A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Good Shepherd, Rotary Club are faithful backers at FCPS Booker T. Washington Elementary

Dozens of community members volunteer countless hours to give extra attention to the children and support to the staff at Booker T. Washington Elementary. Monica Hall, the school’s Family Resource Center coordinator, certainly appreciates all their efforts. “The relationships are huge,” she said.

Two of those groups – the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd and the Rotary Club of Lexington – were among five high-performing community partners that received Golden Apple Awards in 2016-17, and they continue to invest quality time, energy, and expertise through committed programs that benefit the school and the district overall.

Good Shepherd member Nancy Davis, who started mentoring at BTW about six years ago, works with a third-grader this semester (Photo from FCPS)

A prime example is the one-to-one reading initiative that draws 45 literacy coaches from Good Shepherd.

“It’s a big part of our outreach program,” said member Nancy Davis, who started mentoring at BTW about six years ago. “I really enjoy it and feel like I make a difference. It’s just rewarding to see a child you can help.”

Husband Charley soon followed her lead. “She had such a good experience, I wanted to try it out,” he said, noting, “When a mentoring session really clicks, there’s nothing more satisfying.”

The literacy coaches practice reading with students for 45 minutes one day each week, and Hall has noticed corresponding increases in test scores during the past several years. “It’s also about trust, communication, and confidence in reading,” she added.

As retirees reinvesting in their community, the Davises donate several hours a week to BTW. In addition to spending individual time with a pair of third-graders, they organize the weekend backpack program in which Good Shepherd delivers 65 food bags to go home with children who otherwise might not have enough to eat. The Davises also wash fresh apples or mandarin oranges to add to the backpacks.

Meanwhile, the Rotary Club has fostered enduring ties with Booker T. Washington as well. “It takes all kinds of organizations to support these kids. We fill a void there hopefully,” said Peggy Trafton, the club’s executive director.

The Rotarians host a winter holiday party at Fasig-Tipton for two dozen students and a fifth-grade graduation celebration at Spindletop Hall in the spring. “It is incredible, and they’re so appreciative and polite. The thank-you notes we get are heartfelt,” Trafton said. The club also provides hot meals and gasoline cards for door prizes at the school’s Born Learning family workshops.

Local businessman Dean Hammond Jr., a past president, noted that Rotary is one of the oldest service organizations in the country. “We are about doing good in the community, and that’s why we connect with the school,” he said, yet “No matter how many of us do something, there’s more to be done.”

Golden Apple winners

In this special series, Fayette County Public Schools is highlighting its high-performing community partners who received Golden Apple Awards for their efforts in 2016-17. 

Mark Keith – individual award recipient; school partner with The Academy for Leadership at Millcreek Elementary
Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd – faith-based organizations; school partner with Booker T. Washington Elementary
Rotary Club of Lexington – community organizations/nonprofits; school partner with Booker T. Washington Elementary
Community Action Council – community organizations/nonprofits category; district partner
Tates Creek Christian Church – faith-based organizations; school partner with Julius Marks Elementary

From Fayette County Public Schools

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