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Input sought on application for federal waiver extension

The Kentucky Department of Education is seeking feedback on its request for a one-year extension of a federal waiver granting the state flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 – reauthorized in 2001 as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

The waiver, first granted in 2012, allows the state flexibility in determining Adequate Yearly Progress, implementing school improvement requirements, and allocation of federal funding among other things. It also has allowed Kentucky to operate with one comprehensive system of accountability for both state and federal purposes.

After Congress failed to reauthorize NCLB, which expired in 2007, the United States Department of Education (USED) provided relief from some specific requirements in exchange for rigorous and comprehensive state-developed plans designed to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction. Kentucky is among 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico approved for ESEA flexibility. Continue Reading

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Forward in the Fifth recognizes educators, others for advancing education

Forward in the Fifth’s 2014 Appalachian Leaders in Education (AppLE) Award recipients are, seated, front row, from left, Pike County Youth Leadership Council representatives Eashwar Soma, Tyler Syck, Mary Beth Hall, Alannah Little, Taryn Syck, and Dalton Hatfield; back row, from left, University of Pikeville President Dr. James Hurley; Allen Anderson, CEO of South Kentucky RECC; Pamela Branam, assistant director, Menifee County Adult Education; Dr. Joyce Bowling, teacher at Manchester Elementary School; Jim Tackett, executive director of Forward in the Fifth; Rosalind Stanley, public information officer and community education director for Pike County Youth Leadership Council; and Noel Crum, principal at Johnson Central High School. Photo submitted

Forward in the Fifth’s 2014 Appalachian Leaders in Education (AppLE) Award recipients are, seated, front row, from left, Pike County Youth Leadership Council representatives Eashwar Soma, Tyler Syck, Mary Beth Hall, Alannah Little, Taryn Syck, and Dalton Hatfield; back row, from left, University of Pikeville President Dr. James Hurley; Allen Anderson, CEO of South Kentucky RECC; Pamela Branam, assistant director, Menifee County Adult Education; Dr. Joyce Bowling, teacher at Manchester Elementary School; Jim Tackett, executive director of Forward in the Fifth; Rosalind Stanley, public information officer and community education director for Pike County Youth Leadership Council; and Noel Crum, principal at Johnson Central High School.
Photo submitted

Forward in the Fifth has selected six educators and two community and student-based organizations to receive the 2014 Appalachian Leaders in Education (AppLE) Awards for their efforts to advance education in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

The AppLE Awards celebrate excellence in education and recognize individuals and organizations that go above and beyond the call of duty to make a difference in the lives of students in the region.

Jim Tackett, executive director of Forward in the Fifth, announced this year’s AppLE Award recipients during Education Leadership Day on Wednesday, April 16, at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.

“The contributions highlighted today demonstrate the true commitment of our region at being the best it can be,” Tackett said.  “This year’s nominees, winners, and presenters have great vision and empower students and adults daily to make the most of education and always be life-long learners. All are doing important work and we salute them.”

The winners of the 2014 AppLE Awards and their respective award categories are: Continue Reading

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The Fund for Transforming Education makes grant money available to Kentucky educators

The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky (The Fund) has announced the Innovation Fund that will provide grants to teachers, administrators and others to encourage innovation in education.  Photo by Amy Wallot, Dec. 20, 2013

The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky (The Fund) has announced the Innovation Fund that will provide grants to teachers, administrators and others to encourage innovation in education.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Dec. 20, 2013

The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky has announced a new initiative to help Kentucky educators create a culture of innovation in the Commonwealth.

The Fund’s Innovation Initiative will include training, consulting and other supports; however the main component of the initiative will be the Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund will provide grants to public school teachers, administrators and others to encourage the investigation, testing and scaling innovative practices to improve results for all of Kentucky’s students.

“Kentucky is lucky to have some of the most creative and forward-thinking minds in the education arena, but often our educators find their creativity stifled by budgetary constraints,” said The Fund’s Executive Director Barbara Bellissimo. “Our goal with the development of this Innovation Fund is to not only provide the financial means necessary for teachers to implement new practices within their classrooms, but to help them find a way to do so on a larger scale – ultimately breathing new life into the way we educate our children.” Continue Reading

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Kentucky school named Green Ribbon winner

Wellington Elementary School in Fayette County is a recipient of the 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Award.

Acting Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Mike Boots and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made the announcement in Washington D.C. on Tuesday. In all, 48 schools were honored for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways.

The Kentucky Department of Education nominated Wellington Elementary for the award.

“This is a good example of how schools can not only cut costs, but also improve the health of their students and staff, and equip students with the lifelong skills they need to be good stewards of our environment,” said Education Commissioner Terry Holliday.

Wellington Elementary is designed to be one of the most energy efficient and sustainable schools in Fayette County and features photovoltaic solar panels, a rainwater capture and reuse system, a thermal hot water system, permeable pavers, a rain garden, automatic lighting controls, native landscaping, and an outdoor classroom. Wellington has previously been named a Kentucky Green and Healthy School and awarded the ENERGY STAR award. Wellington participates in the Kentucky National Energy Education Development Project, Education Leads to Understanding Sustainability, Energy and the Environment, Fayette County Sustainability, Farm to School, Safe Routes to School, and Waste Busters programs.

Wellington students and staff members collaborate to reduce energy consumption and solid waste, while improving air quality and efficiency in and around their school.  Wellington has a student and teacher-led sustainability team that monitors and holds their school accountable for its sustainability initiatives. They conduct an energy assessment annually, and implement a plan of action to reduce energy consumption where needed. Wellington has a comprehensive indoor air quality management program that is consistent with EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools.

Environmental and sustainability concepts are integrated throughout the curriculum and in classroom-based and schoolwide assessments. The entire 76,000 square foot facility is used as a learning laboratory and teaching tool. Students lead tours that focus on Wellington’s unique sustainability components.

Wellington has many green partners including the University of Kentucky (UK) Colleges of Engineering and Education, Polar Bears International, Bluegrass Greensource, UK Arboretum, Newton’s Attic, Environmental Engineers, Race to the Future, Kentucky Home Performance, Kentucky Utilities, Whole Foods, Good Foods Co-Op, Kentucky Division for Air Quality, and local police and fire departments. Alliance for a Healthier Generation partners with Wellington to provide assistance with the development and implementation of action plans and support for aligning school nutrition to help students and staff make healthier food choices. Wellington also participates in a Farm to School program to use local, fresh food and the district’s Connect the Dots program to help students make balanced choices in their school lunch meals.

Sustainability is an integral part of school culture at Wellington. The school community is committed to doing its part to protect the environment and teach its students and community about environmental and sustainability concepts.

More information on the Green Ribbon federal recognition award can be found here.  Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars in which the 2014 honorees are exemplary can be found here.

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Kentucky schools recognized for environmental efforts

Gov. Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear marked Earth Week in Kentucky this week by congratulating several schools for efforts in energy conservation. The Governor earlier proclaimed April 15-22, 2014, as Earth Week in Kentucky.

“We need our young leaders of today to be just as involved in Earth Day 2014 as their counterparts were in 1970 when we celebrated the first Earth Day,” Gov. Beshear said. “That’s why it is important to recognize the work that our students are doing in the classroom with programs like Green and Healthy Schools. Our students are becoming game changers and we should encourage them to continue.”

In ceremonies at the Kentucky Capitol on Tuesday, Mrs. Beshear recognized the following schools for their environmental related achievements, including:

  • Wellington Elementary, Fayette County – Wellington was recognized as a Green Ribbon school for ensuring its students are aware of how to help the environment and are dedicated to sustaining a “green” school. Wellington, one of Fayette Continue Reading

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Two elementary schools are National Title I Distinguished Schools

Two Kentucky schools have been recognized as part of the National Title I Association’s National Title I Distinguished Schools program.

Schools are chosen in two categories. Beechwood Elementary (Beechwood Ind.) is the state’s category 1 school, a school that has exceeded adequate yearly progress for two or more years. Cuba Elementary (Graves Co.) is the state’s category 2 school, a school that significantly closed the achievement gap between student groups.

The National Title I Association has been selecting examples of superior Title I school programs for national recognition through the National Title I Distinguished Schools program since 1996. Title I is a major component of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The program provides billions of dollars annually to fund supplementary education for the country’s most at-risk students. Continue Reading

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Board of education receives grant to advance work on assessments

The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) has awarded $11,500 to the Kentucky Board of Education to advance the state’s education reform work on Kentucky Core Academic Standards (English/language arts, mathematics and science) and Measures of Deeper Learning. Kentucky is one of only six state boards to receive a stipend award. The grant will support the board’s efforts through December.

Kentucky’s stipend will fund the exploration of new and innovative approaches to assessment and accountability that more authentically measure a student’s mastery of content as well as other non-cognitive “deeper learning” competencies like collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. The board’s efforts will inform implementation and lay the groundwork for future communications strategies and messaging around 21st-century assessments.

“The Kentucky Board of Education is grateful to NASBE for this funding,” Kentucky Board of Education Chair Roger Marcum said. “With implementation of new standards, it will allow the board to explore options for assessment including more Continue Reading

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Districts of Distinction recognized

The Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) and Kentucky Department of Education recognized three school districts as Districts of Distinction at the board’s meeting yestefrday.

The districts earned the recognition under the second year of the Unbridled Learning: College and Career Readiness for All accountability system. To qualify as a District of Distinction, a district had to have an overall accountability score at the 95th percentile or higher (based on achievement, gap, growth, college and career readiness and graduation rate), meet its current year Annual Measurable Objective, a 95 percent participation rate, and not have a Focus or Priority School in the district. The achievement data is based on K-PREP testing in spring 2013.

The Districts of Distinction for the 2012-13 school year are:

• Russell Independent
• Science Hill Independent Continue Reading

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Grissom Award goes to multiple winners

Kentucky Board of Education Chairman Roger Marcum, left, and Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday, right, present Tim Schlosser and the Franklin-Simpson High School Student Support Team with the Dr. Johnnie Grissom Award in Frankfort, Ky. Photo by Amy Wallot, April 9, 2014

Kentucky Board of Education Chairman Roger Marcum, left, and Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday, right, present Tim Schlosser and the Franklin-Simpson High School Student Support Team with the Dr. Johnnie Grissom Award in Frankfort, Ky.
Photo by Amy Wallot, April 9, 2014

The Kentucky Board of Education presented the fifth annual  Dr. Johnnie Grissom Award to Jefferson County Chief Academic Officer Dr. Dewey Hensley, Franklin-Simpson High School Principal Tim Schlosser and the Student Support Team at Franklin-Simpson High School this week.

The award recognizes those who exhibit leadership, commitment and service to promote high student achievement through instructional equity and in closing the achievement gap for all children.

Hensley was nominated by Dr. Christine Sherretz, Instructional Systems Specialist with the Fort Knox Schools.

“Dr. Hensley is motivated by one thing – always doing what is best for students,” she noted in her nomination letter. “He has a tireless work ethic, exceptional instincts, timeless wisdom and a relentless sense of urgency to ensure that all students in Kentucky achieve.”

Throughout his career in education, Hensley has served as a school principal, associate commissioner at the Kentucky Continue Reading

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New website features more than 3,000 Common Core lessons

Kentucky teachers are contributing to a unique and worthwhile national initiative that shares more than 3,000 Common Core lessons with educators.

Teachers in the state are strongly encouraged to use this valuable resource that features classroom-ready lessons built entirely for the Kentucky Core Academic Standards (KCAS), which includes the Next-Generation Science Standards.

The National Education Association (NEA) and BetterLesson launched the cc.betterlesson.com/mtp website in January.

Also featured are insights and tips from more than 130 Master Teachers who represent every K-12 grade level for mathematics and English/language arts and literacy. Master Teachers will share:

  • the “how” and the “why” of their effective practice, narrating their enactment of each section of a lesson
  • videos of particular instructional strategies
  • thoughts on their implementation of the new standards Continue Reading

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