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Board to ask for restored state funding

Associate Commissioner Hiren Desai, right, and Budget and Financial Management Division Director Charles Harman present the biennial budget request to the Kentucky Board of Education. Photo by Amy Wallot, Oct. 8, 2013

Associate Commissioner Hiren Desai, right, and Budget and Financial Management Division Director Charles Harman present the biennial budget request to the Kentucky Board of Education.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Oct. 8, 2013

By Matthew Tungate

Restoring educational funding to pre-recession levels is the top legislative priority of the Kentucky Board of Education, members decided at their meeting last week.

The challenge, according to Tracy Goff Herman, the Kentucky Department of Education’s legislative liaison, is that state revenues are still lower than in 2009. She said she has not seen much legislative support for  two proposed solutions aimed at increasing state revenue: revising the state’s tax laws or allowing expanded gaming – both of which Education Commissioner Terry Holliday has endorsed as ways to increase funding for schools.

“We’re basically fighting with other agencies for a bigger piece of the pie, and it’s a pretty small pie as it is,” Herman said.

Board members will decide at their meeting in December whether they want to endorse any measure for increased revenue –a move Associate Commissioner Kevin Brown said he could not remember the board doing in the past decade.

Herman said other educational organizations are deciding the best methods for getting schools more funding.

“It’s like asking your dad for the car keys on Saturday night,” she said. “What strategy is going to get him to give you the car keys?”

Associate Commissioner Hiren Desai said the Kentucky Department of Education has six budget priorities: Continue Reading

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Miller receives 2013 Kevin M. Noland Award

Kentucky Department of Education policy advisor Mary Ann Miller, pictured with Kevin Noland, was presented the Kevin M. Noland Award from the Kentucky Board of Education during its meeting in Frankfort, Ky. Photo by Amy Wallot, Oct. 8, 2013

Kentucky Department of Education policy advisor Mary Ann Miller, pictured with Kevin Noland, was presented the Kevin M. Noland Award from the Kentucky Board of Education during its meeting in Frankfort, Ky.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Oct. 8, 2013

At its meeting in Frankfort today, the Kentucky Board of Education awarded Mary Ann Miller, Policy Advisor for the Commissioner and the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE), the 2013 Kevin M. Noland Award.

The award recognizes a Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) employee for significant service to Kentucky’s public schools and for providing inspiration for education. Nominations are made by KDE staff.

“She is the type of public servant who will not rest and who will not be at peace until Kentucky has reached its full potential,” her nominator wrote. “In her position as policy advisor, she is dedicated to making Kentucky’s public schools better with the goal of every child becoming college- and career-ready.”

During the surprise presentation of the award, the former special education teacher was lauded for her incredible work ethic and described as the often unsung hero of KDE.

“Few people understand the role Mary Ann has played behind the scenes for more than 20 years in her service to KDE and the KBE,” said Continue Reading

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Semifinalists named for 2014 Kentucky Teacher of the Year

Ten outstanding teachers from across the state — three elementary, three middle and four high school teachers — are semifinalists for the 2014 Kentucky Teacher of the Year award.

Winners of the Elementary, Middle and High School Teacher of the Year awards, in addition to the overall 2014 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, will be announced at a ceremony in Frankfort at 10 a.m. ET on October 16, in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building.

Competing for Elementary Teacher of the Year are:

  • Holly Bloodworth, Murray Elementary, Murray Independent
  • Angela Pleasant, James E. Farmer Elementary, Jefferson County
  • LenaKay E. Wilson, Mayfield Elementary, Madison County

Middle School semifinalists are:

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Governor, education groups encourage teachers to connect online to improve achievement

As part of Connected Educators Month, Gov. Steve Beshear has joined with leaders from the Kentucky Department of Education, the Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky and the Hope Street Group in encouraging educators in the state to “get connected” to improve their practice and advance student achievement.

“Kentucky is already a nationwide leader in education,” said Gov. Beshear. “By connecting our teachers and administrators to online professional learning opportunities, we will move even closer to delivering a world-class education for all of our students.”

Connected Educator Month (CEM) uses online communities and networks to support teachers and administrators as they implement standards and develop effective instructional practices to help students learn and become more successful. Educators will use blogs, Twitter chats and other online communities to connect and share ideas. The goal is to bring together educators at all levels, in all disciplines, to address key issues and move toward a fully connected and collaborative profession.

In 2012, during the inaugural Connected Educators Month, more than 170 education organizations held more than 450 online events and activities and reached more than four million educators and others in the U.S. and worldwide. Continue Reading

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Number of students taking AP tests up; scores higher

More Kentucky students are taking Advanced Placement (AP) tests and scoring higher according to data released from the College Board.

Since 2008, the number of Kentucky public high school students taking AP examinations has nearly doubled and the number of tests with a qualifying score of 3, 4, or 5, has increased by 100 percent.

The most exams were given in English Language and Composition followed by English Literature and Composition, United States History, World History and Calculus AB.

“With more rigorous standards and an emphasis on college/career-readiness, we’re seeing more students take tougher courses and be successful,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “The AdvanceKentucky initiative is contributing significantly to the numbers, especially among students who are traditionally underserved and underrepresented in Advanced Placement courses.” Continue Reading

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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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