventing dropouts strengthens our economy and workforce, and improves the standard of living for every citizen.”

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Feedback sought on proposed social studies, arts and humanities standards

The Kentucky Department of Education is seeking feedback on proposed social studies and arts and humanities standards.

Senate Bill 1 (2009) calls for Kentucky to revise all standards so they are aligned with the latest research, informed by national efforts, internationally comparable and focused on the critical thinking and practices students need for success in the 21st century. Though both sets of standards have met those criteria and have involved Kentucky educators, the department is seeking broader feedback to inform next drafts/steps in the process of adoption into Kentucky’s required academic standards.

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Nominations sought for Dr. Samuel Robinson Award

Dr. Samuel Robinson served on the Kentucky Board of Education from 1991 until 2004 and provided magnificent commitment, service and leadership as an advocate for all children. As his colleagues, board members know firsthand of his passion for equity and opportunity in education.

The Kentucky Board of Education is proud to announce the 11th annual Dr. Samuel Robinson Award. This award will be given to a Kentuckian or a Kentucky organization that has exhibited leadership, commitment and service to equity and opportunity in education for all Kentucky children.

Nomination(s) can be made by clicking here. Because nominations may come from both organizations and individuals, additional copies of the form may be made and distributed throughout your membership/board. Notice that in addition to completing the nomination form, a brief narrative of 500 words or less describing how the person or organization has exhibited leadership, commitment and service to equity and opportunity in education for all Kentucky children at the school, community and/or state levels must be submitted to the board chair in care of Mary Ann Miller by Nov. 12.

If there are questions about the nomination process, contact Mary Ann Miller at (502) 564-3141, ext. 4840 or via email.

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Kentucky lauded for college readiness policies

Kentucky is among the top states in the country when it comes to policies that promote college readiness and success among its students, according to a report released Wednesday by the Education Commission of the States (ECS).

The Blueprint for College Readiness features the first-of-its-kind analysis of the top 10 K-12 and higher education policies in the following areas:

  • High school: College readiness standards, college readiness assessments, graduation requirements and accountability
  • Higher education: Statewide admission standards, statewide remedial and placement policies, transfer and accountability
  • Bridge: Statewide college and career readiness definition, and a data pipeline and process for reporting

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