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Holliday urges a state-led, systematic approach to ESEA reauthorization

Terry Holliday

Terry Holliday

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday this week urged Congress to reauthorize the law governing public education in the United States by providing for a state-led, systemic approach that supports teachers and leaders.

Holliday appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) at a hearing titled “Fixing No Child Left Behind: Supporting Teachers and Leaders.”

Congress is considering reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the latest iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. The law was due for reauthorization in 2007.

In his testimony today, Commissioner Holliday said the success of public education is directly related to the quality of teachers in every classroom and leaders in every building. To adequately address teacher and leader development, Holliday said, a systemic approach is needed.

“We cannot look at trying to ‘fix’ one part of the system without looking at addressing the entire system. This means we must address teacher and leader preparation programs, recruitment of teachers and leaders into the profession, professional development, evaluation, retention and working conditions.”  Continue Reading

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Half of incoming kindergartners are ready for school

Gov. Steve Beshear announced Wednesday that 50 percent of students who started kindergarten this school year were ready to learn and succeed. That is up from 49 percent last year. Despite the gain, about 24,500 students entered kindergarten unprepared.

“While we are moving in the right direction, this data reinforces the importance of quality early learning opportunities for all children,” Beshear said. “Our youngest learners must start out with a sound foundation on which to build. When they don’t, they often struggle to catch up with their peers only to graduate unprepared for college, career or to be a productive member of society.”

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JCPS principal wins Milken Educator Award

Allyson Vitato, principal at Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary School (Jefferson County), celebrates being awarded the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award during a surprise assembly at her school. At right is Milken Education Awards senior vice president Jane Foley. Photo by Amy Wallot, Jan. 15,2015

Allyson Vitato, principal at Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary School (Jefferson County), celebrates receiving the Milken Educator Award during a surprise assembly at her school. At right is Milken Education Awards senior vice president Jane Foley.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Jan. 15, 2015

Allyson Vitato, principal at Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary School in the Jefferson County public school district, is Kentucky’s newest recipient of the Milken Educator Award and $25,000.

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday, Jefferson County Superintendent Donna Hargens, Milken Educator Awards senior vice president Dr. Jane Foley and other dignitaries surprised Vitato with the award Thursday during an all-school assembly.

“This award brings attention to our most valuable educational resource – our hard-working, dedicated educators,” Holliday said. “The work is not always easy. There are challenges every day. But we value and appreciate Kentucky educators who are focused on ensuring all of our students meet high expectations and graduate from high school college/career-ready.”

Vitato joined the school district in 2002 and began her tenure as Breckinridge-Franklin’s principal in 2010. She has served as a middle school assistant principal, a resource teacher and an exceptional child education teacher.

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200 Ky. teachers gain National Board Certification

Two hundred more Kentucky teachers have achieved National Board Certification, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) has announced, bring the state closer to its legislative goal of having at least one National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) in every public school.

With 3,181 NBCTs overall, Kentucky ranks ninth in the nation, and only five states have more new NBCTs this year. (Click here for a list of the new NBCTs.)

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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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