A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Fayette County Public Schools begins recruitment of candidates to fill superintendent vacancy

The Fayette County Board of Education on Wednesday announced the nationwide search to find the new superintendent for Kentucky’s second-largest school system is underway. The Superintendent Profile, developed with the community’s input, is now posted on FCPS’s dedicated Superintendent Search website at fcps.net/search. Education executive recruitment firm Greenwood /Asher & Associates has...

UK, FCPS and partners join forces to create STEM pipeline program for underrepresented students

By Alicia Gregory University of Kentucky The STEM Through Authentic Research and Training (START) program at the University of Kentucky is creating a unique pipeline to increase science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) literacy and promote STEM careers for traditionally underrepresented populations (people of color, individuals with disabilities, students from free or reduced lunch schools),...

FCPS acting superintendent Marlene Helm provides update on plan for return to in-person learning

Fayette County Public Schools Acting Superintendent Marlene Helm clarified the district’s plan for a return to in-person learning and assured the community that the district is committed to welcoming all students back to campus as soon as safely possible. “We’re closer than we’ve ever been, but it’s just not an easy proposition,” Helm said during a virtual news conference Wednesday. “We...

Winburn Middle School teacher Kristen Salas helps students maintain the beat through digital music

Winburn Middle School students taking Kristen Salas’ digital music class have maintained a steady beat despite the COVID-19 pandemic upheaval. Via distance learning, they primarily create music independently on their Chromebooks using the audio workstation Soundtrap, and Salas uploads select projects for Warrior Radio. Kristen Salas (Photo from FCPS) “The digital instruments are made to sound like...

Critics of Kentucky voucher program say the plan would siphon funds from public schools

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Some Kentucky lawmakers are proposing a statewide voucher program based on tax credits, so families can send their kids to private schools. House Bill 149 would give donors like major corporations a special-interest tax break for giving money to privately controlled organizations that use the funds to pay kids’ private-school tuition. Some 70% of Kentucky...

First 5 Lex uses monthly themes to engage stuck-at-home Lexington families, preschoolers

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, First 5 Lex has redoubled efforts to support the city’s youngest learners through a series of themed videos and creative activities designed to engage children, families, preschool teachers, and daycare staff. “Because families are home more, we’ve gone with a themed approach each month. It’s a more cohesive message we’ve been sending out,” said Eamonn FitzGerald,...

FCPS provides details regarding life celebrations for Superintendent Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Caulk

Fayette County Public Schools has announced plans for the celebration of life of Superintendent Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Caulk. Caulk passed away suddenly on December 4 at age 49. He had taken a temporary medical leave to “focus on his health” Nov. 30. The following events have been planned by various members of the Fayette County community to celebrate his life: Emmanuel “Manny”...

FCPS physical therapists develop workarounds, alternative ways to connect with students

One of the challenges with distance learning amid COVID-19 is to provide school-based physical therapy for students with special needs, but the PT team in Fayette County Public Schools has come up with alternative ways to stay connected with these children and support their families. “We’re a very close-knit group, and we meet about every week to bounce ideas and concerns, and talk about caseloads,...

Lafayette High School theatre students devise pandemic pantomime ‘Cardboard Stories’ play

Playfully stacking boxes with her 5-year-old at home inspired theatre director Amie Kisling to challenge her Lafayette High School students to design a sort of pandemic pantomime performance. The result was an entertaining nonverbal play called “Cardboard Stories: Thinking outside the Box,” which the group videotaped for online distribution. “You made a piece. You created it from nothing! You...

Lexington Public Library creates Homeschool Materials and Resource eReading room

Libraries have long embraced the digital age and are continually adding innovations and conveniences to serve the members of their community. Another excellent example is the eReading Room. Lexington Public Library has digitized the concept of physical reading rooms by creating a specialized eReading Room of Homeschool Materials and Resources ebooks and audiobooks. With a library card, Lexington and...

Tree Week 2020 to highlight benefits of urban trees during annual Lexington celebration Oct. 10-17

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Tree Week 2020 will continue its annual celebration of Lexington’s trees and green spaces with online and small, socially-distanced in-person activities Oct. 10-17. The Urban Forest Initiative coordinates the free, weeklong celebration in collaboration with Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, the Lexington Public Library, Fayette County Public Schools,...

French language teacher at Frederick Douglass High School receives KWLA’s Rising Star honor

The Kentucky World Language Association (KWLA) has presented its 2020 Outstanding Rising Star Teacher Award to Sydney Meaux, a French teacher at Frederick Douglass High School. This honor recognizes a teacher with no more than five years of experience who has made an amazing impact on their students by exhibiting best practices to an uncommonly high degree. Meaux received the award Sept. 19 during...

Fayette County students prepare to watch science experiment launch to International Space Station

This week, two sophomores in Fayette County Public Schools will see the culmination of nearly a year’s efforts as their science experiment launches to the International Space Station (ISS). Kiera Fehr of Henry Clay High School and Rosalie Huff of Frederick Douglass High School, along with three Chicago-area students, are studying the effects of microgravity on methane-producing termites. Sophomores...

Nourish Lexington sets fundraising drive for Hunger Awareness Month; filling gaps for students, seniors

Nourish Lexington, powered by FoodChain, has announced a fundraising drive starting this month, which is Hunger Awareness Month. It urges the community to provide financial support for this continuing need, which will focus mainly on filling gaps for students and seniors. The goal is to raise $450,000, which should provide approximately 65,000 meals through the remainder of 2020. “This communitywide...

Fayette County Public Schools teachers step up their game for virtual arts class during distance learning

What happens with hands-on electives like music, theatre, and art when students are learning remotely, distanced from each other and their teachers? Those instructors simply expand their creative approaches and find ways to make it work! Check out these three examples. Phil Kent, orchestra teacher at Lafayette High School Lafayette orchestra teacher Phil Kent connects with his students via Zoom. (Photo...

Fayette County Public Schools encourages teachers, families to monitor students’ state of mind

Given the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic and distance learning, Fayette County Public Schools encourages staff and families to be especially aware of their students’ state of mind. “There’s an added concern. One, the stress of having to manage school in a different way,” said Shericka Smith, district coordinator of Extended School Services, Social Work, and Mental Health Services. “But...

Dr. Tom Shelton joins Lexington’s Henry Clay Center of Statesmanship as Executive Director

Dr. Tom Shelton, who has held leadership positions in national and Kentucky educational institutions, has been appointed to serve as the Executive Director of Lexington’s Henry Clay Center of Statesmanship. Prior to joining the Center, Shelton served as the Director of External Relations and Partnerships for the National Center for Education and the Economy in Washington, D.C. He will continue to...

YMCA, volunteers rally for Fayette County Public Schools drive-through backpack pick-up

The annual neighborhood Back to School Rallies had a different look and feel in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, but the result was the same: distributing free backpacks and school supplies for thousands of Lexington students. “My kids are absolutely devastated about not going back (for in-person learning), but getting a backpack gives them some sort of normalcy like we’re starting...

As Fayette County prepares for 2020-2021 school year, Rise STEM Academy for girls off to strong start

As Fayette County Public Schools prepares for the 2020-21 school year, youngsters enrolled in the Rise STEM Academy for Girls are already settling in. The new program, which has welcomed 150 students in grades K-2, offered a virtual Exploratory Week for instructors and their classes Aug. 3-7. One day, for instance, a kindergarten teacher guided her kids through a water experiment mixing primary colors. With...

North Carolina native Barry Richburg selected as next principal of Yates Elementary School

A seasoned educator with experience in two of the nation’s top-rated school districts will be the next principal of Yates Elementary School, Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk has announced. With the selection of Barry Richburg, a North Carolina native who coincidentally served as principal of Yates Mill Elementary School in Raleigh, all of the leadership openings in the district...