A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Five Kentucky schools named to U.S. Department of Education’s 2018 list of National Blue Ribbon Schools

Kentucky Teacher The U. S. Department of Education (USED) named five Kentucky public schools as 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools, based on their overall academic excellence. The five Kentucky schools and their districts are: • Huntertown Elementary (Woodford County) • Oak Hill Elementary (Pulaski County) • Paintsville Elementary (Paintsville Independent) • Spottsville Elementary (Henderson...

Bridget Powell: As a teacher, it’s my responsibility to help students to good mental health and resiliency

Every school year, I take my 5th-graders to the county jail and judicial facility as a culminating part of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program. This is usually a somewhat emotional experience for my students. Most have never been in a jail. Walking through the jail doors as we are “locked in,” anxiety kicks in and this experience gets real for my students and me. Leading my students...

Kate Fryar: Helping students learn to be part of team, learning and working together to make progress

By Kate Fryar Boyle County Schools Earlier this year, a student in one of my 9th-grade English classes was passing back graded work. Halfway through the stack, she flipped her ponytail, held a paper up to my face and asked, “WHO IS THIS?” in a voice louder than I would have liked her to use. I tried to discreetly point across the room to a quiet boy in the corner, but it was too late – he had...

Kentucky Teacher: Grant, Pulaski County teachers win Presidential Awards for math/science

Two Kentucky elementary school educators have won the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Shannon Brickler, who works at Sherman Elementary School (Grant County), and Natasha Craft, a teacher at Pulaski Elementary School (Pulaski County), are among 104 educators nationwide to be recognized. The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics...

Kentucky’s 2019 Teacher of the Year Jessica Dueñas is a force for Oldham County’s struggling students

By Mike Marsee Special to KyForward Jessica Dueñas is sure her father would have been proud. Dueñas’ father, Arcadio, died on April 27, less than three weeks before she was named the 2019 Kentucky Teacher of the Year. “In a joking manner, he always thought his kids were the best,” Dueñas said. “He would say something like, ‘Of course my daughter would have gotten this.’” Dueñas, a...

Kentucky Teacher: Big Dig gives kids a firsthand look at the construction industry’s machinery, equipment

By Bobby Ellis Special to KyForward At the Big Dig, there was the sound of running engines, large machines digging up dirt and horns. A lot of horns. The Big Dig, an event open to the public at the Boone County Fairgrounds, gives children and adults the opportunity to sit on and operate different machines from across the construction and building industries. Children were allowed to drive excavators,...

Family and consumer sciences a perfect fit for Washington County teacher Sarah Raikes

By Mike Marsee Special to KyForward Sarah Raikes found her niche long ago, and it’s just as comfortable today as it ever was. Raikes is in her fourth decade as a family and consumer sciences teacher, a career she chose because of her involvement in a student organization that she says brought out the best in her. Sarah Raikes, the family and consumer science teacher at Washington County High School,...

Teachers have unique fishing experience, courtesy of a trip to Thomas More’s Biology Field Station

By Bobby Ellis Special to KyForward If you’ve ever wanted to give your students the chance to catch wild fish out of the Ohio River using currents of electricity, the Thomas More Biology Field Station in California, Ky., has just the thing for you. As part of a workshop organized by Tabitha Owens, who was the Kentucky Department of Education’s environmental education specialist at the time of...

Student Engagement: Teachers across the state are using drones as classroom supplement

By Mike Marsee Special to KyForward Anne Lopez has seen what drones can do for students. She has seen her students’ eyes light up when a drone whirrs to life, and she has seen those students throw themselves into a project in which they design and build their own drones. Drones are circling around an increasing number of Kentucky schools as teachers like Lopez, a STEM instructor at Eastside Middle...

State Board of Education gives unanimous approval to accountability system, discusses charters

By Brenna Kelly Kentucky Teacher At a special meeting in Frankfort Thursday, the Kentucky Board of Education unanimously approved the regulation that will govern Kentucky’s new accountability system under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Senate Bill 1 (2017). The accountability system, as outlined in 703 KAR 5:270, is designed to promote and hold schools and districts accountable...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

Construction of tiny houses gives Kentucky students chance to work on building, problem-solving skills

By Brenna R. Kelly Special to KyForward It started as stack of cinder blocks in the parking lot of Casey County High School, but when it’s done, it will be Tara Weddle’s new house. For the past 20 years, houses have been sprouting from the high school’s parking lot every year. Students in Garlen Whitis’ Fundamentals of Construction class built three-bedroom, two-bath houses which were then...

Commentary: Nurturing the person in the classroom an important part of educational experience

By Kellie Jones Special to KyForward It was my first year teaching and I was expecting my first child. A parent of one of my students felt the calling to encourage me daily and provide a healthy snack for me and my baby. I would often find a piece of fresh fruit neatly placed in the center of my desk accompanied by a hand- written note of encouragement and appreciation. I found myself looking forward...

High School of Business program prepares students for both college and professional careers

By Mike Marsee Special to KyForward At Bullitt East High School, two students are giving a presentation on business ethics in a space that looks more like a boardroom than a classroom. At Eastern High School, students are selling everything from coffee to chicken sandwiches in an after-school enterprise that has been both profitable and educational. Both endeavors are part of their schools’ participation...

Clark students get good look at manufacturing career through industry-school partnership

By Mike Marsee Special to KyForward Russell Allen is more interested in building a better workforce tomorrow than getting a few extra hands today. Allen, the safety director at a Winchester factory, came to Clark County Area Technology Center Principal Mike Kindred with a plan to help meet that goal – one that Kindred couldn’t pass up. Allen’s employer, bedding manufacturer Leggett & Platt,...

Kentucky Horse Park program offers admission support for some state schools for field trips

The Kentucky Horse Park and the International Museum of the Horse welcome student groups for educational field trips that can connect the park’s programs to Kentucky standards and individual class curricula. During a field trip to the park, students can visit the International Museum of the Horse, the Kids Barn, the Hall of Champions, the Big Barn and the Breeds Barn. The park also has expanded...