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Grants available for districts that raised attendance age

The check will be in the mail soon for 53 Kentucky school districts that have raised the compulsory school age from 16 to 18 in the past year.

The Kentucky Department of Education is making $10,000 grants available to the school districts to create programs to identify, intervene and prevent students from dropping out of school and plan for implementation of the new policy in the 2015-16 school year, which is the first year that the policy can be fully implemented. The department made similar grants last year to the first group of districts to raise the dropout age.  No application or additional paperwork is necessary.

In 2013, at the urging of Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear, the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved Senate Bill 97, also known as the Graduate Kentucky bill, which cleared the way for districts to raise the compulsory school age from 16 to 18. Under the statute, once 96 districts, 55 percent of the 173 school districts in the state, approved the change, the rest would have to follow suit. This requirement was met just two weeks after the law took effect and as a result, starting in 2017-18, all Kentucky districts will be required to keep students in school until they turn 18 or graduate. Continue Reading

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Beshear reappoints members of Kentucky Board of Education

Gov. Steve Beshear announced this week he has reappointed  six members of the Kentucky Board of Education.

Appointed to new terms that will expire April 14, 2018 are:

· Roger L. Marcum of Bardstown, a retired educator; Marcum is the current KBE chairman

· Jonathan V. Parrent of Princeton, dean of student affairs at Madisonville Community College; Parrent was elected vice chairman of the board in  June

· William L. Twyman for Cave City, a former educator and current consultant

· Nawanna B. Privett of Lexington, an education consultant

· Grayson R. Boyd of Williamsport, a retired educator

· Mary Gwen Wheeler of Louisville, director of an education partnership

Two seats on the state board still await appointment action by the governor. Former KBE vice chairperson Brigitte Blom Ramsey stepped down May 1 to join the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, while Judy Gibbons announced in March that she would not be seeking appointment to a third term. Continue Reading

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Districts adopted compulsory attendance policies rises to 149

The number of school districts that have adopted policies raising the compulsory attendance age to 18 per the requirements of Senate Bill 97 are now at 149 out of 173.

Previously, the Kentucky Department of Education was able to provide $10,000 planning grants to the first 96 districts adopting such policies, in order to help them create programs to identify, intervene and prevent students from dropping out of school.

KDE has announced it will offer $10,000 planning grants to the remaining 53 districts that have passed this policy. These grants are in the process of being released over the next few weeks. In addition, KDE continues to strongly encourage the remaining 24 districts to adopt compulsory attendance policies. The department also will explore opportunities to provide planning grants to these remaining districts in the future.

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64 Community Early Childhood Councils receive funds to support readiness

Gov. Steve Beshear this week announced more than $1 million in grants to be awarded to 64 Community Early Childhood Councils (CECCs) covering 88 Kentucky counties to promote school readiness for children. The announcement is part of the Governor’s continued commitment to improving early childhood outcomes for Kentucky’s youngest citizens.

“It is imperative to the future of Kentucky that our children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn and succeed,” Gov. Beshear said. “That is why we must engage everyone, from lawmakers to families, in making sure all children in the Commonwealth get the best possible start in life.”

CECCs work to develop community-level strategies for improving school readiness and early childhood outcomes. These councils are comprised of community volunteers from local school districts, public health departments, child care providers, Head Start, local libraries, parents and interest groups.

The grants, awarded through the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood (KYGOEC), range from $5,000 to $50,000 per county. The KYGOEC and the Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC), both created by Gov. Beshear in 2011, work closely with CECCs across the Commonwealth to ensure a strong start for Kentucky’s children. Continue Reading

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Summer Food Service Program kicks off

Marquaniesha Boyd, a 5th-grade student at Wellington Elementary School (Fayette County), enjoys lunch during the Summer Food Service Program kickoff at Castlewood Park in Lexington. Photo by Amy Wallot, June 11, 2014

Marquaniesha Boyd, a 5th-grade student at Wellington Elementary School (Fayette County), enjoys lunch during the Summer Food Service Program kickoff at Castlewood Park in Lexington.
Photo by Amy Wallot, June 11, 2014

The Kentucky Summer Food Service Program is open for business.

At a kickoff event in Lexington yesterday, Kentucky’s First Lady told a crowd that the program is making a difference for children in Kentucky.

“During the school year more than a half-million Kentucky students eat breakfast, lunch or both meals at school – often for free or at a reduced price,” said First Lady Jane Beshear. “They count on these meals to keep their stomachs full and their minds active, but during the summer months many students are at risk of going undernourished. The Summer Food Service Program provides meals so that many of these children will not go hungry.”

This summer, 1,600 sites across 105 Kentucky counties will provide more than 2 million breakfasts, lunches and snacks to more than 20,000 of Kentucky’s neediest children as part of the program. Children 18 years old and younger are eligible for the free, nutritious meals.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who also spoke at the kickoff event, was quick to praise the businesses, schools, local government agencies, churches and community organizations that sponsor feeding sites in support of the Summer Food Service Program in Kentucky.

“Local partners are joining forces to build on the federal Summer Food Service Program,” Gray said. “Our goal is simple: make sure children have enough to eat this summer.” Continue Reading

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2014 Joint ISLN/KLA Summer Meeting scheduled

Educators from across the state will share expertise and learn together at the 2014 Joint Instructional Support Leadership Network (ISLN)/Kentucky Leadership Academy (KLA) Summer Meeting, June 26-27 in Lexington.

On June 26, educators will hear engaging and relevant TED Talks and participate in concurrent sessions focused on effective teaching, learning and leadership strategies from Kentucky educators.

June 27 will be an optional day with facilitated work sessions around issues critical to Kentucky districts and schools. Be sure to identify topics you would like to work on when you register.

Registration is free and open to any educator (P-16) in the state on a first come, first served basis.

Ideally, all leadership network participants – teacher, school and district leaders – should attend. Sessions will feature Kentucky educators. There is no registration fee, but all travel related expenses are the participants’ responsibility.

EILA Credit will be awarded.

The opening session on June 26 will be from 8:30 a.m. ET to 5 p.m., and on June 27, the session will last 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Visit the website below to see the matrix of presentations and to register.

Register by June 13 at the conference website: www.kypromiseccr.com/

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Board sets course for students’ global competency

Division Director Karen Kidwell and Associate Commissioner Amanda Ellis speak to the Kentucky Board of Education about the World Language Program Review.

Division Director Karen Kidwell and Associate Commissioner Amanda Ellis speak to the Kentucky Board of Education about the World Language Program Review.
Photo by Amy Wallot, June 4, 2014

At its meeting yesterday, the Kentucky Board of Education voted to move ahead with implementation of the World Language Program Review at the high school level in the 2014-15, with accountability in the 2015-16 school year.

Elementary and middle schools would start the planning needed to implement a world language and global competency program. Those schools would be held accountable for the World Language Program Review in 2016-17.

Board member David Karem said the state first started talking about this issue more than a quarter century ago when Toyota opened a plant in Kentucky.

“We can’t delay any longer. It’s time to move forward,” he said.

Karem said a recent report indicated that 96 percent of all markets for Kentucky trade will be outside of the United States.

“It is imperative that our students not only know how to speak another language but also understand various cultures,” Karem said.

Commissioner Terry Holliday told the board he will seek the development of a statement in support of global competency for Kentucky from workforce development, economic development and education agencies in the state.  Holliday also announced $200,000 in grants for which schools and districts can apply to Continue Reading

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PGES webpages offer a wealth of information for Kentucky teachers

With full implementation of the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES) just around the corner, teachers are interested in learning more about the new effectiveness system.

One place to learn more is the PGES webpages on KDE’s website. PGESlogo KDE has recently reorganized these pages to provide a streamlined experience.

The PGES main page contains links to many pages that provide an overview of the PGES system as well as the Teacher Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (TPGES), Other Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (OPGES) and more.

Each page has information about important aspects of PGES, such as Student Growth, Self-Reflection and Professional Growth Planning, Observation, and Student Voice. The new structure enables teachers to easily navigate the site and find the information that is important to them.

The PGES main page is accessible using the PGES logo link to the left of this article. It also can be accessed via the logo on the right side of the KDE homepage or through the Teachers/Leaders drop down menu on the KDE Homepage.

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Two selected for Joseph W. Kelly Award

Darrell Higginbotham, center, with Daviess County Schools Assistant Superintendent Matt Robbins and Superintendent Owens Saylor after being present the Joseph W. Kelly Award by the Kentucky Board of Education. Photo by Amy Wallot, June 4, 2014

Darrell Higginbotham, center, with Daviess County Schools Assistant Superintendent Matt Robbins and Superintendent Owens Saylor after being present the Joseph W. Kelly Award by the Kentucky Board of Education.
Photo by Amy Wallot, June 4, 2014

At its meeting yesterday, the Kentucky Board of Education presented the 14th annual Joseph W. Kelly Award to two business leaders who are actively engaged in making a difference in their local schools. Darrell Higginbotham, president of Independence Bank in Owensboro, and Mark Shirkness, the general manager of General Electric (GE) Appliances Distribution Services in Louisville, were both on hand to receive their awards.

“Kentucky is fortunate to have the involvement of the business community in P-12 public education,” Kentucky Board of Education Chair Roger Marcum said. “The support provided, as evidenced by these two individuals, is invaluable in helping Kentucky reach its educational goals.”

The Kelly Award is given to businesspeople who offer outstanding leadership and service toward promoting school improvement and equitable educational opportunities for all Kentucky children.

In his nomination letter, Daviess County Superintendent Owens Saylor and Assistant Superintendent Matt Robbins wrote of Higginbotham’s involvement as a charter member of the Foundation for Daviess Co. Public Schools, “His vision and contributions have guided the Foundation in attaining and allocating resources to enhance learning opportunities for students and our community. Darrell has worked tirelessly to solicit funds for the many projects sponsored by the Foundation, always with the belief that quality education is the best investment we can make in our children and their future.” Continue Reading

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Fresh fruit and vegetable program grant opportunity

In an effort to increase elementary school children’s consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, expose them to new fruits and vegetables, improve healthy eating habits and help elementary schools create healthier school food environments, the Kentucky Department of Education is now accepting grant applications for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP).

The program provides funding for schools to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables to serve to students. More than $2.9 million is available to Kentucky through the federal program for the grant period of July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. At a minimum of $50 per student over the course of the year, approximately 58,000 students can be served through the program.

Eligible elementary schools may fill out grant applications to receive program funding. The level of funding provided to any one school depends on the enrollment of the school. Multiple schools from the same district may apply, although not all are guaranteed to be chosen.

A small percentage of operating funds may be used for expenses such as the preparation and distribution of the fruits and vegetables. Ten percent of the total grant award may be used for administrative expenses. The project should be structured so that maximum benefits go directly to children.
The grant application deadline is June 23. The deadline for questions and answers is June 9. Grants will be awarded this summer for use in the 2014-15 school year. Continue Reading

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