FRANKFORT – Calling state authority and autonomy critical components of education improvement, Gov. Steve Beshear and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday Monday called on the U.S. Department of Education for flexibility in public school accountability under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Beshear sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asking to replace the public school accountability portions of the federal law with Kentucky’s own model. Kentucky is the first state to request the change.
A former Kentucky State University student who pulled a handgun in a crowded KSU student center has pleaded guilty but mentally ill to several charges and released to his mother’s custody. Christopher Sims, 25, pleaded guilty but mentally ill Friday before Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate to unlawful possession of a weapon on school property among several other charges stemming from the incident. Sims threatened to kill everyone in KSU’s student center cafeteria March 2, 2010, but his 9mm Hi-Point handgun jammed, according to court records of the incident. He ran to a bathroom, cleared the jam and ran to a nearby computer lab.
Emily Greenwell leapt around the colorful carpet as if she was riding a ferocious tiger. Although there was nothing except air beneath her legs, the 10-year-old's imagination revealed another story to all those who were watching. "I like to sing, do plays, dance and all the theatrical stuff," Greenwell said. "My mom says I'm a drama queen."
BOWLING GREEN – During the May 2011 summer term, Dr. Josh Durkee, Dr. Grady Dixon and eight meteorology students from Western Kentucky University traveled more than 7,200 miles across 12 states for another season of forecasting and verifying severe weather across the Great Plains. As with the previous year, the group was quite successful in its mission.
The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees has approved an employment agreement for incoming president Eli Capilouto. Board Chairman Britt Brockman says Capilouto’s compensation is based on recommendations from a consultant and a review of other universities.
The University of Kentucky has landed a prestigious grant from the National Institutes of Health. The award is for $20 million over 5 years as part of the Clinical and Translational Science program. “This grant is in fact geared to bring new findings into the clinical environment, taking drugs from the bench to the bedside. But this grant also encourages taking things that have been brought from the bedside and analyzing them through clinical trials in an effective kind of way to see if they really do work,” said UK Vice President for Health Affairs Michael Karpf
Off-campus problems involving college students are well documented; rowdy parties, excessive noise and illegal parking. The head of an organization that works to improve relations between universities and their host communities contends their relationships are improving. Kim Griffo of the International Town and Gown Association says it’s in the interest of all parties to talk-out their differences.
Among the numerous proposals from the White House to fight childhood obesity is one to make school lunches more nutritious. But even if districts are willing to serve healthy food, they’re not always able. Jefferson County Public Schools can spend about one dollar for each student lunch. The district has started sourcing local foods, but can’t put natural, healthy and local food on the menu every day, because one serving of one item may take up more than 80 cents of that dollar.
Some school officials are disappointed that a statewide distinguished program will be cut after next academic year. The Kentucky Department of Education voted last week to repeal the state regulation that paves the way for the Commonwealth Diploma program. For the past decade, high school students across the state have taken college-level courses in an attempt to earn the diploma. Now, state officials are cutting that program because it has become irrelevant to many students’ college careers, said Lisa Gross, KDE spokeswoman.
Tom Shelton is Fayette County's new school superintendent. The Fayette County Board of Education voted unanimously Friday night to name Shelton, now the Daviess County superintendent, to lead the Fayette County system and its almost 37,000 students. Shelton's contract will be for three years and 10 months at an annual salary of $240,000. That's a little less than outgoing Superintendent Stu Silberman's pay. He's getting about $244,000 this year.
Harvey Wallmann had never heard of physical therapy when he injured himself while playing sports in the late 1970s. Decades later, he’s bringing to life Western Kentucky University’s new physical therapy program. Wallmann recently was named director of the doctorate program, which many community members have wanted for a long time. Officials plan to accept the program’s first group of students in the fall of 2012.
Clark County superintendent Elaine Farris is in Lexington Thursday, hoping to convince the community and the Fayette County Board of Education that she's the best candidate to become Lexington's new school superintendent. Farris took a 20-minute tour of the district's new Wellington Elementary School on Thursday morning, after being greeted by school board members and meeting with community leaders. The other two superintendent finalists — Jessamine County superintendent Lu Young and Daviess County superintendent Tom Shelton — were in town Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Each finalist follows the same meeting schedule, tours the same schools, and is asked the same questions to ensure fairness.
For many kids, the last year of high school is a bit of a cruise — finishing up a few remaining credits, dreaming of college, hanging out with friends and generally savoring the final, fleeting days of childhood. But it didn't work out that way for Woodford County's Wade Poor. Wade, 17, spent much of this school year dividing his time between a seat in the classroom and the operator's seat on a backhoe, working to keep his family's excavating business from going under after his father became critically ill and unable to work.
The Daviess County school superintendent who wants to be Fayette County's top educator views himself as someone who can enhance a vision for education. Robert Shelton, one of three finalists vying for the superintendent’s position in Lexington sees retiring superintendent Stu Silbeman as a visionary. Silberman also hailed from Daviess County...something Shelton recognizes, but doesn’t thnk it gives him an unfair advantage.
Western Kentucky University is hosting an international conference dedicated to the study of a familiar local landscape. Southcentral Kentucky, home to plentiful caves and sinkholes, is a part of a karst landscape, making it an appropriate spot for this conference. Karst landscapes - landscapes created by water in a carbonate rock setting, such as limestone or gypsum - include features such as sinkholes, springs and caves. Eighty conference participants represent 16 nations.
With topics ranging from parental involvement to school testing to teacher accountability, Jessamine County School superintendent Lu Young met with the Fayette County community Tuesday. The 51-year-old is a finalist to replace Stu Silberman, who is retiring from FCPS. At last night's public forum, Young recognized that moving from Jessamine County to a larger district would be a challenge.
Eastern Kentucky University employees are getting their first pay raise in three years. The hike is included in the 2011-12 budget approved Tuesday by the EKU Board of Regents. The salary increase will not be less than 500 dollars for any full-time employee. The budget of more than 233 million dollars is an increase of 6-point-9 percent over the previous year. It includes a 5 percent tuition increase for undergraduates and graduate students, with certain exceptions. The general increase had been approved earlier. The Board approved resident tuition rates for non-resident military veterans and a $60-per-credit hour rate for EKU Now! students.
Muriel Summers breaks into tears when she talks about Ms. Rose. She was her teacher when Summers was 10 years old and, to this day, she remembers the smell of her perfume, the sound of her voice, the feel of her touch. “I am a teacher today because of her,” Summers said. “I wanted to make every child feel the way she made me feel.” Now, Summers, the principal of A.B. Combs Elementary School in Raleigh, N.C., has turned a once-failing school into one of the most popular schools in the state. She did it using a leadership formula that local school districts are implementing. It’s a formula that focuses less on grades and test scores, and more on encouraging children to become good citizens and leaders.
Kathryn Cunningham has a desk job at the University of Kentucky. But that doesn't mean she's stationary all day. She walks at her desk. Cunningham spent about $2,000 on a treadmill desk, which she has been using since moving into her tiny one-person office in the UK Science Library last fall. She compares her daily desk walk, which can be 3 to 7 miles a day, to the kind of challenge involved in having a class with hundreds of students, yet making sure that each one stays focused.
Many Kentucky teenagers graduated from high school over the weekend and many of them will enroll in college. And, if statistics hold true, a majority will be unprepared. School leaders are working to combat a problem that plagues colleges in Kentucky and across the nation: Too many college freshmen are not ready for college-level courses.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health Obesity Prevention Program has awarded $54,000 in grants to several Kentucky counties. The awards were given as part of the Farm to School program, which connects schools and local farms with the goal of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias while also supporting local farmers.
FRANKFORT – Data from the 2009-10 school year show that nonacademic indicators for Kentucky's public school students remained at levels similar to those reported for the 2008-09 school year. The overall high school dropout rate increased less than one-half a percentage point, from 2.89 percent in 2009 to 3.19 percent in 2010, according to a state Department of Education press release.
The two finalists for the superintendent’s job at Jefferson County Public Schools will visit Louisville next week. The school board selected them today from a field of five semifinalists. They are: Dr. Donna Hargens, Chief Academic Officer for Wake County Public Schools in North Carolina, which has more than 143,000 students; and Dr. Christine Johns-Haines, who’s superintendent of Utica Public Schools in Michigan. It has an enrollment of more than 29,000 students. JCPS board Chairman Steve Imhoff says both candidates have impressive credentials.
After deliberating for more than two hours behind closed doors Tuesday evening, the Fayette County School Board settled on three finalists to succeed outgoing Superintendent Stu Silberman. The finalists are: Elaine Farris, Superintendent of Clark County Public Schools in Winchester, Tom Shelton, Superintendent of Daviess County Public Schools in Owensboro, and Lu Young, Superintendent of Jessamine County Public Schools in Nicholasville.
Public schools throughout the nation are spending more money per student as education funding slightly increases, according to the most recent census data, which reviews public education funding for 2008-09. But locally, school officials say state funding has dropped over the years, forcing them to make cuts and enforce higher local taxes to offset the funding slice. State funds make up a bulk of the districts’ budgets.
A Madison Central High School secretary admitted Thursday that she'd had an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old student and pleaded guilty to rape and sodomy charges. Lynda Chase, 37, is set to be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. July 7 in Madison Circuit Court. The prosecution, which opposes probation, has recommended that Chase serve three years in prison. She also would have to register as a sex offender and receive treatment as a sex offender. "I had an inappropriate relationship with a minor," Chase said Thursday in court.
A former Kentucky State University student who allegedly set fire to the door of another KSU student’s dorm room has been indicted on an arson charge. Juanisha Feliciano, 19, sprayed an accelerant on the door of a female student, who hasn’t been identified, at Chandler Hall and ignited it around 5:20 a.m. April 24, Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland and state police say.
Fayette County Public Schools will consider five candidates to become the next superintendent of the school district. A screening committee narrowed the pool of applicants from 14 to five Wednesday night. Next week, the committee will meet with the Fayette County Board of Education in closed session to discuss the top candidates and determine how many to interview.
Kentucky and eight other states may compete for $200 million in federal educational funds in a third round of the Race to the Top program, Obama administration officials announced Wednesday in Washington. All nine failed to win grants during two previous funding rounds. In addition to Kentucky, the eligible states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and South Carolina. They could receive grants ranging from $10 million to $50 million, according to the administration.
A new program will keep rising Fayette County kindergartners busy this summer. Four-year-old Josiah is already looking forward to next school year, when he'll be a kindergartner at Northern Elementary. "Books and art and paint," says Josiah. He's one of 2,000 students who will start kindergarten at Fayette County Public Schools this fall.