Daviess County Public Schools

Public schools in Daviess County are getting 250 new security cameras.  

Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Matt Robbins said the installation of the 250 cameras at 18 Daviess County schools is not in response to any threat or issue. He said the cameras will complement the district’s ongoing training for an active shooter situation and other emergencies. 

“This is just another measure in the long line of things we’re doing here to try to make sure our students and our staff are safe.”

Robbins said it’s a proactive measure to upgrade an eight-year-old system.

“What’s happened is there’s been a revolution in the technology with cameras over the course of that period of time, a tremendous revolution, I might add, and a capability that you can view remotely, you don’t even have to be on site, and you can move  them.”

He said the cost of the cameras has come down substantially in the past several years. The price tag of $158,000 covers all the schools. The district originally expected to pay that much for about 70 new cameras in each of the two high schools.  The installation began during the winter break and is expected to be complete by the end of this month.

Rhonda J. Miller

Kentucky manufacturers are confronting a problem facing the entire United States – a shortage of skilled workers for technically sophisticated industries. A recent study found that two million manufacturing jobs in the U.S. will go unfilled over the next decade due to a lack of trained workers. A program developed in the Owensboro region is confronting that shortage with an apprenticeship program called GO FAME. 

At Sun Windows in Owensboro, President Frank Anderson says the machinery for production gets more sophisticated every year.

“This our insulated glass room. And the robot is applying the spacer material that separates the two panes of glass. And it’s all done automatically without ever touching a human hand.”

That’s the trend in advanced manufacturing and that’s the reason GO FAME was created. GO FAME stands for Greater Owensboro Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education. 

Apprentices take classes two days a week at Owensboro Community and Technical College. Companies pay at least half the tuition and at least $12-an-hour for work time.

Yager Materials

A high school career coach in Daviess County is making sure students are aware of job opportunities created by the Ohio River. 

About 50 students from Apollo and Heritage Park high schools will go to the Owensboro Riverport and to Yager Materials, a company that builds and repairs barges.

Jeremy Camron  is the college and career readiness coach at Apollo High School. He says the Nov. 9 field trip called “Who Works the Rivers?” gives students a close-up look at, “…what it’s like to be a deckhand or a crane operator, or how you can become an electrician or an engineer on barge motors. All of those jobs may start in the $20,000 range, but their top end wage range is somewhere close to $100,000. You know, a riverboat captain is making $150,000 a year.”

The field trip includes a career fair at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History, where about a dozen companies will speak to students about river-based jobs. Camron says opportunities for river jobs are right in the students’ backyard.

“We’re fortunate that we’re located right on the Ohio River and we have a massive river port that’s developed, as well as Yager Materials that does a lot of work with barges. So there are a lot of high quality jobs for kids who just have a high school diploma want to go straight to work.”

The field trip is sponsored by RiverWorks Discovery, a program based at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa.

Ohio County Schools

Three Kentucky school districts are sharing a $450,000 state grant to expand preschool programs.

Owensboro, Daviess County and Ohio County will each get $150,000 to upgrade preschool offerings, especially for at-risk children.

Cheston Hoover is director of district programs for Ohio County Schools. He says the school district is partnering with Audubon Area Head Start to give more children a solid educational foundation.

“We’re a very large county and in some of the communities within our county, the child care, preschool, early education services are pretty limited.  And so we’re looking to expand one of those from a half-day to a full day.”

That expansion will be at the Horse Branch Elementary preschool program. Hoover says part of the funding will be used to add a staff member in the classroom and a recruiter to identify more eligible children.

“There’s lots of research that shows that full day Head Start and preschool benefits the child academically and socially. It’s also a benefit for parents to where their child can receive those services throughout the school day and not have to find another service for either the first or second half of the day.”

Owensboro will add a new full-day preschool class at Estes Elementary.

Daviess County Public Schools will partner with the Owensboro Family YMCA to expand preschool services to children who don’t speak English at home and those in foster care.

Daviess County Public Schools

Some students in Daviess County Public Schools are taking part in a first-year program aimed at helping those who are new to the U.S.

The Newcomer Program is launching this year at Apollo High School and College View Middle School.

Students at other Daviess County schools who qualify for the program take a school bus to the Newcomer Program and spend the day there. 

Jana Beth Francis is assistant superintendent for teaching and learning for Daviess County Schools. She said the goal is a balance between basic English language skills and immersion.                                  

“They spend half the day in the Newcomer Program and then the other half of the day they are integrated into the regular school, where they get a chance to be with English-speaking students and start to get some of their core classes.”

Daviess Co. Public Schools

Transportation managers are interviewing, hiring and training at Daviess County Public Schools.  They’ve gotten a good response to their recruitment campaign that advertised a job that comes with “a company vehicle."

That vehicle is a bus.

Lora Wimsatt is a spokesperson for the school district. She said with 117 daily bus routes that carry 7,000 students, the district has to keep up its staff of trained drivers.

“I had worked with our transportation director and we were concerned that the number of applicants for open school bus driver positions had decreased over the years. So we wanted to do something new and exciting that would get people’s attention and get people talking.”

The recruitment for bus drivers started this past April. The district posted colorful banners that said, “Now hiring school bus drivers, benefits, paid training and company vehicle provided.”

Daviess County Public Schools

Daviess County public schools are launching a ‘Newcomer’ program. 

“Newcomers are students who are brand new to an English-speaking school and often brand new to the United States. These students typically have had very interrupted or little or no formal schooling,” says Jana Beth Francis, who oversees the English language program for Daviess County schools.

She says the program is based on students who have arrived in the district in the past nine years.

In 2007, Daviess County Public Schools had 77 students who were English language learners. This year, that number stands at 461.

Teachers throughout the Daviess County school district will be trained this summer in strategies to help newcomer students succeed. The district is also instituting tuition reimbursement for high school teachers to get certification to teach English language learners.

Daviess County Public Schools

Daviess County Public Schools has become the latest district to ban e-cigarette use by students. Superintendent Owens Saylor says whether or not the devices are hazardous to one’s health, they’re intended for use by adults

“We have a parents committee here called the Council of Councils and there’s been some good discussion there about what’s in the health interest of our students,” said Saylor. “So, anything that would even represent smoking or inhalants or anything like that is not appropriate for our students. That’s why we felt like this was really an addition on to our tobacco ban and it’s a way for us to keep up with what’s happening."

Saylor also says e-cigarettes became a distraction.

“I think we’ve seen them popping up – and we’re learning a couple things. They’re expensive items, to begin with.  There were even situations where we had folks complaining that they were being stolen,” said Saylor. “And we’re not about to chase someone’s personal smoking device.”

Top Performing Schools in Daviess County, Owensboro

Nov 2, 2012

Here's a list of the Daviess County and Owensboro Independent schools that received either Distinguished or Proficient ratings in the Unbridled Learning test scores released today:  Distinguished: F.T. Burns Elementary, Highland Elementary