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Public input sought on draft high school arts standards

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS), the group spearheading new arts standards, will conduct a public review of substantive portions of the draft high school national core arts standards for dance, media arts, music, theatre and visual arts through October 21. Everyone with an interest is welcome to participate.

In Kentucky, Senate Bill 1 (2009) called for new standards in all content areas including arts and humanities.

The public review of the draft PreK-8 standards was completed this past summer, with more than 3,000 arts administrators, parents, educators, teaching artists, and community arts providers reviewing the work.

The public is invited to an online “town hall” style meeting and streaming live “chat” from 5-6 p.m. ET on October 1 that will include an update on the standards project and a summary of the data collected from the

PreK-8 review. Details on joining the meeting are available on the NCCAS wikispaces page.

NCCAS is the coalition of national arts and education organizations and media arts representatives that are developing the 2014 National Core Arts Standards. The new, voluntary grade-by-grade web-based standards are intended to affirm the place of arts education in a balanced core curriculum, support the 21st-century needs of students and teachers, and help ensure that all students are Continue Reading

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Best Practice schools and districts recognized

The Kentucky Department of Education has recognized 11 schools and districts for identifying and sharing best practices through the department’s Best Practices website.

During the Continuous Improvement Summit in Louisville this week, each school or district was publicly recognized and awarded a $500 check that can be used toward school improvement.

“We have some terrific work going on in our schools and districts,” said Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “The Best Practice website is a way to share work that not only recognizes those engaged in it, but also allows others in the state to learn from it and improve their practice in support of student learning and college/career-readiness for all our students.”

Those schools, districts and initiatives recognized are:

Bardstown City Schools — “Utilizing a Rewards Program to Capitalize on Common District Expenditures”

  • This practice involves using a credit card rewards program to earn points to be used to purchase items or cash donations to the non-profit Bardstown Foundation for Excellence in Public Education.
  • To date, this best practice has generated in excess of $12,000.

Butler County Public Schools — “Energy Management”

  • This practice uses Energy Performance Contracts to reduce utility costs. Continue Reading

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24 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Award winners named

The Kentucky Department of Education and Ashland Inc. have selected 24 outstanding Kentucky educators as recipients of the 2014 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Awards (TAA). These teachers qualify to compete for the 2014 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced next month.

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

Bracken County Robin Rath-Fultz, Taylor Elementary

Carter County – Beverly McDavid, West Carter Middle

Elizabethtown Independent – Derisa Hindle, Talton K. Stone Middle

Fayette County – Cynthia L. Brown, Lexington Traditional Magnet

Fayette County – Scot A. Gill, Tates Creek High

Fayette County – Melanie Trowel, Carter G. Woodson Academy

Fayette County – Catherine Vannatter, Bryan Station High Continue Reading

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Five schools chosen as Blue Ribbon Schools

The U. S. Department of Education (USED) has named five Kentucky public schools as 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools, based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in improving student academic achievement.

The five Kentucky schools are:

  • Auburn Elementary, Logan County
  • Beechwood High School, Beechwood Ind.
  • Glendover Elementary, Fayette County
  • Mann Elementary, Boone County
  • Star Elementary, Carter County

The Kentucky schools are among the 286 public and private, elementary, middle and high schools across the country recognized this year.  There were no private schools in Kentucky named as part of the 2013 cohort of Blue Ribbon Schools. Continue Reading

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KDE Media Portal provides easy access to video content

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has introduced the KDE Media Portal (

It provides school administrators, teachers, KDE staff and others throughout the state access to a single, central repository for all of the

agency’s video content. Users will no longer need to search multiple locations for KDE videos.

Users should find it easy to locate all videos; they are grouped in categories and searchable by tag words. Among the regular video features available are recordings of the Kentucky Board of Education meetings, superintendent webcasts and webcasts on the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES). A number of other webcasts, information and training videos are also available.

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Social studies field trip opportunity

Fort Boonesborough will have a special school day this season on Sept. 20,  preceding the weekend reenactment of the 1778 Siege of Boonesborough.

Students will tour the fort, and visit camps of re-enactors who portray settlers, hunters, scouts, Native Americans, and others.  The current plan based on availability of participants, is to have a reenactment of the Siege at 11:30 a. m. for school groups.

Regular group admission rates apply, as there will be no additional charge for School Day.  Rates are $3.00 per student; all teachers and bus drivers are free. Any additional adults are $6.00 each at the group rate.

Space will be limited, so please schedule your classes as soon as possible. For more information, or to schedule your students, please call 859-527-3131 x 216

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Two Priority Schools recognized as hubs for improvement

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has recognized two Priority Schools for their work in improving student learning and building core processes that can sustain the improvement.

Based on data, monitoring visits, and monitoring tools, KDE designated Franklin-Simpson High School and Pulaski County High School as Hub Schools. The schools had been among the lowest-performing schools in the state.

“These schools have shown they have the will and the capacity to turn things around,” said Education Commissioner Terry Holliday today during a visit to Pulaski Co. High School. “They are producing exponentially more college/career-ready students than they had previously and serve as a model for other schools that want to improve.”

As a Hub School, each school will serve as a regional hub of learning for students and adults. The schools will share their best or promising practices with schools in their area of the state to support improvement. 

The goals of a Hub School are to:

  • Create aligned actions steps that are connected to the identified purpose
  • Create a system that focuses on aligned planning, communication, marketing, effectiveness measures, connections, and the target audience. The system will include the Center for Learning Excellence (CLE) at the respective university (Eastern Kentucky University — Pulaski Co. High School; Western Kentucky University – Franklin-Simpson High School) and the regional educational cooperative(s).  The CLE, co-op and others will all be part of the system to ensure alignment and effectiveness to impact student learning within their region.
  • Capture best or promising practices that have yielded results at the Hub School and other Priority Schools within the region to share with others

A Hub School is designed to strengthen connections and address multiple needs within its geographic area.  Each of these schools will specifically target work with Focus Schools, schools with the greatest overall achievement gaps or a particular student group with a large gap and/or high schools with graduation rates below 60 percent for two consecutive years.  Education recovery staff from KDE are assigned to each Hub School and will help facilitate hub activities and ensure they are not disruptive to school/district learning processes.

In order to be named a Hub School, a Priority or Persistently Low-Achieving School must have developed aligned systems focused on continuous improvement, such as using student data to make instructional improvements.  KDE selected Pulaski Co. High School based on progress made in student learning, superintendent and district level support, excellent understanding of the turnaround process, strong vision of leadership, communication with stakeholders and being a learning-centered school.

Franklin-Simpson High School was selected as a Hub School based on significant data improvement, supportive district and school level administration who have positive attitudes toward students and  have many sustainable systems in place along with  the ability to efficiently manage multiple initiatives within those established systems and the presence of a strong school leadership team.

Despite improvements, neither school will be eligible to exit the Priority School status this fall since they are required to meet their Annual Measurable Objective (AMO) for three consecutive years, which will not occur until after the 2014-15 school year at the earliest.  To exit priority status, a school also must have a graduation rate greater than 70 percent and be above the bottom 5th percentile of overall performance.

Commissioner Holliday will visit Franklin-Simpson High School on September 10 at 11 a.m. ET to congratulate faculty, staff and students for the improvements they have made and formally recognize it as a Hub School.

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120 School Districts Honored at “Graduate Kentucky” Celebration

Gov. Steve Beshear, First Lady Jane Beshear and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday honored school boards across Kentucky that raced to adopt the new “Graduate Kentucky” standard, keeping students in school until they earn a high school diploma or turn 18.

To date, 120 Kentucky local boards of education have voted to raise the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18.  Gov. Beshear honored representatives from each district with an official Certificate of Recognition for their swift action in adopting the new policy.

“We stand here today to thank and honor the many dedicated school boards throughout the Commonwealth who showed their support by adopting this graduation policy so quickly,” said Gov. Beshear.  “In Kentucky, we fight every day to find better ways to educate our children, and this graduation bill implementation marks an historic moment in our efforts.  I am so proud of the high value our state has put on education by putting faith in our students.”

Senate Bill 97 (SB 97), known as the “Graduate Kentucky” bill, passed earlier this year and phases in an increase in 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.  Continue Reading

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Kentucky eTranscript to ease college admissions process

Kentucky high school seniors will soon be able to send electronic transcripts to Kentucky colleges and universities, as well as some out of state schools, using the free Kentucky eTranscript process, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson said today.

“The statewide adoption of electronic transcripts will streamline the college admissions process, in some cases allowing students to complete the process totally online,” said Abramson. “The eTranscript system will be easy for our students to use, and it will reduce costs and save time for all parties.”

Jefferson County will be the first to make the system available districtwide. By the end of the year, Kentucky eTranscript should be available to students in public and private high schools across the state, as school districts are phased in and go live with the system.

Kentucky’s eTranscript is provided free to high school students, school districts, colleges and universities by the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) which collaborated on the project. There is a nominal charge for students to send transcripts to non-participating colleges or universities. Continue Reading

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More than 100 districts adopt ‘Graduate Kentucky’ attendance age standard; votes still coming in

More than half of all Kentucky school districts raced to adopt the new “Graduate Kentucky” standard keeping students in school through age 18 or until they earn a high school diploma, and Gov. Steve Beshear and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday have recommended that remaining school districts still adopt the policy proactively.

Senate Bill 97 (SB 97), known as the “Graduate Kentucky” bill, passed this year and phases in an increase in the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18, amending the school attendance law created in 1934. So far, 105 school districts have approved the policy change.

“School districts should still move forward and adopt the ‘Graduate Kentucky’ attendance standard, and begin the work toward keeping students in school right away,” Beshear said. “There is no reason to delay putting in place this common-sense expectation of our students – particularly when this attendance age will become a statewide standard by the 2017-18 school year.”

June 25 was the first day to approve the new compulsory attendance age. Leaders launched “Blitz to 96” – an effort to get 96 school districts (55 percent of all districts) to approve a policy raising the compulsory school age from 16 to 18, because once that number approved the change, the remaining school districts would be obligated to adopt and implement the policy within four years. The first 96 districts to approve the change earned $10,000 grants from the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) to plan for full implementation in the 2015-16 school year.

“We are still getting reports every day that more districts have taken the bold step of adopting the ‘Graduate Kentucky’ age policy, and those actions show us that there was a real desire by our schools and communities to implement this action quickly,” First Lady Jane Beshear said.

“We hope that all of our local boards of education realize what a profound impact this policy will have on their communities and the lives of at-risk students and not wait,” Commissioner Holliday said. “The Kentucky Department of Education is committed to support districts implementing strategies and programs that will ensure the additional time students spend in school will be productive and ensure they graduate college/career-ready.”

Once a district passes a compulsory school age policy, it should notify KDE following the process on this Web page.

The first districts to adopt the policy in the “Blitz to 96” will be invited to Frankfort for a special news conference with Gov. Beshear and Commissioner Holliday to recognize them for their swift action.

Research shows that high school graduates live longer, are less likely to be teen parents, and are more likely to raise healthier, better-educated children. High school graduates also are less likely to commit crimes, rely on government healthcare or use other public services.

More information about Graduate Kentucky, a list of districts that have approved the policy and resources available to school districts are available at


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