Recently, three Kentucky public school districts were named Districts of Innovation – Owensboro Independent, Trigg County and Owsley County. Certain administrative regulations and statutory provisions won’t apply to these districts now. They also may waive local board policy to improve student learning and educational performance practices.

All three superintendents of these districts said leadership will be heavily impacted by the designation.

“Staff strengths will be included in the delegation of duties and responsibilities as we carry out this new initiative,” Owsley County Schools Superintendent Tim Bobrowski said. “I have full faith that my staff will be able to effectively implement all duties and responsibilities associated with this distinction.”

Owensboro Independent Superintendent Nick Brake said that he will be “heavily involved” with school and district administrators and that this status will allow them to change “the paradigm about career, technical and alternative education,” he said.

“We hope to create an experience for more students to participate in a blended high school-technical college program,” Brake said. “We are looking at a number of models and partnerships that will identify a student’s passion and match it with economic needs that will result in graduating more of our students with skills that will enable them to step into career jobs as well as to increase preparedness for those going on to college. This designation will allow us the flexibility to move forward in a number of innovative ways.”

In Trigg County, Superintendent Travis Hamby and administrators created a Next-Generation Instructional Coordinator staff position at Trigg County High School.

“This individual works as a classroom teacher, as facilitator of learning for students and staff and as a central point of contact for data related to the implementation of our current initiatives,” Hamby said.

He said other leaders in the district have had their routines monitored to make sure they can assist this position as needed.

“I would say we have to build capacity of staff to do the work, provide ongoing resources and support and work to remove barriers that may hinder or impede the work,” Hamby added.

Hamby said he’s excited to refocus work on being more student-centered, “putting students (even more so) at the heart of everything we do,” he said.

Bobrowski agreed.

“I look as this as a challenge to my own professional integrity but also as an opportunity to be able to reduce barriers for our students,” Bobrowski added. “Personally, I feel that this opportunity will allow me to collaborate with others in delivering services for students in my district, which I would consider a strength for me at this time in my career.”