A head-and-shoulders picture of Robin Kinney.

Interim Commissioner of Education Robin Fields Kinney

One of the most exciting events the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) puts on every year is the Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP) State Championship, where thousands of students from across the Commonwealth will convene in Lexington to compete against each other in an effort to use modern technology to solve issues in today’s society. This year’s event will be held on March 27 at the Rupp Arena-Central Bank Center in Lexington.

Last year, a record-breaking crowd of nearly 20,000 students, educators, volunteers, community members and parents gathered to watch students showcase their knowledge, incorporating elements of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) into their projects. This year marks the 30th year of STLP in Kentucky and the 17th year we’ll have a state championship.

Every project is unique and innovative, and we had an exciting crop of winners in each of the four categories at last year’s STLP State Championship:

  • Best Grade 9-12 project: Trimble County High School student Breanna Williams created an interactive map addressing the community’s lack of digital resources. The map links people to Trimble County’s history. Local historians are learning how to manage the map to revise it depending on future needs.
  • Best Grade 6-8 project: Ashland Middle School (Ashland Independent) students created an emergency response system to better their school’s safety. The project will enable teachers to lock down the entire school within seconds of identifying a potential threat and employ a barricade device to secure classrooms. Input from local police officers and school leaders has informed the students’ project.
  • Best Grade K-5 project: Summit Elementary School (Boyd County) students created interactive games to help 3rd-grade students learn math. The students aimed to make learning math enjoyable.
  • Best Technical Project: Atherton High School (Jefferson County) students created a small weather station capable of monitoring and displaying local weather information on a digital electronics device. The school has recently focused on unmanned aircraft systems; this project will allow for pre-flight planning.

Regardless of grade level, participation in STLP creates an environment for students to think creatively and critically about things that matter to them and things that matter to the community around them. STLP projects touch on several elements of United We Learn as these students collaborate with their community to develop innovative solutions that serve as a vibrant learning experience for everyone involved. In addition to learning through technology, students also become more confident in their leadership, communication and team building skills through STLP.

I invite you to join me on March 27 at the STLP State Championship to see first-hand the exciting, creative and valuable work of our Kentucky students.