Owensboro Public Schools

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.


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.


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