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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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Two receive the Samuel Robinson Award

The Kentucky Board of Education presented the annual Dr. Samuel Robinson Award to the Fayette County Equity Council during the board's meeting in Frankfort. Pictured are, front row: Lisa Berman and Barbara Connor; back row: P.G. Peeples, Jack Burch, Roy Woods, Vince Mattox and Tom Shelton. Photo by Amy Wallot, Dec. 4, 2013

The Kentucky Board of Education presented the annual Dr. Samuel Robinson Award to the Fayette County Equity Council during the board’s meeting in Frankfort. Pictured are, front row: Lisa Berman and Barbara Connor; back row: P.G. Peeples, Jack Burch, Roy Woods, Vince Mattox and Tom Shelton.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Dec. 4, 2013

At its meeting in Frankfort today, the Kentucky Board of Education presented the annual Dr. Samuel Robinson Award to co-winners — the Fayette Co. Equity Council and Dr. Ronnie Nolan, director of the Kentucky Educational Collaborative for State Agency Children (KECSAC).

Since 2004, the Dr. Samuel Robinson Award has been conferred on an individual 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 the Equity Council’s nomination letter, Fayette Co. Superintendent Tom Shelton wrote, “Their culturally courageous leadership, selfless service and unwavering commitment to children regardless of background or circumstance has played a central role in bringing attention to inequities and catalyzing substantive change.”

Kentucky Board of Education Chair Roger Marcum, in presenting the award, cited some of the Council’s outstanding accomplishments:

  • eliminating color-coded lunch passes that identify students who received reduced-price or free meals; modifying student Continue Reading

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SOAR Summit to be broadcast, streamed live

High school students and teachers from across Kentucky are invited to participate in the upcoming “SOAR: Shaping our Appalachian Region” Summit on Monday, December 9. Several media outlets will broadcast or stream the summit live. The SOAR Summit, spearheaded by Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers, will focus on plans and strategies for Kentucky’s southern and eastern regions. The full day’s agenda/schedule can be found here:

Live coverage of the SOAR Summit will air on KET and at, as well as on WYMT and Live coverage will include the early morning session from 9 a.m. until noon EST, and discussions from the main auditorium throughout the day, including the legislative panel session from 4-5 p.m. EST. PIKE-TV will live-stream most of the day’s events at The summit will also be recorded for later broadcast on PIKE-TV.

On Monday evening, KET will present a one-hour program with highlights from the Summit, beginning at 8 p.m. EST on KET and at The program will include excerpts from the SOAR Summit and a discussion with Gov. Beshear and Rep. Rogers. Continue Reading

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Kentucky among state leaders in effective data use

Kentucky has earned high marks for its effective collection and use of educational data to improve student achievement.

The assessment was part of Data for Action 2013, a report released by the Data Quality Campaign, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, national organization that promotes better data, improved access, increased awareness on how to interpret and use data and long-term sustainability of longitudinal data systems –systems that allow for the comparison of the same data elements over time.

Each year, Data for Action measures the progress of every state toward implementing 10 State Actions to Ensure Effective Data Use.

  • Link state K–12 data systems with early learning, postsecondary, workforce, and other critical state agency data systems.
  • Create stable, sustainable support for longitudinal data systems.
  • Develop governance structures to guide data collection and use.
  • Build state data repositories.
  • Provide timely, role-based access to data while protecting privacy. Continue Reading

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