A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Public school graduation rate increases, more students attain ACT readiness benchmark scores

The percentage of Kentucky public school students graduating from high school continued to increase; more students took rigorous Advanced Placement tests and earned a qualifying score of 3 or higher; and students scored higher with a greater percentage of them meeting readiness benchmarks on the ACT, according to 2016-17 assessment data released Thursday by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). Kentucky...

Kentucky Education Department recognizes 10 public schools for outstanding teaching, learning conditions

The Kentucky Department of Education recognized 10 Kentucky public schools on Monday for outstanding teaching and learning conditions. These Winners’ Circle schools were recognized for their effective teaching and school leadership practices and will be shared as models of best practices across the state. The Winners’ Circle schools were selected based upon the results of the 2017 Teaching, Empowering,...

Students in grades 8-12 encouraged to apply for spots on Commissioner’s Advisory Council

Public school students in grades 10-12 are invited to apply for membership on the Commissioner’s Student Council, an advisory group that provides input and feedback to Kentucky Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt. The council also is designed to engage student leaders in learning by doing. The Commissioner’s Student Council is a year-long program. The group will meet with the commissioner...

Latest ACT results show state ‘still has some serious work ahead of us,’ Pruitt says

The percentage of Kentucky public high school graduates meeting the state’s college-readiness benchmarks on the ACT college-entrance exam in reading and mathematics increased marginally, but slightly fewer students met the state English benchmark, according to data released Thursday by ACT. Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt said the report indicates that Kentucky still has “some serious work...

Stephen Pruitt: Meeting both the mental and emotional needs of our most vulnerable children

By Stephen Pruitt Special to KyForward The numbers are sobering. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide was the second leading cause of death in 2015 among those aged 15-24. And the National Alliance on Mental Illness says 90 percent of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Kentucky is not immune to the prevalence of mental illness or suicide. In a 2016...

U of L College of Education kicks off pilot program to inspire Kentucky students to become teachers

What’s the secret to inspiring more Kentucky high school students to become teachers? Answer: start early, offer hands-on learning, provide access to experienced educators and help students earn college credit while still in high school. Those are the main goals of a University of Louisville College of Education and Human Development initiative that kicks off this semester. The Teaching and Learning...

Pruitt, education partners announce expanded computer science opportunities for state students

Kentucky Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt, state and national partners from AdvanceKentucky, the College Board, Code.org and state Sen. David Givens gathered Tuesday at Glasgow High School to announce a new computer science initiative that will expand computer science learning opportunities for Kentucky public school students. “The United States currently has more than 494,000 unfilled computing...

Kentucky Education Commissioner asks public to offer feedback on Every Student Succeeds plan

Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt is encouraging all Kentuckians to read and offer feedback on the draft Consolidated State Plan Under the Every Student Succeeds Act that lays out a blueprint for public education in Kentucky. Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), state education...

Testing the Waters: Teachers take to the water to become more familiar with environmental education

By Bobby Ellis Kentucky Teacher A job can’t always be glamorous, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. A group of teachers from across the state slipped on their waterproof shoes, or slipped off their socks, and waded into a creek behind Pulaski County High School earlier this summer. Some slipped and almost fell, others were harassed by mosquitoes, and all of them dug through mud looking for...

Students from 26 Kentucky counties among top finishers in FCCLA national conference competition

Students from 26 Kentucky counties were among the top finishers in competitions at the 2017 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) National Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. FCCLA is a national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address important personal, family, work and societal issues through family and consumer sciences education....

State education department budget request may need additional $800 million for 2018-20

The Kentucky Board of Education started talking about what to include in its 2018-20 biennial budget request during its August meeting. According to Kentucky Department of Education staff, additional money will be needed to implement Senate Bill 1 (2017) for a study to ensure assessments are aligned with standards, test item development, an additional college admissions exam, industry certification...

Staged discipline plan could be answer to teacher concerns about managing student conduct

By Brenna R. Kelly Kentucky Teacher When students are sent to in-school suspension for behavioral problems, they might be getting instruction, but it’s not same instruction they would be getting in their classes. Brandon Hensley, an 8th-grade language arts teacher at Southern Middle School (Pulaski County), recalled one student who served 36 days of in-school suspension (ISS) in one year. “He missed...

Department of Education names Earl Simms director of newly created Division of Charter Schoools

The Kentucky Department of Education has named Earl Simms as the Director of its newly created Division of Charter Schools in the Office of Legal, Legislative and Communication Services. Simms has nine years of experience working to improve urban education in the state of Missouri, most recently as the St. Louis director of the Office of Charter Schools with the University of Missouri College of Education....

Unusual Classroom: Kentucky teachers find out how Louisville Zoo can be a valuable educational tool

By Bobby Ellis Special to KyForward As a group of teachers from across the state entered the room for one recent professional learning session, they were greeted by some animals that you don’t normally see in a reception area. In a pen in the center of the room, an armadillo ran excitedly back and forth. A hedgehog sat in the hands of Jo Barrett, sniffing the air. And around the outside of the room,...

Time to Make Doughnuts: Metcalfe County students turn vacant cafeteria into bakery — and get paid

By Brenna R. Kelly Kentuckyteacher.org It’s 4 a.m. when five Metcalfe County High School students roll into the Old School Café. It will be hours before most of their classmates get out of bed. But for these students, it’s time to make the doughnuts. By 6 a.m. the display case at the café, housed in the old Metcalfe County High School cafeteria, will be filled with fresh doughnuts – chocolate,...

Bevin establishes Charter Schools Advisory Council, reorganizes key education boards and committees

Gov. Matt Bevin signed an executive order Friday that establishes the Kentucky Charter Schools Advisory Council to ensure successful implementation of House Bill 520 (HB 520). The order also realigns key education boards, councils and committees to provide an efficient, modern structure for implementing Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) and provides for greater coordination of efforts across the education system,...

Pruitt: With input from across the state, new education accountability system nearing completion

By Mike Marsee Special to KyForward Kentucky’s new accountability system has thousands of fingerprints on it as it nears the end of a year-long assembly line, but Stephen Pruitt couldn’t be more proud of it if he had built it entirely by himself. The process of developing the new system has involved more than 3,500 shareholders, with the work taking place in meeting rooms and auditoriums from...

Fayette County Board of Education adopts tentative $492 million budget focused on investing in students

On the heels of receiving assurance from the Kentucky Department of Education that the school district is on the right track, the Fayette County Board of Education unanimously approved a 2017-18 tentative budget that includes significant investments to ensure that a student’s demography does not determine his or her destiny. “Developing a school district budget goes beyond juggling numbers to balance...

Cooper High School’s Clark named 2018 Kentucky Teacher of the Year; Furman takes elementary title

Kellie Clark, a 16-year veteran teacher at Randall K. Cooper High School in Boone County, is the 2018 Kentucky Teacher of the Year. Valvoline, Inc. and the Kentucky Department of Education made the announcement Tuesday at a ceremony held at the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort. Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton; Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Director Mardi Montgomery; Commissioner of Education Stephen...

State education department advances academic standards review and revision process

The Kentucky Department of Education is moving forward with the review and revision process for academic standards in English/language arts and mathematics. The state’s current English/language arts and mathematics standards have been taught in Kentucky classrooms since 2011. Standards outline what students are taught – what they are expected to learn in each grade in order to successfully transition...