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Holliday named president of state school chiefs

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday has assumed the role of president of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). For the past year he served as the group’s president-elect.

“I am proud and very humbled to serve this outstanding organization,” Holliday said. “If you look at the accomplishments of CCSSO over the last five to six years, you see an organization that is certainly a strong leader in public education.”

The Council of Chief State School Officers is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses its views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.

Holliday said as president of CCSSO, he will continue to push for action on education issues of importance.  During the upcoming year, he intends to focus on communication, collaboration, creativity, innovation and career-readiness.

  • Communication and Collaboration – The diversity of context and opinions among states is a strength of the organization, according to Holliday.
    “CCSSO must continue to look for ways that all state voices are heard and valued and reach out to other national organizations,” Holliday said. “Our voice needs to be heard in administrative and teacher organizations and we must in turn listen and act on the feedback we receive from these organizations.” Continue Reading

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Kentucky wins national child nutrition award

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service has selected the Kentucky Department of Education’s Division of School and Community Nutrition to receive an award for outstanding service in child nutrition.

The Direct Certification Performance Award, established under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, goes to states for outstanding performance in directly certifying children for free school meals under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). To be eligible for the award, states had to meet the federally mandated 90 percent benchmark for direct certification in the 2012-13 school year, be among those with the highest direct certification performance rates for the year and no longer use presentation of a letter as a method for direct certification.

“This award means one of the most basic needs of Kentucky’s school children is being met,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “Hungry children can’t learn, and we have an obligation to ensure that all children who qualify receive free meals through the school lunch program.”

Children from households with incomes at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for free school meals. In addition, children who are migrants, runaways or homeless, who are in foster care or who are enrolled in Head Start or Even Start are categorically eligible for free meals. Student eligibility must be verified by application or direct certification.

The 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants And Children) Reauthorization Act required state education agencies to establish systems to directly certify children from households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits without the need for paper applications. Continue Reading

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Kentucky receives $44 million early childhood education grant

Kentucky’s new $44.3 million Race to the Top grant will jump-start learning, support parents and improve early learning programs for thousands of Kentucky preschoolers, according to Gov. Steve Beshear.

The White House announced Thursday that Kentucky is among the six winners of a Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant to support early learning and development reform agendas. The winning states, which will receive a combined $280 million, must show a willingness to carry out sweeping improvements to programs focused on children from birth to age 5.

“This $44 million grant represents one of the largest single investments in Kentucky’s students – and it’s targeted specifically to our youngest students, who will carry the positive impact of these programs throughout their school careers,” said Gov. Beshear. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to make the large-scale improvements in early childhood education that we have long known are critical to student success, but have always been shelved because of lack of funding. Make no mistake – we cannot underestimate the good that will come from this grant in the years to come.” Continue Reading

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KVEC one of five Race to the Top-District Grant winners

The Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative, a consortium of 18 rural districts, is one of five applicants that will receive a total of approximately $120 million in the second round of the Race to the Top-District (RTT-D) competition, the U.S. Department of Education has announced.

The five applicants have won grants that will support locally developed plans to personalize and improve student learning, directly increase student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps and prepare every student for success in college and careers.

Through these grants, school districts will be able to better support teachers and students by increasing educational opportunities. The grants also will help teachers tailor their approach to meet their students’ needs, allow them to collaborate in new ways and provide students with resources that enable them to access a world-class education no matter where they are. Continue Reading

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AP courses, AdvanceKentucky spell success for Kentucky students

Kentucky students who enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school are better prepared for college, need little or no remediation and perform better in their postsecondary studies than students who do not take AP classes, according to data released today.

The information affirms national evidence that shows a significant and positive long-term effect for students who take AP classes in high school.

A review of Kentucky data also shows that students who enroll in AP classes at high schools in the state that are part of the AdvanceKentucky initiative earn significantly more qualifying scores on AP math, science, and English exams, which can earn a student college credit, compared to students taking the same AP courses nationwide.

For the past five years, AdvanceKentucky, a statewide math and science initiative, has expanded access to, participation in and the success rate of Kentucky students taking AP classes, especially among those who are traditionally underserved and underrepresented in Continue Reading

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Kentucky ranks 6th nationally in NBPTS Certification results

Two hundred and fifty-eight Kentucky teachers have achieved National Board Certification.

Kentucky is ranked 6th in the number of teachers earning National Board Certification in the class of 2013.  National Board Certification demonstrates that teachers have attained the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare students for 21st century success. Kentucky’s total number of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) now totals 2,980, making it 10th in the nation.

Kentucky consistently ranks in the top ten nationally for the total number of NBCTs.  “Since its inception, Kentucky’s National Board Program has proved to be a model for many other states,” said Robert Brown, Executive Director of the Education Professional Standards Board.  “It is with great pleasure that I congratulate these educators for their extraordinary commitment to the education of Kentucky’s children and for achieving the highest credential in the teaching profession.”  Upon successful completion of the National Board Continue Reading

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139 school districts raise compulsory attendance age to 18

To date, 139 Kentucky local boards of education have voted to raise the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18.

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. 

On June 25, the first day local boards of education could vote to adopt SB97, leaders launched “Blitz to 96” – an effort to get 96 school districts to adopt the “Graduate Kentucky” standard as soon as possible.  Within two weeks, the 96 district threshold had been reached and as a result, the remainder of Kentucky’s 173 districts must now adopt and implement the standard no later than the 2017-18 school year.

Local school  boards have continued to pass the measure since the summer, with Caldwell County’s board being the latest.

Students who graduate from an accredited or an approved four-year high school before they turn 18 are exempt from the new policy. Continue Reading

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Teachers selected for Hall of Fame

Members of the seventh class of the Gov. Louie B. Nunn Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame have been selected.

The three chosen by the statewide selection committee are Golda Pensol Walbert, Debra Burgess and Cynthia S. Wooden. The 2014 induction ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 6 at the State Capitol in Frankfort.

Walbert taught in the Rockcastle, Harlan and Barren County school districts from 1943-89. Burgess taught from 1980-2012 at Murray High School, and Wooden has taught in Kenton County since 1987.

The Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame was created in 2000 through a gift by former Gov. Nunn, who hoped to recognize the vital role that primary and secondary teachers in Kentucky play in the education of young people and the positive impact education has on the state’s economy.

For more information about the Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame, click here.

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KBE focuses on need for school funding

At the Kentucky Board of Education meeting yesterday, Commissioner Terry Holliday warned of teacher layoffs and an increase in the number of school districts that will fail financially if they do not receive a restoration of funding in the upcoming legislative session.

“With sequestration, district bailout of the Kentucky School Board Insurance Trust (KSBIT), and budget cuts, we are headed for the ‘perfect storm’,” said Holliday. “By next March or April, we predict 10-12 districts will fail to meet their basic financial commitment and we will see pink slips like we’ve never seen before.”

Holliday said in the last three years Kentucky has lost an equivalent of 1,800 full-time teachers. He said sequestration, KSBIT and continued inadequate funding will mean the loss of 1,500-2,000 more teachers or teacher assistants.

“These are real people, real layoffs and they can’t continue,” Holliday said.  “We are losing our most important resource – our classroom teachers.”

The need for improved school funding in Kentucky was a recurrent theme throughout today’s board of education meeting.  Continue Reading

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Local board members named to commissioner’s advisory council

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday announced this week the 10 local board of education members who will serve on his Local School Board Member Advisory Council (LSBMAC) for the upcoming year

The council members serve on local boards of education throughout the state and represent each of the seven Supreme Court
judicial districts. In addition, there are three at-large members.

The new members and their districts are as follows:

1st Supreme Court District: Joe “David” Webster, Simpson County; term expires 1/1/15

2nd Supreme Court District: Greg Hunsaker, Henderson County; term expires 1/1/16

3rd Supreme Court District: Gretchen Cole, Somerset Independent; term expires 1/1/15

4th Supreme Court District: Debbie Thomas Wessland, Jefferson County; term expires 1/1/16

5th Supreme Court District:Donna Crain Drury, Anderson County; term expires 1/1/15 Continue Reading

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