A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

KDE reaches $350,000 settlement with ACT after students’ personal information was shared

By Jacob Perkins Kentucky Teacher The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has reached a settlement with ACT for a $350,000 statement credit after it was discovered that information about Kentucky students who took the ACT was shared with postsecondary institutions, a violation of the contract between the two entities. When students take the ACT, they are presented with the option of sharing their...

Garrard County High School senior Alex Miller receives his golden ticket to Hollywood

By Jacob Perkins Kentucky Teacher Garrard County High School senior Alex Miller captured the nation’s attention with his recent American Idol audition. But for his hometown of Lancaster, the moment was years in the making. The 17-year-old Miller says his singing career began much like other country music artists, by singing in the church. According to his grandfather, G.B. Miller, Alex Miller and...

Two Louisville-area high school students chosen as United States Senate Youth Program delegates

By Donna Melton Kentucky Teacher Shubh Gupta, a junior at duPont Manual High School (Jefferson County) and Alex Marion Young, a junior at Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, were selected to participate in the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) during the 59th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 14-17. Gupta and Young were selected from among the state’s top student leaders...

Gov. Andy Beshear announces executive order expanding in-person instruction in Kentucky

By Jacob Perkins Kentucky Teacher Gov. Andy Beshear announced an executive order during his Tuesday media briefing that recommends all public school districts offer or expand in-person instructional opportunities beginning March 1, or seven days after district personnel receive their second COVID-19 vaccination. Students, educators and staff will be required to wear face coverings while on school grounds...

Ballard County school nurses step up to help community administer COVID-19 vaccinations

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher The first doses of vaccine against COVID-19 arrived in Ballard County in January, ready for distribution to 26 first responders, but the local health department had a problem. Its only available nurse, Melissa Ballard, was in COVID-19 quarantine. Then, another member of the Ballard County Health Department’s three-person staff also was out on quarantine soon afterward. But...

Ground zero for Kentucky’s first COVID-19 case, Harrison County nears return to in-person instruction

By Jacob Perkins Kentucky Teacher Harrison County Superintendent Harry Burchett described the atmosphere as “unsettling.” Thirty leaders from the Cynthiana and Harrison County area gathered together on March 7, 2020, as Dr. Crystal Miller, public health director of the WEDCO District Health Department, delivered the news that Cynthiana was ground zero for the first case of COVID-19 in Kentucky. “We...

Meredith Brewer named Kentucky Department of Education’s director of education policy

By Jacob Perkins Kentucky Teacher Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) Commissioner Jason E. Glass has announced the hiring of Meredith Brewer as the department’s director of education policy. She will continue to serve as director of KDE’s Division of Educator Recruitment and Development until officially beginning her new role on Feb. 1. Meredith Brewer As director of education policy, Brewer...

Walker, Thomas named recipients of inaugural Education Support Staff Professional Award

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher Two Kentucky classified school employees – one from Barren County and one from Harrison County – became the first recipients of the new Kentucky Education Support Staff Professional (KESSP) Award. Shelly Thomas, youth service center coordinator for the Barren County School District, and Robert Walker, school safety and wellness coordinator for Harrison County Schools,...

Education Week offering free online summit on Teaching Math in a Pandemic

Education Week is offering a free online summit on Teaching Math in a Pandemic 1-2:30 p.m. ET Jan. 21. Participants can ask journalists and expert guests how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment and engagement in math. Photo from TextHelp Scheduled discussions include: • What the Research Says About Math Learning Loss and the Pandemic • Making Remote Math Tests and Quizzes...

Graves County principal Janet Throgmorton goes the extra mile to ensure students can continue learning

By Jacob Perkins Kentucky Teacher Three years ago, Principal Janet Throgmorton of Fancy Farm Elementary (Graves County) was looking for a way to save her district some money while addressing one of its most pressing needs. Like many districts throughout Kentucky, Graves County faced a shortage of bus drivers and was having a tough time finding substitute drivers to fill those seats. Being a firm believer...

Kentucky shines with 45 schools on list of winner for 2020 Healthy School Program

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher Judged by population, Kentucky ought to have eight schools on the list of award winners in the 2020 Healthy Schools Program. Instead, it has 45. This disproportionate success is due primarily to the Baptist Health School Wellness Initiative, offered by the Delta Rural Network Center at Baptist Health Madisonville. Forty-one of Kentucky’s 45 Healthy Schools winners are...

LaRue County’s Savannah Boone named Kentucky’s 2020 Special Education Teacher of the Year

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher Savannah Boone, an instructor at LaRue County High School, is Kentucky’s 2020 Special Education Teacher of the Year. As the winner, Boone will receive a scholarship to attend the Special Education Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C. in summer 2021, a plaque and $500. Jessica Tipton of Madison Central High School (Madison County) and Amber Ervin of Old Kentucky Home...

Letcher County Elementary School teacher Tyler Watts uses Post-it Notes to teach math, create art

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher The Post-it Note pictures by Tyler Watts on the windows of the Harry M. Caudill Memorial Library in Whitesburg are getting lots of attention, but it’s far from his first such project. This year’s row of five Christmas-themed Muppet characters is just the most recent. He has covered the library windows in Post-it Notes a half-dozen times for the holidays, including...

KDE releases school reopening guidance for January; in-person classes may resume January 11

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) released guidance Friday on reopening schools for in-person instruction in January 2021, accompanied by a new executive order signed by Gov. Andy Beshear. Beshear’s previous executive order, issued Nov. 18, allowed students to return to classrooms as of Jan. 4. The Dec. 18 order sets standards for reopening and recommends...

Union County’s Patricia Sheffer named 2021 Kentucky Superintendent of the Year

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher Union County Public Schools Superintendent Patricia Sheffer was named the Kentucky 2021 Superintendent of the Year by the Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA). “I really accept this award on behalf of the wonderful team I have here,” Sheffer said. “I’m blessed to work with a respectful board that trusts the decisions I make. I think everything...

Civics Unplugged opens applications for virtual 2021 fellowship for High School students

Civics Unplugged, a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) social enterprise whose mission is to empower the leaders of Generation Z to build the future of American democracy, has opened applications for the Civics Unplugged Fellowship 2021. The fellowship is a 5-month civic leadership program that empowers high school students representing every region of the U.S. with the tools, training and community to reform...

A reunion 40 years in the making: How a Louisville teacher helped shape the life of a D.C. attorney

Ana Reyes, left, hugs her 1st-grade teacher Pat Harkleroad. After testing negative on a COVID-19 test, Reyes, now an award-winning attorney reunited with Harkleroad, now retired and taking care of her husband and son. The two flipped through old photos and reminisced on moments from their lives during a reunion on Nov. 13. Reyes reunited with Harkleroad, after testing negative on a COVID-19 test. (Photo...

Harrison and Barren County teachers to represent Kentucky for 2020 national RISE Awards

By Jacob Perkins
 Kentucky Teacher Robert Walker, a school safety and wellness coordinator in Harrison County, and Shelly Thomas, a family resource center coordinator in Barren County, have been selected to represent Kentucky for the national 2020 Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award. Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman made the announcement during Gov. Andy Beshear’s media briefing...

Greenup County High School student buzzing after receiving national beekeeping award

By Jacob Perkins
 Kentucky Teacher Emma Stevens has been beekeeping for a little over a year and a half, yet she already has brought pride not only to Greenup County, but the whole Appalachian region. The 16-year-old junior at Greenup County High School recently was named one of the nation’s top youth beekeepers by the North American Bayer Bee Care Program. “Getting recognized for my work reassures...

Ben Wilcox shapes role of Kentucky’s first state school security marshal amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher Ben Wilcox laughs a little when asked how COVID-19 has changed his job as Kentucky’s state school security marshal. He hadn’t been on the job long when the pandemic hit. The position of state school security marshal had only been created in March 2019. Wilcox formally started work July 1 of that year, but a month earlier he began traveling the state to share information...