Owensboro Public Schools

Owensboro Public Schools

Kentucky students continue to readjust to in-person classes after the virtual learning and changing schedules of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Owensboro Public Schools are addressing mental health issues that may arise after a stressful year that has impacted families across the Bluegrass State.

There are a total of 23 counselors and social workers on staff at Owensboro Public Schools.

The district also has a partnership with Mountain Comprehensive Care, a community mental health agency, that provides six mental health professionals to the district. Those therapists can offer additional services to children and families, that would be beyond what school counselors provide. 


J. Tyler Franklin

Masking requirements are staying in place for many Kentucky school districts, despite the General Assembly revoking a statewide mask mandate for school systems during a special legislative session last week.

Warren County Public Schools implemented a mask policy on Aug. 11 before Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order or the Kentucky Department of Education’s emergency regulation. The decision was legal under the school district’s authority, and is not affected by the General Assembly’s passage of SB 1, which returned the authrority to make masking decisions to local school boards.

In a special meeting Tuesday night, the Warren County Board of Education approved a recommendation from Superintendent Rob Clayton to extend the school system's univeral mask requirement through at least October.

“This will allow us the opportunity to monitor exposures related to fall break activities as our historical data reflects the increase in exposures and quarantines after extended breaks from school," Clayton said.


Daviess County Public Schools

A custodian for Daviess County Public Schools is the winner of the 2021 Fred Award, given in recognition of exceptional service to students and staff.

Daniel Lyne, who is known as 'Mr. Daniel,' is a custodian at Daviess County Middle School and previously worked at East View Elementary School.

The award from the Kentucky Association of School Administrators was presented Friday in Louisiville. School employees are nominated for the award by their coworkers.

Lyne's service dog, Keeta, is considered part of the school community by staff and students. 

The Fred Award is named for mailman Fred Shea, who helped people on his mail route in many ways. He became a symbol for ordinary people doing good in their daily lives after a book about him called The Fred Factor was published in 2004.

Henderson County Schools/Facebook

The shortage of workers is making it difficult for many Kentucky school districts to fill slots for the new academic year.

The Henderson County school district is getting a lot of competition for workers from local businesses, something that's having a big impact on non-teaching positions. 

As the Aug. 11 first day of school approaches in Henderson County, there are 49 open positions across its 13 schools. Seven of those are for certified teachers and 42 are for other staff.

Human Resources Director Jinger Carter said there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of applications for every type of job in the school district. 

Jess Clark/WFPL

School districts across Kentucky are in high gear as they prepare for a return to in-person classes.

But on top of recovering from the COVID-19 upheaval of changing schedules and virtual instruction, there’s another wrinkle in the preparation.

A state education leader said there’s an unusually large number of vacant positions.  

The Kentucky Education Association represents 44,000 teachers and other school employees, including cafeteria workers and custodians. 


Facebook/Daviess County Public Schools

After a tumultuous year disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentucky school districts are preparing for a more traditional in-person setting as the new academic year approaches.  

One district in western Kentucky that has 70 open slots is hoping a Saturday job fair will help fill some of those positions. 

Daviess County Schools Human Resources Manager Courtney Payne said the number of open positions is not unusual because this is always a busy time of year for hiring. 

“There may be a few more positions than a typical year, nothing drastic. But we’re seeing a significantly lower number of applicants.," said Payne. "So that has been the biggest struggle that we have faced with Daviess County Public Schools, is the number of applications coming in.”


Owensboro Public Schools

As schools across Kentucky plan to welcome students back for in-person learning during the new academic year, many districts are scrambling to hire teachers and other staff.

One western Kentucky district has the added challenge of hiring for new positions created to address the impacts of COVID-19.

The human resources staff at Owensboro Public Schools is in high gear as they try to fill 20 vacant teacher positions, and 15 for instructional assistants as the Aug. 11 opening day rapidly approaches.

School district spokesperson Jared Revlett said hiring is in-progress for a variety of jobs across the district.


David Phillips

The first Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Owensboro Public Schools was born and raised in the city where he will now lead efforts to promote a “culture of equality.”  

The Owensboro Public School District announced the appointment of David Phillips to the newly-created position that it describes as “a response to the national movement to end systemic racism and to locally provide an even playing field for students, staff and community partners.”

Phillips is a 42-year-old African American and says there were some times when he was the subject of racial insults.

“Yes, I did have some personal experiences with that growing up," said Phillips. "That’s another reason why I want to help with racism any way I can, just to make it better for students we’ve got coming up, so they can have a better life and make sure that we provide all students with the necessary resources to be more successful.”


Owensboro Public Schools

The Owensboro Public School system is currently posting three dozen new positions for educators to help students recover from the academic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The hiring process will start immediately for the 36 new jobs that will begin in the next academic year.

 

Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent Matthew Constant said the district is getting $6.3 million from the federal Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Funds.

 

"With these federal dollars that are coming down to the school districts, and the realization that there are academic gaps to shore up across the world, but definitely in our school district, we felt like the best use of those funds could be extra people in our school buildings helping to shore up these gaps,” said Constant.


Apollo High School

Kentucky students involved in the performing arts have been forced into a long and unwelcome intermission during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But theater students at Apollo High School in Daviess County are back on stage in a virtual play being presented this weekend called Everything Seems Like Maybe.  It’s about – what else? – teenagers dealing with the pandemic.

One of those teens offering perspective on living a year alongside the pandemic is Meg Zuberer, a senior at Apollo High.

"The reason I chose this monologue is because I felt like out of them all, it fit me the most," said Zuberer. "During these terrible times, these days of people risking their lives to save others, I find myself questioning the normal. Like why? You know, it’s all made me wonder, 'What do I really want to be doing?' I think the main theme of everything going on right now, I mean when you really boil it down, I think it’s love’.”


Owensboro Public Schools FB

The Owensboro and Daviess County school boards will meet Thursday afternoon to consider the districts' plans to return to a five-day schedule of in-person classes.

Both school systems plan to welcome students back full-time on March 22. 

In a joint news conference on Wednesday, the districts said a decrease in COVID-19 cases and an increasing supply of the vaccine make reopening possible. 

Daviess County Superintendent Matt Robbins said it’s important for teachers and staff to see students in-person for the remaining nine weeks of the school year.

“We know they need us, and frankly, we need them, Robbins said. "There’s a lot of needs of our children from academic to mental health, social, emotional, anxiety issues. We need to see them so we can begin to diagnose those needs.”

Facebook/Owensboro Middle School

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused Owensboro Middle School to transition back to virtual only learning.

In announcing the change Thursday, the district said the closure is due to an increase in the number of students and staff who have to isolate, affecting the school’s ability to maintain operations.

It’s part of the roller coaster of scheduling that schools across Kentucky, and the nation, have to deal with in response to the pandemic. 

The district began this month with virtual learning, then transitioned to a hybrid schedule with students divided into “A” and “B” groups, with each group attending in-person two days a week. 

Facebook/Owensboro Public Schools

Owensboro Public Schools will return to a hybrid schedule with in-person classes beginning Thursday, as school districts across Kentucky continue to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Owensboro Public Schools will have students in the “A” group attend in-person on Monday and Tuesday. Students in the “B” group will be in the classroom Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is an intervention day for students who need extra help.

Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent Matthew Constant said the current schedule can change, depending on the number of COVID-19 cases.      

Henderson County Schools

The isolation and uncertainty caused by COVID-19 is stressful for adults, but it can be even more upsetting for young people.

The Henderson County school system is offering counseling for students, and workshops for adults to help them get through the pandemic.  

In addition to school guidance counselors, Henderson County Schools have seven mental health counselors. Four of the seven are funded by a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMSA.  

The funding is for Project AWARE, which is to increase knowledge about mental health-related issues in the community.  


Owensboro Public Schools

With 80 Kentucky counties now identified as 'red zones,' where there is a critical spread of COVID-19, state officials have recommended that schools suspend in-person classes until the incidence of cases decreases. 

Owensboro Public Schools are going all virtual in line with that recommendation and in response to community spread of the virus.

Superintendent Mathhew Constant sent a letter to Owensboro Public Schools families and staff that the switch to an all virtual format will begin Monday, Nov. 16.


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