Owensboro Public Schools

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.


Owensboro Innovation Middle School

COVID-19 has caused many parents in Kentucky to lose their jobs or have their work hours cut back. The financial impact of the pandemic is adding homelessness to the challenge of virtual learning for some Owensboro students. 

Owensboro Innovation Middle School Youth Service Coordinator Amanda Hirtz said she’s working with three families who have suffered job losses during the pandemic, causing them to become homeless between March and August. 

Hirtz said students and families felt comfortable asking for help during these difficult times.


Ileana Gaynor

Schools across Kentucky are shut down for the remainder of the academic year because of COVID-19, and most students are adapting to virtual learning.

But students who were already struggling, or have English as a second or third language, are at-risk for falling behind. 

Educators in Owensboro Public Schools, like teachers across the nation, are increasing communication to keep at-risk students engaged.

Estes Elementary in Owensboro, which has students in preschool through 5th grade, has about 100 "English Learners." Those students are dealing with the combined challenges of language and the loss of in-person instruction in the classroom.


Newton Parrish Elementary

With all schools in Kentucky shut down during the pandemic, one elementary school in Owensboro is a good example of how educators are developingnew procedures to get lessons to students. 

All of the 560 students at Newton Parrish Elementary get 10 days of printed lessons at a time. That’s to make sure even students who don’t have internet at home can keep up with their schoolwork.

Principal Steve Bratcher said after teachers prepare their lessons, instructional assistants copy them and place them in each classroom.

“And at that point, the teachers come back to school and put the first and last name on baggies, we bought Ziplock baggies, two-gallon baggies, and the teachers place those in the conference room, once they have everything bagged up, ready to go,” said Bratcher.

Beckett Gilmore

With the coronavirus forcing schools across Kentucky, and the nation, to shut down, educators are being pushed into new territory.

A husband and wife, both teachers in Owensboro Public Schools, are expanding the boundaries of the classroom to keep students engaged while they’re learning at home. Sarah and Joshua Sullivan are among thousands of teachers across the U.S. who are creating the new reality for education in this unusual time.

When it became clear that Owensboro Public Schools would close down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, sixth grade social studies teacher Joshua Sullivan said educators leaped into action. 

The school district actually set up Google Classroom to have special NTI classes,” said Sullivan, who teaches at Owensboro Middle School. 


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."

Owensboro Public Schools

The superintendent of Owensboro Public Schools is stepping down at the end of this month, with an interim superintendent taking over at the start of the new year. 

Superintendent Nick Brake has led Owensboro Public Schools since 2013. He announced in June he would leave the position at the end of this calendar year. 

The school board has named district Chief Academic Officer Matthew Constant as interim superintendent beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

Constant said he is humbled and appreciative that the board has the confidence in him to lead the district during the search for a permanent superintendent.

“Dr. Brake is leaving us in such a good, good place in our district," Constant said. "He’s done a whole lot of things to advance us forward, and I think the interim’s job is to keep that forward momentum without infusing too much change.”


Bowling Green Independent Schools

The Kentucky Department of Education School Report Card shows that state schools earned an overall ranking of three stars out of a possible five. Schools in 173 districts were rated on multiple assessments, including proficiency in math and reading, readiness for a career or college, graduation rates and achievement gaps.

Bowling Green city schools are on par with the statewide average, but one issue facing the district is an achievement gap that arises from its large number of students who speak English as a second language.

Bowling Green Independent Schools have students who speak a total of 49 different languages. Superintendent Gary Fields said the district celebrates diversity, but that wide range of languages needs the most attention for students in 6th to 8thgrades.


Owensboro Public Schools

Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent Nick Brake has announced he will leave that position at the end of December.

Brake has been leading the school district for more than six years. During his tenure, the district created two new schools, Owensboro Innovation Academy, a high school that graduated its first class this year, and Innovation Middle, which will open in the fall.

“I have accomplished much of what I set out to accomplish during my time at OPS,” said Brake. “The district has very capable leadership at all levels and a great board of education. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time and tenure as superintendent and I would not want to hold that position in any other district. The time is just right for me to explore new challenges in the future. The timing will help in the transition process and set up the person who follows me for success.”

Owensboro Public Schools

Educators from Owensboro and Daviess County public schools are spearheading a new statewide organization to expand classroom instruction for English language learners. 

The new group is called the Kentucky Coalition for English Learners. The first conference was held June 10 and 11 at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville and  drew 250 educators. 

One of the organizers of the coalition is Matthew Constant, chief academic officer for Owensboro Public Schools. 

"The majority of people, and this was our target audience, were general education teachers," said Constant. "We have specialized English learner teachers that are trained in college to deliver specialized instruction, but many of our English learner students are in regular classrooms the majority of the day.”


Daviess County Public Schools

The chairman of the Daviess County Public Schools Board of Education, who began working in Kentucky schools more than 50 years ago, has resigned.

Mike Clark began his education career in Michigan. He started teaching in Kentucky in 1963 as a chemistry teacher at Apollo High School in Daviess County. He’s also been principal at Burns Middle School and Daviess County Middle School.

Clark retired from Daviess County Public Schools in 2000 and went on to be a principal in the Owensboro Catholic schools system.

He’s been a member of the Daviess County Public Schools Board of Education since 2011, and been chairman for two years. He told the board his resignation is because he is moving out of District 1, which he was elected to represent.

Owensboro Public Schools

The superintendent of Owensboro Public Schools cautions against reading too much into new statewide test scores released this week.  The state has launched a new system to measure school performance, and Nick Brake says there’s always a dip in scores anytime a new accountability model is rolled out.

“Tradionally, what happens when you change things like this is the scores dip, and everybody points to the crisis in our public schools, and that we have, you know, fewer students doing this. And while there may be some truth to that, at the same time, there’s also just a measurement situation. Anytime you make those changes you’re going to see that dip," Brake said.

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