Superintendents’ Spotlight: Mike Howard, Harlan County

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Mike Howard
Mike Howard

There are many great programs and activities taking place in the Harlan County school district.

One of those the district’s administration is most pleased with is the success of the dual credit college classes offered at Harlan County High School through Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. The program is a win-win situation for students and their parents as numerous students graduate with the first year of college under their belt, while others finish high school as a second semester college freshman. Many of these courses are offered at no cost to the student, while others are offered at a much reduced tuition rate.

In its sixth year, the program this year has more than 125 students in 419 dual credit seats available in classes at the high school such as psychology, Web page design, Cisco Academy networking, U.S. History, principles of hospitality, college algebra, photography, and law and justice.

All mathematics students are reaping the rewards this year of a commitment from the Harlan County Board of Education to adopt a common series of books for each school and student in the district. This has led to the implementation of multiple common districtwide mathematics benchmark assessments. Now, plans are in place to adopt a new reading series this year. This will be accompanied by common districtwide reading assessments as well.

Another area of concentration for the district has been to enhance academic competition opportunities for students at the elementary, middle and high school levels. The district organized an in-house league to allow students to gain experience in a competitive setting for the Kentucky Governor’s Cup. The district fielded teams for all eight elementary schools in the regional MATHCOUNTS competition and several students won college scholarships.

Like most districts, a barebones budget remains in place as the district struggles with declining revenues and increased expenditures and mandates. With very restricted spending, the district has seen a vast improvement in its financial standing.

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