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9 schools, district recognized for best practices

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) recognized nine schools and one district for best practices during the second annual Continuous Improvement Summit on Tuesday.

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday presented each winner with a $500 check that can be used toward school improvement.

“We have some terrific work going on in our schools and districts,” Holliday said. “Their efforts to create innovative new frameworks for advancing student performance, improving learning conditions, or enhancing organizational effectiveness are commendable. We appreciate their initiative and commitment to continuous improvement, and hope others can learn from it.”

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Fake invoice scam targets schools

Attorney General Jack Conway, the Kentucky Department of Education and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) are joining together to warn Kentucky school districts to be vigilant of a scam targeting schools throughout the country.

“Schools are receiving invoices for textbooks they didn’t order,” Conway said.  “It’s troubling that scammers are preying on schools and attempting to steal taxpayer money used to pay for the resources needed to help educate our children.  We want every school in Kentucky to be aware of these fraudulent invoices so that they can quickly identify and report them.”

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24 win Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Awards

The Kentucky Department of Education and Ashland Inc. have selected 24 outstanding Kentucky educators as recipients of the 2015 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Awards (TAA). These teachers qualify to compete for the 2015 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced next month.

The 24 winning teachers, listed by school and school district, are:

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New board members share thoughts on Ky. education

New Kentucky Board of Education members Debra Cook and Samuel Hinkle were sworn in by Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd during the board's annual retreat in Frankfort.  Photo by Amy Wallot, Aug. 6, 2014

New Kentucky Board of Education members Debra Cook and Samuel Hinkle were sworn in by Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd during the board’s annual retreat in Frankfort.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Aug. 6, 2014

The two newest members of the Kentucky Board of Education, Samuel D. Hinkle IV and Debra L. Cook, were sworn in last month. We asked for their thoughts on education in Kentucky and what they hope to achieve as board members.Their responses follow.

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3 Kentucky districts get federal counseling grants

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) has awarded grants to three Kentucky school districts to support counseling programs in elementary and secondary schools.

More than $14.7 million was awarded  to 40 school districts in 20 states, USED announced Thursday.

Campbell County was the only district in the nation to receive two grants, which totaled $722, 261. Erlanger-Elsmere Independent will get $397, 480, and Woodford County schools will receive $343,941.

The new awards will aid schools in hiring qualified mental-health professionals with the goal of expanding the range, availability, quantity and quality of counseling services.

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Prichard: ‘Hard push’ needed to reach 2020 goal

Moving Kentucky into the top tier of states in key areas of education by 2020 will require a hard push for improvement in the next six years, according to a new report from the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

The 2014 update of the Committee’s “Top 20 by 2020” found Kentucky’s performance in six categories to be on track to reach the goal. These include reading scores, Advanced Placement credits and teacher salaries.

But other indicators show reason for concern. The report noted that Kentucky lost ground in the math achievement of eighth-grade students and the share of higher education costs that families must pay. The state’s performance also showed no net improvement in total higher education funding or bachelor’s degrees earned in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) — where the state ranks 44th.

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Register now for the KASC annual conference

The annual Kentucky Association of School Councils (KASC) conference brings together teachers, parents and school administrators from across the state to focus on what’s working in Kentucky schools. Please join us Sept. 16-17 at the Galt House in Louisville for the 2014 fall conference, Shared Leadership: Connect, Engage and Achieve.

EILA conference credit is available.

Speaking at the Sept. 16 general session is Dr. Michael Corso, chief academic officer for the Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations in Portland, Maine. Other sessions include Coding for Students, the Leader in Me, Student Voice/Initiatives, High Performing Schools, Impressive Improvement Schools, SBDM and more.

The pre-conference will be Sept. 15. There are new times for pre-conference sessions as follows: Teacher PGES Implementation Tools (noon-3 p.m.) and, for principals only, SBDM for Effective Principal Leadership (3-5:30 p.m.; not for SBDM credit).

The conference will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 15 with Assessment Updates from the Kentucky Department of Education. For more information on the conference, check out the KASC conference page. To register, click here. To download a registration form, click here.

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Public comment sought on Kentucky Core Academic Standards

Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday announces the Kentucky Core Academic Standards Challenge during a press conference at Woodford County High School. Photo by Amy Wallot, Aug. 25, 2014

Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday announces the Kentucky Core Academic Standards Challenge during a press conference at Woodford County High School.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Aug. 25, 2014

On Monday the Kentucky Department of Education, in cooperation with education advocacy groups across the state, kicked off the Kentucky Core Academic Standards Challenge, a process for collecting feedback on the English/language arts and mathematics standards implemented in 2011.

The standards represent what K-12 public school students should know and be able to do at each grade level.

“We hear a lot about the standards, but rarely hear specifics on how they could be made better,” Commissioner Terry Holliday said. “We are conducting the Kentucky Core Academic Standards Challenge to raise awareness of what the standards actually require students to learn and to solicit specific feedback in order to inform the Kentucky Department of Education’s regular review process of the standards that are being taught in our classrooms.” Continue Reading

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Kentucky students narrow national ACT gap

Kentucky public high school graduates turned in another strong performance on the ACT college-entrance exam, making significant gains over the past five years. While Kentucky public school graduates still trail those nationwide, the performance gap is narrowing.

From 2010 to 2014, Kentucky public school students registered from a half-point to more than a full-point gain in every subject and nearly a one-point improvement in the overall composite score – up to 19.9 on a 36-point scale.  At the same time, student performance nationally stayed nearly unchanged. The national composite is 21.1, up only one-tenth of a point from 2010.

“This is validation that we are on the right track and that Senate Bill 1 is accomplishing what was intended,” said Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “Our teachers have embraced more rigorous standards and our students are rising to the challenge. Both should be proud of what they have accomplished.”

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Beshear adds members to 2 education councils

Gov. Steve Beshear has made appointments to two education-related boards.

The governor appointed nine new members to the School Curriculum, Assessment and Accountability Council (SCAAC). The 17-member council advises the Kentucky Board of Education on the design of the testing and accountability system.

​The new members are:

  • Shannon Treece, of New Castle, is principal at Eminence Middle and High School. She represents principals.
  • Anthony Orr, of Bardstown, is superintendent of Nelson County Schools. He represents superintendents.

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