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ADVOCATE KENTUCKY SCHOOL

A publication of the Kentucky School Boards Association n August 2009

Summer learning “On the Road”

Summer Leadership Institute coverage Streamlining school calendar laws Pomp and circus-stance?


Get your questions answered

Training for Directors of Special Education and Special Education Legal Update August 20 & 21 Marriott Griffin Gate Resort Lexington This conference offers information that all directors — new and experienced — need to know. Hear about current court cases, hot topic issues, budgeting and resources. Our presenters have many years of valuable experience to share with you. For more information or to register, go to www.ksba.org and click on “Director of Special Education and Special Education Legal Update” under Featured Events at the top of the page.

"A brighter future through better public schools"


Index

Features Calendar craziness curbed

Several education groups are drafting legislation that would simplify the system districts use to formulate school calendars, an issue brought to a head this year by the large number of disaster days incurred ... Page 8

Civil ceremony

When a state school board member raises the issue of graduation ceremony conduct, it’s a good sign there is a problem. Some schools have come up with ways to make the event more dignified – and the audience and graduates better behaved ... Page 10

Personality plus

This year’s Summer Leadership Institute featured a plenary session that held as much meaning as it did fun. School board members learned about different personality types in a lesson with real-world application around the board table ... Page 14

Early investment

Pay me now or pay me later. That about sums up a message from panelists participating in a discussion about preschool during the Summer Leadership Institute. Investing in early childhood education pays dividends in lives, in schools and in communities ... Page 15

Kentucky School Advocate Volume 16, Number 2

Departments Take Note ....................................... 4 People Are Talking ......................... 6 Ed Tech ........................................ 18 KSBIT Corner .................................. 19 In Conversation With ................... 20

Commentary Executive Memo ............................ 5 Get Your Message Out ............... 22

On the cover

Nelson County nomads

Back by popular demand – and expanded – Nelson County Schools’ On the Road to Summer Learning program set up at multiple locations in two communities, keeping students on track and preparing younger children for entry into school ... Page 16

Ryley Rider chooses a book to take home during Nelson County School’s On the Road to Learning program in July. See story on Page 16

Paperless field trips, Page 18 Ideal behavior, Page 10

Clearing calendar confusion, Page 8

Pinpointing personalities, Page 14

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TAKE NOTE

Kentucky School Boards Association

Executive Director ........................... Bill Scott Member Support Director ..... Brad Hughes Advocate Editor ............. Madelynn Coldiron Publications Coordinator ... Jennifer Wohlleb Account Executive ....................... Mary Davis The Kentucky School Advocate is published 10-times a year by the Kentucky School Boards Association. Copies are mailed to KSBA members as part of their association membership. Two additional issues each year are published exclusively on KSBA’s Web site.

KSBA Board of Directors Officers Delmar Mahan, President Whitley County Tom Blankenship, President elect Lincoln County Ed Massey, Immediate Past President Boone County Directors-at-large Linda Duncan, Jefferson County Tim England, Barren County Ronnie Holmes, Graves County Dr. John Inman, Meade County Allen Kennedy, Hancock County Darryl Lynch, Christian County Durward Narramore, Jenkins Independent Eugene Peel, Jessamine County Dr. Jackie Pope-Tarrence, Bowling Green Independent Ann Porter, Mason County William White, Pulaski County Carl Wicklund, Kenton County Regional Chairpersons Dr. Felix Akojie, Paducah Independent Jeanette Cawood, Pineville Independent Mike Combs, Campbell County Larry Dodson, Oldham County Jeff Eaton, Allen County Jane Haase, Owensboro Independent Lisa Hawley, Cloverport Independent Marshall Jenkins, Morgan County William Owens, Lee County Fern Reed, Montgomery County Jeff Stumbo, Floyd County Chris Watts, Adair County

Updated ASAP online Kentucky school boards working on their own best practices for improving student achievement now have a new edition of the Advancing Student Achievement to Proficiency toolkit. KSBA’s ASAP toolkit was updated in June to reflect the revised Standards for Advancing Student Achievement accepted by the KSBA Board of Directors earlier this year. The toolkit continues to assist school boards in their focus on student achievement as they carry out their roles and responsibilities at board meetings, with school councils and throughout their community. The revisions are aligned with the KSBA board development training and are based on best practices for school boards. New features in the toolkit include information about setting district goals, the KSBA Academy of Studies and an updated list of education acronyms and terms. The updated toolkit is available at KSBA’s Web site, www.ksba.org, under “Important Bookmarks.”

Medicaid reimbursements safe The would-be federal barrier to school districts receiving Medicaid reimbursement for school-based administrative and transportation services has been permanently torn down. In 2008, the Bush administration had implemented a regulation barring those types of reimbursements to school districts, but the move was held at bay by a temporary moratorium enacted by Congress. That moratorium was scheduled to expire July 1 of this year. But on May 1, the federal Health and Human Services Department announced it would rescind the Bush-era ban on the reimbursements. Following a 30-day comment period, the rescission became effective at the end of June. “These regulations, if left in place would have potentially adverse consequences for Medicaid beneficiaries, some of our nation’s most vulnerable people,” said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. z

Kentucky’s new top educator

Photo by Amy Wallot/KDE

260 Democrat Dr. Frankfort, KY 40601 800-372-2962 www.ksba.org

Terry Holliday, Kentucky’s newly hired education commissioner, meets the press following the July 17 meeting of the state board of education. Holliday, one of four finalists for the job, was given a four-year contract and an annual salary of $225,000 and will start Aug. 5. He succeeds Jon Draud. Holliday, 58, has been superintendent of Iredell-Statesville Schools in Statesville, N.C. since 2002. During that time, he was named North Carolina Superintendent of the Year by the North Carolina Association of School Administrators and the North Carolina School Boards Association and his district was singled out for a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

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Executive memo

Regional meetings preview

Making preschool essential, not add-on

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resources for highly qualified preschool or several years, KSBA’s lobbying teachers with a degree in early childhood priorities have included increased education. funding for early childhood l Alignment and transition — ensure programs, including expanding preschool alignment of curriculum, assessment and eligibility for 4-year-olds from 150 perinstruction between preschool and K-3 cent to 200 percent of poverty and state grades. funding of all-day kindergarten instead of l Comprehensive services — collaborate the current half day. with community partners to provide Based on KSBA’s annual legislative additional support such as extended-day surveys, the overwhelming majority of child care, vision, and hearing and health Kentucky’s board members agree that screenings. quality pre-K is a highly effective strategy l Funding — collaborate with commufor improving school readiness and longBill Scott nity partners to blend funding streams term student outcomes. However, when KSBA Executive Director and increase resources. I have asked individual board members about the specific ways their local board 3. Hold the system accountable: supports the district or community’s early childhood prol Use an evaluation process that focuses on both grams, they are often at a loss for examples. In fact, many child learning outcomes and implementation of preboard members couldn’t recall the last time a pre-K topic school program standards. was even on their board meeting agenda. l Monitor the program’s impact, using both summaKentucky boards of education are not unique in their tive and formative assessment processes. lack of attention to pre-K. Traditionally, local boards 4. Build collective will: across the country have had a K-12 mindset that failed to l Create community awareness among all stakeholdfocus on pre-K as an integral part of the district’s learning ers of the importance of quality preschool. continuum. Unfortunately, preschool is often seen as an l Demonstrate a commitment to early childhood add-on to the K-12 system. education through conversations at the board table With the help of a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts and in the community, and through the board’s acand NSBA, as well as a partnership with Kentucky’s tions. Early Childhood Regional Training Centers, KSBA’s fall regional meetings this year will provide board members 5. Learn together as a board team: with practical advice on why and how they can become l Know the characteristics of high-quality preschool stronger advocates for pre-K in their districts and comprograms and recognize the similarities and differmunities. Our meetings will focus on specific board roles ences between preschool and K-12. for improving student achievement as revealed by the l Learn the needs of the community and its children. Lighthouse studies (1998-2007) and will apply these roles After discussing some of these board roles as they apto preschool education. ply to early childhood learning programs, we will hear The Iowa School Boards Foundation has formulated from regional preschool leaders about the challenges and a list of the five board roles in preschool, with specific opportunities they face in implementing high-quality examples. I’m summarizing them here: preschool programs in their districts and communities. 1. Set clear expectations: These practitioners will also identify the kinds of support l Have a clear understanding of the current perforthat they would like from local boards and district leadmance of preschool students. ers. l Set clear expectations for preschool learning outPlease join me at your regional meeting for an opporcomes and the preschool learning environment. tunity to learn more about this vital but often overlooked l Insist on a pre-K-12 mindset that recognizes component of your district’s learning program. A schedpreschool as an integral part of the district’s learning ule will be released this month. z continuum – and not an add-on. — Material reprinted with permission from Iowa Associ2. Create conditions for success in these areas: ation of School Boards. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. l Leadership — preschool program administrators To view the full report, “The Role of the Board for Ensuring are knowledgeable about early childhood. Quality Preschool, ” go to www.ia-sb.org. l Quality teaching and learning — provide adequate August 2009 w Kentucky School Advocate w 5


People are Talking

Quotes on education from Kentucky and elsewhere

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ith this, you can take control of the situation, but there’s no chance of hurting the student, either.” Keith Smith, an alternative school teacher in Pendleton County, after taking training on how to restrain through Aikido, a martial arts form designed to defend while protecting the attacker from injury. From Fort Mitchell Community Press and Recorder.

“I

believe there needs to be a plan to replace category five schools that provides assistance from the state. In our situation, we have four out of five schools that need replacement. At an estimated $40 million, it will be a very long time before our district can save that kind of money and the need is staring us in the face today. I am not sure it is wise to present it as an ‘either/or’ or even a ‘both/and’ in the same sentence with gaming and slots. I can only speak to our really grave need for school facility replacement and the needs for our children (which) is what my priorities are as superintendent of schools in Metcalfe County. It is my business to advocate for kids.” Metcalfe County Schools Superintendent Patricia Hurt on the now-defunct special session proposal linking school construction funding to anticipated revenues from video lottery terminals at racetracks. From the Glasgow Daily Times.

“I

was greatly saddened earlier in the year when a disgruntled parent informed me that the education of their child was the responsibility of the school system and did not belong

to them. This is the type of thinking that we must change. My hope is that through this initiative, we can help educate parents about the importance and absolute necessity for education at home during the preschool years.” McLean County Schools Superintendent Tres Settle on the district’s participation in a four-county early childhood development effort. From the Calhoun McLean County News.

“W

e still want to go ahead with writing because the state will add writing back in at some point.” Nelson County Schools’ Elementary Instructional Supervisor Gregory Hash explaining to the board the decision to continue testing students’ writing portfolios despite their removal from

the state accountability system while a new assessment system is developed. From Bardstown Kentucky Standard.

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on’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” The graduation theme selected by the 161 members of the Powell County High School Class of 2009. From the Clay City Times.

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rom the very beginning, I knew I wanted to be an educator. It seemed meant to be. Things fell into place. I feel like I’m leaving the district right on the verge of greatness.” Gary Seaborne, recently retired superintendent of Taylor County Schools, on his 43-year career in education, including 27 years as superintendent. From the Campbellsville Central Kentucky News-Journal.

“Y

ou see the sparkle in their eyes when they watch the robots functioning as programmed. I wanted to get them to design and build with their hands instead of showing them instructional videos.” University of Louisville Speed School of Engineering Professor Tamer Inanc on working with high school students as part of the school’s 28th annual INSPIRE (Increasing Student Preparedness and

Learning Never Ends

“I

never thought at 40 years I would be standing on this stage receiving my diploma. I quit school in eighth grade. I’ve had all sorts of jobs. I used to say not having a diploma has never hindered me, but in today’s society, it is very important. It does feel good to finally have that diploma and I’m real proud of myself as we all should be.” Lisa Self, one of 141 GED graduates of the Laurel County Schools’ Adult Education and Literacy Class of 2009. From the London Sentinel-Echo.

“C

hildren are 50 times more likely not to receive their diploma or GED if their parents do not.” Mark Daniels, Corbin Independent Schools support services coordinator, on the district’s push to increase family literacy in the community. From the Corbin News-Journal.

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Interest in the Requisites for Engineering) summer camp. From the Louisville Courier-Journal.

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e don’t have control of where people buy their homes. But we have to control where those kids go to school.” Hardin County Schools Superintendent Nanette Johnston on student attendance zone redistricting due to already overcrowded schools and the influx of new families from the Fort Knox military base expansion. From the Elizabethtown NewsEnterprise.

“T

witter may twitter away in a few months, but if it does end up being valuable and usable, I want Barren County to be there when it happens. If it does end up being a medium of good communication, we’re good to go and we’re part of it.” Benny Lile, Barren County Schools’ director of instruction and technology, on the district’s creation of a Twitter social networking account to reach out to the community. From the Bowling Green Daily News.

“T

he problem is when we get to kindergarten, we’ve got more classes at Casey (elementary school) than we have at ACES (Adair County Elementary). Once the students get in at ACES, they have a legitimate complaint if they go to preschool there and then have to come to Casey for kindergarten, first and second, and then John Adair (Intermediate School) for third, fourth, and fifth, and then back to ACES for sixth and then middle school and high school. That’s six schools. Even the ones who go to preschool at Casey and on into kindergarten still

end up in all five schools. Those who start and go all the way through ACES attend three schools because they begin preschool and go through sixth grade then they’ve got seventh, eighth and middle and high school. It’s not a good system the way it’s set up.” Adair County Schools Superintendent Darrell Treece on how the district’s current grade center system creates many student transfers during their K-12 years. From the Columbia Community Voice.

“T

his is a fabulous opportunity for our kids, and we want more of them to take advantage of it. It is starting to catch on. They (students) saw what it was this past year; that’s why we had to double those sections. (Paying) $187 a class is a real steal for our kids. You could easily leave us and be pushing at being a sophomore in college.” Harlan County Schools’ Title I Director Brent Roark on the growing dual-credit agreement between the school system and Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. From the Harlan Daily Enterprise.

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e chose not to do anything at this point, but that doesn’t mean something else couldn’t happen.” Bath County Board of Education member Sandra Crouch on the status of the board’s 3-2 vote to have its attorney investigate the weekly Bath County News Outlook to see whether the paper had defamed board members in its coverage. From the Lexington HeraldLeader. z

Merging two small counties and their schools Point ...

“I

think it will happen in the future. I do know it will be when the taxpayers get tired of paying so much in taxes to keep each county alive. Through consolidation, we can offer more opportunities to our students as the bigger schools do.” Hickman County Magistrate Tommy Roberts on a long-simmering discussion of the possibility of consolidating Hickman and Fulton counties, along with the Hickman County, Fulton County and Fulton Independent school systems.

Counterpoint...

“T

he issue of combining and busing students from Fulton County, Fulton City and Hickman County to a centrally located school would probably in itself end the merger possibility, if put before the people on a referendum.” Hickman City Commissioner Charles Choate on his feelings that any two-county and three-school district consolidation is “unrealistic anytime soon.” From the Fulton Leader.

“I

t is one of the best things that has happened to our schools in a long time. Some of our information about the solar system is from the 1960s.” Kelly Hall, director of curriculum and instruction for the Letcher County Schools, on the impact of a $330,000 federal grant that will upgrade materials and technology in the district’s elementary school libraries. From the Whitesburg Mountain Eagle.

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Proposed legislation in the works By Madelynn Coldiron Staff Writer

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indstorms and a ferocious ice storm clashed head-on with Kentucky’s confusing school calendar requirements in the 2008-09 school year, creating a big headache for many school boards who were forced to make mid-year schedule adjustments. How confusing was it? “I know several districts that before they submitted their calendars to KDE (Kentucky Department of Education) they sent them to each other to check each other, to ask for help: ‘Hey, you look at this and tell me if it looks right to you.’ That’s how much confusion there was,” said Mike Ford, president of the Kentucky Directors of Pupil Personnel. The calendar page may be turning, however, on some of that muddle. Education leaders are drafting legislation that would simplify the skein of rules while giving local boards more flexibility. “We’re looking at simplifying the statutory language in a way where districts can adopt a calendar based on just a couple of criteria,” said Wayne

Young, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Administrators. “One will be the number of instructional hours that are provided to students, which we already have, but we’re going to simplify how we go about that; and secondly, the number of days that students are actually in school.” A school board would have greater flexibility to amend its calendar, as long as it met those two minimums; drafters haven’t decided on the numbers yet. Such a system would remove the length of the school day from the equation: a day, Young said, would be “how many days kids walk through the door,” regardless of length, counterbalanced by the number of school-year hours. “From a DPP’s standpoint, that language would simplify things,” said Ford, who is pupil personnel director for Boone County Schools. Another significant difference between the proposed legislation and the current process is that school boards would not have to get the education department’s approval of any calendar amendments as long as the changes stayed within the two parameters. The proposed legislation also would bury the

“That language is vague – I think it has always caused some confusion.” — Mike Ford, president of the Kentucky Directors of Pupil Personnel, referring to one of Kentucky’s calendar laws. 8 w Kentucky School Advocate w August 2009


notion of what’s commonly called “banked time,” Young said. “Basically, everybody would get credit for the whole time they’re in school, whatever time that is,” he explained. Currently, laws require schools to provide 1,062 hours of instruction and the equivalent of 177 six-hour instructional days, and no less than two six-hour instructional days above those in their 2005-06 school calendar. That latter requirement, which became law in 2008, is problematic, Ford said. “That language is vague – I think it has always caused some confusion,” he said. The streamlined calendar legislation is being backed by 3KT, a group comprised of Young’s KASA, KSBA and the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents. KASA is taking the lead on the issue. Once a satisfactory bill has been hammered out, a legislative sponsor will be sought and the proposed law introduced in the 2010 session of the General Assembly. Dr. Larry Stinson, deputy commissioner for Learning and Results Services at the state education department, said he welcomes the effort. Though the details are still being discussed, he said, “We think it looks good at this point. “We would like to leave some flexibility but at the same time tighten it up a little bit as to how you go about fulfilling the requirements so that it’s clear what the options are and nobody is confused when they get to the end of the year as to whether or not they were in compliance,” he said. The system Young describes also would allow districts to decide how best to accomplish professional development, Stinson said, making it easier to work out early release days for teacher collaboration, for example. Ford said the current laws were a barrier to his district’s development of professional learning communities. “We’re trying to find the time for those PLCs to work together,” he said. “That would give us the opportunity to get off of this very rigid structured calendar mindset and start looking at some true opportunities for our professionals.” The state education department was under fire as it received a flurry of amended calendars following the storms and some districts did not get the approval they sought for waivers. Stinson acknowledged the confusion but said it’s a complex issue for everyone involved. “It’s a little bit complicated in that we have laws that are part of permanent KRS statutes, we have budget bill language from the regular session of the legislature and we have special (session) legislation. And they’re not always worded the same way and they each provide a little different look at things. We have a state board regulation that’s based on the permanent statutory language and some of it is really moot because of some of the temporary legislation that passes,” Stinson said. z

Has your idea taken root and grown into a successful, innovative education program? Nominate it for KSBA’s PEAK (Public Education Achieves in Kentucky) Award For more information about the program, go to www.ksba.org/peak Application deadline is Oct. 9

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When ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ be By Madelynn Coldiron Staff Writer

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bout halfway through June’s graduation ceremony at Casey County High School, Principal Barry Lee said he turned to his assistant principal and whispered, “Something’s getting ready to happen – it’s going too smooth.” But nothing untoward materialized. Lee, who was in his first year as principal last year when the local newspaper took the district to task for the circus-like tone of the event, took a series of steps this year to ensure that students and crowd treated the ceremony more seriously. “It was just more respectful and everybody who was there noticed it,” said school board Chairman Ken Coffman, who was on stage with the rest of the board. Other Kentucky school boards might want to take some tips from Lee in light of the request recently made by Kentucky Board of Education member Austin Moss. Citing the rowdiness that occurred at two graduation ceremonies he attended, Moss called on school boards and superintendents to take action to cut down on spectator noise during graduation ceremonies. Moss, a former Christian County board member, said the noise level was such at the ceremonies he attended that students couldn’t hear their names read and he feared violence might break out at one. “To a certain degree, he has got a point,” said Spencer County Schools Superintendent Chuck Adams. “What used to be a very distinguished ceremony has now turned into a type of zoo atmosphere.” Adams said there were no “severe” issues at Spencer County High School’s graduation 10 w Kentucky School Advocate w August 2009


Photo by the Casey County News

ecomes ‘Pomp and circus-stance’ ceremony this year, but said he is concerned because any noisemaking and whooping from the crowd detracts from the purpose of the occasion. “It made it less distinguished and seemed to put more focus on an individual rather than the ceremony itself,” he said. “It’s become more of a celebration than a formal exercise,” agreed recently retired Morgan County Schools Superintendent Joe Dan Gold. “I’d like for it to be a little more about the graduate than the audience.” Graduation conduct has been an issue for many districts for some time, said Dara Bass, who heads KSBA’s Policy and Procedures Service. Ideally, the board, central office and individual school should be involved in setting the rules, she said. Many districts have a crowd control policy for school events, as well as a civility policy that applies to anyone on school property. Both policies can apply to graduation. The Lincoln County school board has perhaps the toughest and most detailed graduation ceremony policy, allowing the principal to require any disruptive student to appear before the board to receive his or her diploma. However, it does not address crowd behavior. Preparation is the bottom line, Bass said. “Lots of pre-planning is required – and the will to enforce removal of guilty parties or temporarily halt or even cancel the ceremony. These are hard calls,” she said. Heading off problems In Casey County’s case, Lee implemented several changes that made a big difference. To set the tone for the students, Lee talked Continued on the next page

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Continued from previous page

Photos: (Previous page) The new procedures this year at Casey County High School didn’t eliminate the traditional cap throw at the end of the ceremony. (Top right) Casey County Technology Coordinator Jerome Cummins congratulates Chase Dial on his Work Keys certificate. (Right) Amber Hale and Patrick Lawhorn fist bump as they enter the auditorium.

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Photos by the Casey County News

with the seniors, emphasizing a message of respect for their fellow students. To prepare the audience, he used the school’s media center to record a CD announcement that welcomed the graduation crowd and reviewed the rules, such as turning off cell phones and refraining from talking. “People start rolling in about an hour and a half before the ceremony starts so we played that every two minutes,” Lee said. “Some people were joking, ‘I’ve got that in my head now.’” A more serious mood was set by adding extra decorations to the gym – some left over from prom – signifying the special nature of the occasion. The lighting also was dimmed. “This year, we turned the lights off and we only had lights on the stage and on top of the graduates,” Lee said. “It kind of sombered the mood for everyone.” Letcher County Central High School also used that lighting tactic and a more formal atmosphere to good effect this year, said Superintendent Anna Craft. “That was sort of an indication to be quiet and people weren’t visiting as much with each other,” she said. Casey and Letcher high schools also kept their events as short and streamlined as possible to keep the crowd from getting restless. “I think not having lengthy graduation ceremonies is a plus because families bring all the children and the children naturally can’t keep as quiet as adults can,” Craft said. Though the crowd is asked to hold its applause until the end and refrain from “whooping and hollering,” said Lincoln County High School Principal Tim Godbey, “you still have some few rogue parents who will do that.” Some degree of individual cheering can’t be stopped, Craft noted. “It is a celebration of their children and that ceremony belongs to the parents and their students. I think there’s room for celebration without it being unruly,” she said. z


KSBA’s Summer Leadership Institute

A record 320 people attended last month’s Summer Leadership Institute in Lexington. (Photos starting at top and going clockwise) Participants at the summer meeting of the Kentucky Organization of Superintendent Administrative Assistants, which is an umbrella organization of KSBA, stretch at the beginning of a session to wake up their bodies and their minds. KSBA’s governmental relations staff began the process of assembling its agenda for the 2010 legislative session, with the help of board members working in small groups on different areas of priority. Here Paducah Independent board member and KSBA regional Chair Felix Akojie, left, and Jenkins Independent board member and KSBA director-at-large Durward Narramore post their votes. Tom MacDonald, Fleming County’s board attorney and Michelle Williams, Montgomery County’s board attorney attend a session at the Council of School Board Attorneys conference, held in conjunction with KSBA’s institute. At the opening of the Summer Leadership Institute, Jessamine County Schools was presented with the Pro Patria Award in recognition of its support of the Guard and Reserve member employees, their families and their community. Deputy Superintendent Owens Saylor accepted the award from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve official Robert S. Silverthorn Jr., at far right. Standing in back, from left, are school board member Gene Peel; Kentucky National Guard Sgt. 1st Class John Hazlett, a teacher at Rosenwald Dunbar Elementary; and U.S. Army Reserve 1st Sgt. J. Matthew LaBarbara, a teacher at West Jessamine Middle School. Seated are preschool panelists Cindy Heine and Nancy Lovett.

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KSBA Summer Leadership Institute

Just their type

Pegging personalities is key to a board team relationship, speaker says By Madelynn Coldiron Staff Writer

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chool board members who attended KSBA’s Summer Leadership Institute last month may be looking at their fellow board members – and superintendent – in a whole new way. In a plenary session punctuated by sometimesuproarious exercises, leadership trainer Greg McKenzie helped board members learn to recognize personality types, with the goal of improving board team relationships and becoming better leaders. People can change their behavior styles under normal circumstances, he said, but under stressful or challenging situations—such as those faced by board members – they predictably fall back on their natural behavior type. “We can choose to be whatever we want to be from a behavior standpoint when there’s no stress or there’s no crisis or duress,” said McKenzie, Plenary speaker Greg McKenzie led the record 320 attendees in a lively session who is based in Oregon. “However, when backed designed to help them understand different personality types – and thereby better understand their own board team dynamics. McKenzie is president and founder of into a corner we’ll migrate toward what we’re Window to Leadership. most comfortable doing. So it’s predictable where your fellow board members will go in times that different styles have different needs and different characof stress. Knowing that is helpful in managing conflict so it teristics is critical,” he said. doesn’t paralyze your organization.” Obviously, board members can’t administer questionnaires The patterns of behavior to look for, he said, are whether a to figure out the behavioral style of each other and those with person normally focuses on people or the task, and whether he whom they interact in order to improve their leadership and or she is assertive or cooperative. minimize conflict. But McKenzie said careful observation and Within those patterns are four communication styles: listening skills will yield clues. expressive types who seek appreciation; amiable types who Good listening skills, both in terms of body language and want to get along; driver types who want to get the job done; verbal responses, “can make a big difference in how you’re and analytical types who want to get the job done right. Each perceived by those you’re talking to or listening to,” he said. of these has a full range of characteristic behaviors. McKenzie McKenzie also led the group in a discussion about what conproved his points by giving attendees a questionnaire designed stitutes leadership, noting that, “Being authoritarian doesn’t to identify their own style: They then formed groups based necessarily equate to being a good leader. on their types and conducted several exercises that revealed, “The key to successful leadership is by inspiring and motiremarkably, that for the most part their readings were correct. vating others to be the best they can be,” he said. “Leadership The exercises also uncovered differences in how each group is given to you – you don’t get to take it from anybody.” likes to receive instructions and how each perceives the other “This was good,” said Mason County board Vice Chairbehavioral types. man Martin Wallingford following McKenzie’s presentation. The variation in behavioral types can create tension on a He agreed with the outcome of his questionnaire and with the school board, which can be defused by understanding these entire premise. “I see the differences between myself and other differences, McKenzie said. The driver may want to make a demembers of the board of education,” he said. cision and move on, while an analytical board member might New Jessamine County board member Amy Day said the inwant more data and detail first. Each type responds differformation helped her “see where other people might be” when ently to stress – expressive types can attack when stressed, for the board is looking to arrive at a common goal. example, while drivers may become autocratic. For Marion County board member Alex Akermann, the A board chair should be patient enough to understand this, message was similar. “That helped me understand communiMcKenzie said. cative dynamics and how the differences in individuals can be “Whenever you’re in a leadership position, understanding combined as a strength,” she said. z 14 w Kentucky School Advocate w August 2009


KSBA Summer Leadership Institute

Unified message: Investment in early childhood education pays off By Madelynn Coldiron Staff Writer

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arly childhood education saves money for society, provides a high rate of return for the investment and helps level the playing field for low-income children. And it’s just the right thing to do. That was the message school board members attending KSBA’s Summer Leadership Institute heard, bolstered by both science and practical actions presented by three experts on the subject. The two-day training for a record crowd of 320 was held July 10-11 in Lexington. Tom Lottman, deputy director of the northern Kentucky-based Children, Inc., provided eye-opening data, explaining the intricacies of early brain development during a panel presentation. The brain is undeveloped at birth, he said, forging the most connections between brain cells before a child is 6 years old. “It is as if in the first years of life we are wiring brains for hope and opportunity,” he said. The irony is that the brain is most malleable in the first three years of life, yet the government spends less for health, education and welfare on that age group than any other, according to Lottman. A child’s brain expects and depends on experiences, and its development depends on being used, he said. “There are certain time frames for development of particular parts of the brain – some these critical periods are unforgiving,” Lottman said. School boards need to focus on early childhood education because it’s an economic issue, an education issue and a “moral imperative” to reach out to disadvantaged young children, he said. “The research is really clear: children who start school behind, stay behind.” Losing ground Cindy Heine, associate executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, also pointed to research demonstrating the impact of early childhood education. It’s not just helpful to low-income children, she noted. “Even those

middle-income kids come to kindergarten with gaps.” Remediation is expensive, she said, and “If we start early and give children a solid foundation, we can save a lot down the road.” Heine noted that Kentucky was a leader in preschool education when education reform was implemented in 1990, but “we’re now starting to get behind.” The Prichard Committee’s Strong Start initiative advocates voluntary preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds, based on a collaborative model involving local child care providers and Head Start. Only 38 percent of Kentucky children of those ages are served by public preschool or Head Start, Heine said. She gave an overview of the state’s early childhood programs, including the 2000 legislation that established Kids Now, a comprehensive initiative to promote the safety and healthy growth and development of young children. But, she warned, tobacco settlement money and not a permanent funding source supports the project. “We’re going to need to be thinking down the road of where the money is going to come from to continue these initiatives,” she said. Resources and reaching out Nancy Lovett, director of the Calloway County Early Childhood Regional Training Center, briefed board members on a resource their districts can use to boost their early childhood efforts, reminding them that quality early childhood programs can alleviate the achievement gap. The five Early Childhood Regional Training Centers – based at the Calloway, Simpson and Anderson county districts and the Berea and Ashland independent districts – provide free services to all school systems. The help includes training for districts based on their needs, consultation at the district and classroom levels, a lending library and an annual conference. “You do have a training and technical assistance provider available to you at no charge,” Lovett said. Preschool teachers also can visit the state’s model demonstration classrooms as well as programs that have been designated as a center of quality or a center of excellence by meeting state criteria. Bill Scott, KSBA’s executive director, provided other practical suggestions, pointing to several ways school boards can take up the cause of early childhood education: • Incorporate early childhood outcomes in the district improvement plan. • Put the topic on the board meeting agenda for discussion of the district’s program and how it measures against national and other standards. • Hold a board meeting at a district preschool facility. • Invite potential partners, such as child care providers and Head Start staff to discuss collaboration with the district’s efforts. z Daviess County school board member Dianne Mackey follows up with a question to Tom Lottman following a panel discussion on early childhood education. Lottman is deputy executive director of Children, Inc.

August 2009 w Kentucky School Advocate w 15


Summer learning looking up in Nelson County By Mary Branham

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tudents check in at the cafeteria in New Haven School and make a beeline for the books. They hungrily peruse the titles of this week’s selections for just the right one to take home, then settle in to steal a few minutes scanning their choice as they wait for story time to begin. It’s a weekly ritual for these youngsters, albeit a little odd for a warm sunny morning. “This is a different type of school,” said Jennifer Dones, 8, one of about 75 kids who forgo the regular summertime activities one morning a week to take part in Nelson County Schools’ summer program – On the Road to Learning – offered through the family resource center serving Boston and New Haven schools. She speaks the truth. Students learn about paleontology by digging for “fossils” in a chocolate chip cookie. They learn counting and fractions by working with Hershey’s Kisses. They learn new and difficult words by playing Bingo. And because of teacher Sabrina Fleming’s heritage, they’re learning some basic German. “You want kids to learn but you want them to learn at an angle to where it’s fun, to where it’s exciting,” said Fleming. “I think that’s what’s so great about this program … coming up with ways the children learn all of the content that they are supposed to learn but in a fun way.” Based on anecdotal evidence after last year, the first year of the program, that concept seems to be working, according to Christy VanDeventer, coordinator of the family resource center involved in the program. “We have some kids that we know if they are not with us through the summer not only is the downtime going 16 16 ww Kentucky Kentucky School School Advocate Advocate ww August August 2009 2009


to be hard on them, their progression is going to take another four to six weeks after school begins,” said VanDeventer. “If we can meet with them and work with them now it may only take a week or two to get on board with the grade level.” Feedback from teachers supports that notion. Students involved in the program last year, VanDeventer said, “were able to hit the ground running.” Teacher Cindy Simpson offers this measure of success: “One of the parents this year told me the reason her son (an incoming kindergartener) started reading last year was because of our program.” VanDeventer hopes to have test data to measure the program’s success after this summer. The program targets students ages 4 to 12. VanDeventer developed the concept for the program about seven years ago, but didn’t act on it until last year. Her initial goal was to get a mini school bus to take out into the communities where students live. “I have students that I know need intervention,” she said. “If I could just get into the little nooks and crannies of their neighborhoods, it would be perfect.” The program isn’t quite to that level, but it is offered in three sites in each of the two communities it services – at each school and in two churches in those communities. That, said Nelson County Assistant Superintendent Mark Thomas, has contributed to the program’s success. “It’s not a ‘come to us and we’ll help you,’” said Thomas, a former principal at New Haven School. “It’s ‘we’ll come to you.’” That has added to the community support for the program, Thomas said. Dr. Jan Lantz, superintendent of Nelson County Schools, said the addition this year of a GED component in the summer program offers even more to those communities. “Clearly the education of students is not just about the students themselves but also often is a whole-family issue,” she said. Parents can take GED classes through the family resource centers at the school. “Oftentimes if youngsters can see mom or dad are learning at the same time it sets a wonderful role model,” Lantz said. “It’s a win win win. It’s a win for the school system, a win for the parent, and certainly it’s a win for the child.” The program is funded partially from the family resource center’s budget, and has received a $2,000 grant each year from the Nelson County schools’ endow-

ment fund. VanDeventer has also applied for a grant from United Way. In addition, the program has received book donations from several sources in and outside Nelson County. “I think the good part is that the community is a part of it,” said Larry Pate, a member of the Nelson County Board of Education whose district encompasses the Boston area. “It’s keeping that learning going throughout the summer rather than having a down spell,” said Thomas. The kids would agree, even if they don’t recognize that they are learning. “It’s just great knowing they have a program like this during the summer where we can be with friends,” said Haleigh Cooper, 8. To many, the hour and a half one morning each week is just plain fun. “We get to play games, and we get to do science and color,” said Max Dickerson, 8, his voice rising to emphasize his point: “I love it.” z — Branham is a writer from Frankfort

Photo opposite page: Nelson County teacher Shay Rogers, left, shows Jennifer Dones some unmixed salt granules in water during a science experiment at New Haven School. Photos this page: (Top right) Cody Daughtery, left, and Cody Clements stir food coloring into water for a science experiment to “stack” water. After the salt and blue food coloring, students added a yellow food coloring ever so slightly to create a level of green atop the blue. Right: Alaya Dewitt, left, watches as teacher Sabrina Fleming, who hails from Germany, reviews the colors in German.

August August 2009 2009 ww Kentucky Kentucky School School Advocate Advocate ww 17 17


Ed tech

Paper-pushing process perishing in Madison By Jennifer Wohlleb Staff writer

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rom requesting a field trip to getting it approved to assigning a bus for it, the process has become paperless – and faster – in Madison County Schools. The district contracted with a new software company last school year to help manage its transportation needs, and one of its features is an online program that manages the field trip process from beginning to end. Transportation Director Skip Benton said the Transfinder software not only eliminates paper, but also cuts down on errors and allows the person requesting the field trip to watch it progress through the system. “Under the old system, the teacher would fill out a paper form and send it to the principal, and from that point on she doesn’t know anything about where that paper form is in the system until she gets an authorization form back that it’s been approved or denied by the principal or superintendent,” he said. “Now, if a teacher is wondering about the status of her field trip request, she can go to the field trip program that shows all of the trips requested from her school by color code, and if hers is yellow it tells her the principal hasn’t acted on this yet and maybe she needs to go ask the principal about it.” He said the district used to require at least 10 days’ notice under the old system. Now it’s only five. “Before, it had to go from teacher’s classroom to the principal’s office, his in box, and when is he

going to fool with his in box,” Benton asked. “And when he does fool with it, he has to handle that paper and send it to the central office. If he’s in Berea, it’s not going to get there today, so the next time someone goes to the central office, it will go along with possibly hundreds of other documents.” Somebody at central office then had to sort through the papers and get that request form to the superintendent, who would approve or deny it and then send it back to school, with a copy to the transportation department. “You’re talking a week or more,” Benton said. Madison Superintendent Tommy Floyd said the online process is great from a bookkeeping point of view. “Why that is so important is that it gives us a step-by-step process for when people request a bus so we can see who did, who’s going, what fund code, where they are going, who’s the driver,” he said. “There is a set pattern, process, which is easily maintained and monitored.” He said it also has had the unintended consequence of encouraging teachers and coaches to make their requests within required window of time. “It is a computer program,” he said. “It doesn’t understand why you didn’t get your bus request in on time, it only knows that you can’t now because you didn’t do it in time. And guess what? Everybody seems to get their bus request in now.” Kevin Combs, principal of Clark Moores Middle School, said the enforced preplanning has eliminated a lot of last-minute problems.

Teachers who have made an electronic field trip request in Madison County Schools can go to this Web page to see where their request is in the system. The color coding of the request changes with each step is goes through in the approval process.

18 w Kentucky School Advocate w August 2009


ksbit corner

Q:

starting the school year safe

As the new school year is opening, do you have any tips for making sure our school buildings are safe and ready for students and staff? Joe Isaacs: Now is a good time to review your buildings to make certain there are no potential hazards awaiting students when they return. Here is a quick checklist:

“What’s best about it is it puts the responsibility on all parties to get things submitted in a timely manner,” he said. “If you go in within that five-day window, it will kick you back out. It won’t even deal with you.” He said the program also allows coaches whose teams travel frequently during a season to enter all of their trip requests at once, rather than individually. Combs said the district has had to spend some time training staff members and will do so again this coming year, but called it a smooth process. “It’s worked really well for us,” he said. School board Chairwoman Becky Coyle said the program has been positive in every aspect, including some that were unexpected. “Technology is where it’s at. We have to learn to use what’s coming out,” she said. “It’s not us that we’re teaching, it’s the students and they are into technology and we’ve got to keep them up on it. It’s the same with the teachers. Some of them may be reluctant to move into new technologies, but if you give them something simple like this – requesting something online – they can get the feel for it and realize that it’s not a scary thing.” z

For more information concerning playground and building safety, contact one of KSBIT’s risk control and safety specialists. — Isaacs is the Risk Control and Safety Manager for the Kentucky School Boards Insurance Trust, KSBA’s insurance and risk management service. z

Photo provided by Madison County Schools

• Test all emergency lighting and inspect the “Exit” signs. • Check doors to ensure they properly close and lock. • Remove all stored materials from the hallways to prevent trips and falls, and eliminate blocked egress routes. • Review playgrounds, playing particular attention to the protective surfacing. Also, inspect the playground equipment to ensure it is operating

safely. Make sure there is no exposed hardware to catch clothing and no free-hanging ropes attached to the equipment. • Evaluate visitor sign-in procedures. • Review your parent/guardian sign-out procedures. • Make sure there are no exposed electrical wires. Inspect outlets and electrical cords. Lock all breaker panel boxes in hallways and common areas. • Keep locked all custodial closets, mechanical rooms, and storage areas.

Kit Carson Elementary first graders go on a field trip to PetSmart in Nicholasville to accompany their classmate, Julie Kay, who received a medical assistance dog through the Canine Assistance Program in Atlanta. Julie attends classes at Kit Carson Elementary via Web cam every day.

August 2009 w Kentucky School Advocate w 19


in conversation with ...

Teresa Combs KSBA attorney

In Conversation With…features an interview between a leader or figure involved in public education and a staff member of the Kentucky School Advocate. This month’s conversation is with KSBA Attorney Teresa Combs, who discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Forest Grove school district case, in which it ruled that the public school district had to reimburse a family for the tuition it had paid a private school for their son’s attendance. The court ruled that the school did not meet its obligations when it failed repeatedly to recognize that the student was eligible for special education services.

Q.

Can you please explain the details of the Forest Grove case, how it got started and how we wound up here?

“The public perception of this opinion is that parents don’t even have to give the public school system a chance to educate their child, and that is not what this case stands for ... this court very clearly looked at this and said the parents had been trying to cooperate and the district had had the chance to educate the child.”

20 w Kentucky School Advocate w August 2009

A.

There is a provision in IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ) that says if a student receives special education services from the public school district prior to the private school enrollment, then if the parent gives timely notice to the school district the family may be reimbursed for the private school expenses if it is determined the district failed to provide a free appropriate public education. Procedurally, the Supreme Court felt the family in this case had been treated badly by the public school district and it was going to right a wrong. This student had been in this district from kindergarten to the middle of his junior year of high school and had trouble paying attention in class, completing assignments, and other problems all through those years. His teachers testified to that. Even though he had all these documented problems, no one referred him for special services until he was in high school. When he got into his freshman year, his mother became really concerned and contacted the school psychologist. The district did some testing and decided he didn’t need special education services. The mother didn’t challenge it at that time. When she had a lot of problems getting him through his sophomore

year his mother had some private evaluations conducted. He was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder) by the private evaluator, as well as some other disabilities related to learning and memory. The student had also developed some drug and alcohol problems. The private specialist advised the parents to enroll the child in a structured, residential program to get him through high school, and he did graduate from the private high school on time. Four days after the private school enrollment, the parents got themselves an attorney and filed for a hearing to get their tuition reimbursed. Apparently the district did not go back and examine what its staff had done. The staff should have found him eligible and did not; they did not handle the required meetings correctly. The district said the family’s private school reimbursement claim wasn’t valid because the child never received special education services from it first. All through the litigation, the district focused on the legal arguments, not on its staff performance in conducting the evaluations and meetings or serving the student. As the Supreme Court said, if you go strictly by the statement in the law that a parent may receive such reimbursement if the student has received “special education services” from the public district, and the district never identifies the kid, the parents would never get reimbursement for appropriate services. That was one of the big issues to the Supreme Court.


Apparently the district didn’t give much consideration to the outside evaluation. After the family sued, the district tested the student again and still found he wasn’t eligible for special education or 504 services. Under Section 504 (a federal civil rights law that covers all individuals with disabilities), the student could have been placed for 504 services based on a substantial limit on any major life activity that considerably limited his access to a school activity offered to all students, even though he may not have met more exacting state criteria for special education eligibility. Even if the state/district had real stringent requirements as to test scores or discrepancies for specific learning disability identification, it probably could have found him below average in performance and easily fit him under 504. But it didn’t find him eligible for any help, and that was the problem. Basically, the district staff did not go back and look at their past sins, because if they had looked at his entire school career, they would have realized they did not initially test for all disabilities. Even though there were staff notes that ADHD needed to be considered, no one followed up on that in the initial evaluation. If they had, the student likely would have qualified for Section 504 services. The court said the district failed in its Child Find obligation. The district’s Child Find Obligation is to find out if a child needs special education or Section 504 services. This school district erred in its responsibilities and litigated the case without going back and looking to see what it had done wrong.

Q.

What are the short-term implications of this ruling for school districts?

A.

The short-term implications are, because of the way the case has been described in the media, we’re going to have – we already have had –a number of private-school parents calling public school districts wanting to know when they are going to give them their money for private school. They don’t understand that the court made its decision based on the fact this district had really failed in its legal obligations to the child.

Q.

Will other districts pay the price for this school district

not meeting its obligations?

A.

In this case, the district had the chance to appropriately educate the child. I think that as a matter of case law precedent we can distinguish this situation from a parent who never gave the public district a chance to do that. Now, whether the courts will make that distinction, we don’t know if they will or won’t. I hope they will. I think in the future when attorneys litigate this, they are really going to have to point out that this district had the opportunity to properly educate the child and didn’t in order to distinguish the two different situations.

Q.

So as long as school districts are doing their due diligence, should this ruling cause them concern?

A.

It depends on how some of the lower courts interpret the decision and how much they understand about it. Districts need to properly train their staff on evaluating every suspected area of disability. When I train district staff, I stress that they should follow up on every issue raised. That’s the issue here; this district did not look at every area of suspected disability under IDEA and Section 504 to try to assist the child. If a child has a diagnosis as this one did and it looks like he falls under 504, don’t just consider IDEA and not even consider 504. The problem with placing students for 504 services is that districts get no money to implement 504 services. Also, a lot of districts’ staff don’t understand 504; a lot of lawyers don’t understand about 504. To receive 504 services the child has to be significantly below his peers. Students don’t have to have certain test scores or other criteria, unless the state or district sets them. This district did not initially consider the student for 504 services. Even during the second evaluation performed after the parent had placed the student in private school and sued the district, staff did not find the student eligible for 504 services. Staff must be trained to plan evaluations and understand IDEA and Section 504 criteria; that’s the key.

Q. A.

Are there any long-term implications?

If districts don’t appropriately train their staff, they are going to get hit with a whole lot of these cases and are going to lose a lot of these cases. They need to make sure they are trained in IDEA and 504. Also, if they get a complaint in-house from a parent, or they have a child with a continuous problem, they need to go back and dig through the paperwork to see if they have decent documentation that their staff previously conducted things correctly. You cannot just hang your hat on some stand-alone legal provision and not consider that courts will examine everything the district did or did not do for that child regarding IDEA and Section 504 services.

Q.

I know this process is meant to be a team effort between the parent and the school team, but it often becomes adversarial. Do you think this court decision will affect this relationship even more?

A.

The public perception of this opinion is that parents don’t even have to give the public school system a chance to educate their child, and that is not what this case stands for. How this opinion will be interpreted by lower courts, we don’t know because this Court very clearly looked at this and said the parents had been trying to cooperate and the district had had the chance to educate the child. But parents are going to think that if they don’t like the sound of their child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), they don’t even have to put their child in public school to get the district to pay for a private program. I don’t think that is what this opinion stands for.

Q.

So parents shouldn’t read this case as a blank check to a private school?

A.

They need to understand they have to give the district the opportunity to educate their child. If there is a situation where they’ve given the public district an opportunity and they can prove the district is not properly educating their child, then that’s a different case. But given the headlines, I think parents are going to think they can reject that IEP out of hand and collect their private school money. z

August 2009 w Kentucky School Advocate w 21


get your message out

W

Keep the special session focus on old schools alive

state’s largest districts as well as some of the elcome back, students, to our smallest. Six had schools on the House list ongoing class on how to effor Urgent Needs construction money. Anfectively communicate the need other half dozen either had a race track and for adequate funding of Kentucky’s public its related jobs in or near their communities. schools. Before we start this semester, let’s Each voiced an opinion, unlike the House review the headlines, sound bites and quotes debate, where most lawmakers ventured from the media coverage of this summer’s nothing beyond their electronically cast vote. special legislative session. They spoke uniformly about the dire More than 100 elementary or secondary financial conditions most Kentucky school schools are in need of immediate replaceBrad Hughes systems face. Almost to a person, they also ment or major renovation because they are: KSBA Member • Old Support Services Director bemoaned the link between helping the horse racing industry and crumbling schools • Old and unsafe on the one hand and providing more ways • Old and unhealthy for people to gamble family resources on the other. • Old and overcrowded There, however, their positions diverged, just like the citizens • Old and poorly designed that both board members and legislators represent. • Old and in the wrong place Some articulated their feelings about the money of Kentuck• Old and (insert your local reason here) ians going to support schools in Illinois, Indiana and West Add to this some legislators’ contention that the process of Virginia through gaming opportunities in those states. identifying schools in the worst physical shape and most need Others affirmed the apprehension about the social costs of of replacement isn’t working properly. compulsive gambling and resources squandered on a game of That set the stage for the June 19 House of Representatives’ chance instead of a hot meal for a child. consideration of whether to authorize video lottery terminals A few said the people of their communities would not sup(read: slot machines) at Kentucky racetracks. If the bill passed, port slots, so neither would they. A few others concluded that House leaders would amend the budget fix bill, allocating although they felt their constituents overwhelmingly would some of the projected new revenues to school systems and approve a gaming measure, they could not favor the issue. building projects. Throughout the monologues, there were frequent pauses, The resulting floor debate was three-and-a-half hours of grimaces and other signs of the discomfort the subject caused legislative discourse unmatched in recent sessions. these elected officials. Many were obviously more comfortThere were enthusiasm and eloquence, disappointment and able pressing for a quality assessment of student learning than dissatisfaction, partisanship and statesmanship. The final vote pleading for gaming proceeds to repair a school. But there also tally was one beyond the minimum for passage. Proponents were voices adamant about the limited opportunities for new included Rep. Will Coursey (D-Benton) who told the Louisrevenues targeting K-12 schools and their fears that this was a ville Courier-Journal that he had spoken “with a number of prospect for new funding for education that was slipping away. school superintendents and school board members and folks I No formal vote was asked and some speakers spent as much wouldn’t have imagined would have supported the legislation time favoring the pro as the con. One observer’s headcount had and they’re in favor of it.” it dead even among those whose intent could be discerned. Now that’s a grassroots lobbying success story. Ultimately, the lobbying team got its sought-after guidance Yet there was another debate on the same topic just 24 hours on two fronts. One was a unanimous opinion that the state later, while the slots-for-schools campaign was still going must find new resources for education. That was married to a on. This discussion didn’t have the spotlight of live Internet deeply divided position as to whether school leaders consider streaming or an on-the-record vote but the participants were expanded gaming as the golden goose or Pandora’s Box. no less earnest and committed. The Last Word Leaders torn yet together So here we are, six months away from a biennial budgetOn June 20, 21 local board of education members sat down building legislative session. in Frankfort for the quarterly meeting of the KSBA Board of Will the zeal to fix Kentucky’s identified ramshackle school Directors. Despite stern predictions of death in the state Senate, buildings resurface among legislators come January 2010? Will the fate of the $1 billion in education facility funding remained those school leaders persuaded by the attention of the special uncertain. Slots advocates and opponents wanted KSBA to take session become an even stronger grassroots force for funding? a position, and the lobbying team wanted guidance. Within the answers to those questions rests a message worth For the better part of an hour, one-by-one, school board getting out. z members spoke their mind. They represented some of the 22 w Kentucky School Advocate w August 2009


"A brighter future through better public schools"

260 Democrat Drive Frankfort, KY 40601

Nonprofit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Permit 850 Lexington, KY

Creating a new crop of scientists in Adair Dozens of Adair County elementary students were in class for a week this summer…and they weren’t one bit unhappy. That’s because the district’s Camp Invention afforded them a dazzling array of math and science enrichment classes. Coordinator Sandy Sinclair and the staff and volunteers are justified in their pride. The national Camp Invention organization recently chose the Adair County program as a national model. Left: Emily Miller, left, a third-grader at John Adair Intermediate School and Alex Trotter, a second-grader at Colonel William Casey Elementary, create a story about the science behind superheroes in this class on Comic Book Science. Participants explored issues from speed and strength to properties of liquids and genetics. Below left: In this Land Sled X-Treme class, students used tape, boxes and skateboards to build their own vehicles, which had to withstand a grueling obstacle course run. Left: Early civilizations had to create tools to accomplish tasks, so among the projects in this course, Viking Treasure Trek: The Question Begins, students had to take recycled materials and create a rod that would enable them to reach a point without the pole falling apart.


August 2009  

The flagship publication of the Kentucky School Boards Association

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