education

Owensboro Public Schools

The board of Owensboro Public Schools has named a new superintendent. 

Matthew Constant has been serving as interim superintendent since Nick Brake resigned from that position at the end of December.

Constant has 25 years of experience in public education. He began working in Owensboro Public Schools in 2011 and has served as assistant superintendent and chief academic officer.

In naming him superintendent the school board said, "Constant has led the district through this unprecedented time as the country battles the coronavirus, demonstrating composure, impeccable leadship and transparency with staff and families throughout the district closure."

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The weeks of standardized tests Kentucky schools spend all year preparing are being canceled. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) says the federal government will grant the state’s request to cancel testing for the 2019-2020 school year because of closures and other challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Kentucky Department of Education has been informed by the U.S. Department of Education that we meet the requirements for the waiver of assessment & accountability for the 2019-20 school year and that formal approval is forthcoming. As a result, we are canceling the administration of 2020 K-PREP,” KDE spokeswoman Toni Konz Tatman wrote in an emailed statement.

Rhonda J. Miller

With schools closed across Kentucky, Warren County is among many districts making sure students get their breakfast and lunch while life is turned upside down because of coronavirus.

Many school bus drivers are delivering food to neighborhoods and trying to make life better during this global crisis.

Warren County school bus drivers Marvin Beresford and Ed Swinney are a team bringing meals to students while schools are closed.

The bus had coolers filled with bag lunches on Tuesday that included milk, a ham sandwich, an apple, and fresh carrots. 

Beresford, who wore gloves in line with safety precautions, said this is a little different than their usual job.


Arts for All Kentucky

The response to the coronavirus has caused closing of schools and community organizations across the state, including Arts for All Kentucky.

It’s a statewide organization based in Bowling Green that sponsors art programs for children, youth, and adults with disabilities. 

One project in suspension is the Side by Side program based at the Kentucky Museum at Western Kentucky University that partners children with disabilities with a local artist. 

Arts for All Kentucky Director Delaire Rowe said it’s one of the many programs in limbo.

Bowling Green Independent Schools

A number of school districts are heeding Governor Andy Beshear’s request to shut down for at least two weeks starting Monday.

Beshear made the recommendation Thursday as a response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

Beshear is asking for all schools—public and private—to close for a minimum of two weeks.

Kentucky’s two largest school districts, Jefferson and Fayette, announced last night they would be closed.

Some of the other county school systems that have also announced they will close are Barren, Daviess, Hardin, Larue, Pulaski, and Warren.

Flickr/Creative Commons/BES Photos

 Gov. Andy Beshear recommended closing all schools across the state – public and private – to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He’s asking schools to close Monday, and stay closed for at least two weeks.

“This is a big but necessary step,” Beshear said at a press conference Thursday evening.

Beshear joins the governors of Ohio and Maryland in calling for statewide school closures. He said while early research on COVID-19 suggests the virus is not particularly dangerous to children, young people can still catch and transmit the virus to more vulnerable people, like the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

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When Gov. Andy Beshear said Wednesday that districts need to be ready to close with 72 hours notice, some districts were ready; others were not, based on a sample made by WFPL News.

One of the biggest challenges confronting districts is how to continue providing instruction when their students are not in classrooms.

Many districts already have state-approved plans for continuing instruction during closures, called Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) plans. These districts have already created materials to send home with students during a closure. Many plans include digital instruction. Students who don’t have computer access are supposed to get paper packets at the beginning of the school year, and are encouraged to reach their teachers by phone with questions during the closure.

Berea College

College administrators around the region are weighing their options as the coronavirus makes the lectures, events and dormitories of campus life potential means of transmission of the highly infectious virus. Several schools are opting for distance learning and suspending in-person classes.  

The Ohio Valley ReSource and its partner stations will update this story as more information about area colleges and universities becomes available. 

Jess Clark | WFPL

bill to end corporal punishment in Kentucky schools is facing hurdles clearing a state senate committee, according to advocates for the measure.

House lawmakers passed the ban on corporal punishment 65-17 in February. But supporters of the ban say it’s having trouble getting heard in the senate education committee.

Kentucky Youth Advocates director Terry Brooks said some lawmakers in the committee believe the matter should be up to local school boards.

“Frankly I am a little surprised and disappointed,” Brooks said in an interview.

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State lawmakers have proposed changing Kentucky’s new 5-star school rating system.

bill filed by Sen. David Givens (R-Greensburg) proposes changes to graduation requirements, grading metrics and how schools are identified for turnarounds. Givens said the bill is an “update” to the 2017 legislation that created the accountability system.

“This continues to refine that in very positive ways,” he said. “And that’s the motivation for the bill.”

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The state’s first charter school applicant, River Cities Academy, lost its appeal to the Kentucky Board of Education. The board decided Tuesday not to overturn a decision by Newport Independent Schools to deny the group a charter.

A group of parents in Northern Kentucky wanted to open the state’s first charter school, called River Cities Academy (RCA), pulling students from six districts along the river. According to the application, the school was to serve a “diverse learner population” in grades K-8, and focus on closing the achievement gap through experiential learning.

Becca Schimmel

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s budget doesn’t include any additional money for the state’s performance-based funding model for higher education.

The Council on Postsecondary Education says it needs more money in order to continue implementing the state’s performance-based funding model. 

The performance-based funding model is designed to reward colleges and universities for increasing the number of degrees earned. 


J. Tyler Franklin

Governor Andy Beshear has signed a bill into law requiring all Kentucky school resource officers, or SROs, to carry a gun.

“The threats to our children in our schools is very real,” Beshear said, citing incidents where guns were found on school campuses, a thwarted school shooting plot in Shelby County, and the 2018 shooting in Marshall County.

“I simply cannot ask a school resource officer to stop an armed gunman entering a school without them having the ability to not only achieve this mission, but also to protect themselves,” he said.

Jess Clark | WFPL

In 19 Kentucky school districts, when a student misbehaves, teachers or principals can still use a paddle to spank students on the behind. Last year, educators used paddling to discipline students at least 284 times — mostly in Eastern and South-Central Kentucky. The state keeps track of how often schools use it, and on who.

Kentucky is one of 19 states where corporal punishment is legal in public schools. That means it’s legal for educators in public schools to inflict pain as a form of discipline, usually through spanking. But state lawmakers are considering legislation that would ban the practice.

 


Beshear Calls For “New Tone In Frankfort”

Feb 18, 2020
Rachel Collins | WKMS

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear made several stops in western Kentucky Monday hoping to garner support for his proposed budget, which is currently under review with the General Assembly.

His stops included Murray State University, where he highlighted several education initiatives, and Murray Middle School where he spoke extensively of the need for “a new tone in Frankfort.”

“Maybe the most important thing that could come out of this session is a change in the tone in Frankfort; it’s time that we started treating each other the way that everyone is supposed to treat each other in a business or in a school...that we don’t call each other names and if we disagree, we disagree civilly so we can come together the next day,” he said.

 


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