Education

Owensboro Middle School

Owensboro Middle School is likely to be separated into two schools by the next academic year. 

The middle school already has a south campus for grades five and six and a north campus for grades seven and eight. The two buildings are separated by a football field.

 

Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent Nick Brake says there are some good reasons to change that set-up.

“Part of the challenge that we’ve seen with that is, it’s very difficult for one principal to govern both schools, to work with both faculties, and you have an age group that has a lot of variation.”

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.

The University of Tennessee's Board of Trustees on Thursday unanimously approved the appointment of Beverly Davenport as the first female chancellor of the public university system's flagship campus in Knoxville.

Davenport is a Bowling Green native who earned her undergraduate and Master’s degrees from Western Kentucky University.

Daymar to Refund $1.2 Million to Former Kentucky Students

Dec 15, 2016
Daymar Colleges Group

Kentucky's attorney general says thousands of former Daymar College students will begin receiving restitution checks totaling $1.2 million.

Attorney General Andy Beshear said Wednesday the payments will go to nearly 3,500 former students of Daymar's Kentucky campuses and online programs. The payments are being issued by the claims administrator appointed to handle the case.

Adam Hatcher

Students at Kentucky’s first international high school are preparing to finish their first semester. Gateway to Educational Opportunities International is located on Warren Central High School’s campus in Bowling Green.

About 65 percent of the school’s 180 students are refugees. Assistant Principal Adam Hatcher said some students know four or five languages, with most able to speak at least rudimentary English.

Henderson County High School

A new School of Fine Arts at Henderson County High School is getting ready to accept its first students. The deadline to apply is Jan. 10. The School of Fine Arts is offering tracks in visual arts, dance, theater, voice and instrumental music.

Students who are in eighth grade now at North Middle School, South Middle School or Holy Name School can apply. Students who are freshman now at Henderson County High School can also submit an application. Information about the SoFA is available here, along with the application.   

J. Tyler Franklin

If the University of Louisville lost its accreditation, it would likely shut down — or at least cease to exist as you know it. Only the wealthiest students would remain because unaccredited institutions don’t get Pell grants and federal student loans. An exodus of talented faculty would likely follow as enrollment dropped.

Creative Commons

The Kentucky Board of Education has approved a list of principles to guide state policymakers if the legislature passes a bill clearing the way for charter schools in the state. Kentucky is one of seven states that don’t allow charters — schools that use public dollars but are operated by organizations besides the state like nonprofits, for-profit companies, or groups of parents.

J. Tyler Franklin

A collegiate accreditation agency has placed the University of Louisville on probation, citing interference with its board of trustees.

The announcement follows months of speculation over the school’s accreditation status and comes on the heels of several moves by Gov. Matt Bevin that university administrators feared would be viewed as a loss of independence. Bevin disbanded and reconstituted the U of L board of trustees in June, and at the same time delivered word that then-president James Ramsey would step down.

A judge restored the old board in September.

In its decision, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges cited issues with board of trustee membership, standards related to selection and evaluation of the university president, external influence and board of trustee dismissal.

U of L Acting President Neville Pinto said in an emailed statement that the commission’s decision doesn’t reflect academic problems.

WKU

Three people who have dedicated their lives to educating others have been selected to be inducted into the Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame.

A statement from Western Kentucky University, which houses the hall, says the current or former teachers selected are Opal T. Sibert, Ron Skillern and Joe Westerfield. All three will be inducted during a ceremony on March 8 in Frankfort.

The statement says Sibert was an influential educator for 30 years in Laurel County before retiring in 1986 and was known for her persistence.

Westerfield taught history and government in Daviess County schools for 33 years before retiring in 2002 and was known for his enthusiasm.

Skillern, who is still teaching social studies after a 30-year career in Bowling Green and Warren County schools, has been described by former students as a great motivator.

WKU

The Western Kentucky University presidential search committee is meeting in closed session Thursday and Friday in Nashville.

The group is considering candidates to replace WKU President Gary Ransdell, who is retiring next summer after 20 years at the school.

The school has issued an agenda for the meeting saying that the search committee will meet in closed session at the Nashville Airport Marriott to discuss applicants for the presidential position.

Kentucky law allows the search committee to conduct the hiring process behind closed doors,without members of the public or media present.

Some WKU employees have asked the search committee to conduct open meetings, and allow members of the community to meet with finalists before a decision is made.

WKU

A group of university presidents will meet Monday to finalize a performance funding model for higher education in Kentucky. 

Schools will primarily be awarded money based on the number of degrees they produce.  Some critics argue that incentivizing degree production will diminish the quality of education. 

“Measuring quality is not easy," Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education President Bob King told WKU Public Radio.  "It’s not as simple as measuring the quantity of things, so we’re hoping down the road to include in the model some recognition of quality that will hopefully address the concerns."

King says the funding model also rewards universities for turning out more graduates in the science, technology, engineering, math, and healthcare fields. 

Funding model recommendations will be submitted to the governor and state lawmakers for approval by December 1.

Creative Commons

The Kentucky Board of Education is holding a special meeting Monday morning to study charter schools.

Such schools are similar to public schools in that they use public dollars and are funded based on student enrollment. They’re also controversial because they can be operated by nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies or groups of parents and teachers.

Kentucky is among a handful of states that don’t have charter schools.

But with Republicans now in full control of the state legislature that could change.

Legislation favoring charter schools has faltered in the state House, which was long-controlled by Democrats.

WKU

Kentucky’s public and private colleges and universities awarded a record number of degrees during the 2015-16 academic year.

A report from the Council on Postsecondary Education says Kentucky’s higher education institutions conferred 65,829 degrees--a 2.7 percent increase over the previous year.

The number represents a 32.5 percent increase over the amount of degrees awarded over ten years in the commonwealth.

Murray State and Morehead State had the highest increase in bachelor degree production, with the schools awarding 12 percent more degrees in the 2015-16 academic year. The University of Kentucky conferred 4 percent more.

Western Kentucky University saw a four percent increase in that same time.

Over the past decade, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System saw a 49 percent increase in the number of associate degrees it awarded.

Western Kentucky University is seeking a declaratory judgment against the Kentucky Retirement System.  The feud relates to the pension benefits of former buildings and grounds workers.

In a budget-cutting move, WKU privatized all facilities and grounds services in August.  The school out-sourced 202 positions in a contract with Sodexo. 

After becoming Sodexo employees they were told by KRS that they would not be allowed to withdraw or roll over employee contributions the individuals made to the pension system while they were employed by WKU. 

The Kentucky Retirement System, which administers the Kentucky Employees Retirement System, views Sodexo employees as “common law employees of WKU” and should not be allowed to access the funds they contributed to the retirement system individually.  KRS also stated that WKU would be expected to pay pension contributions for Sodexo employees and those workers would also have to continue to pay the applicable employee contributions to KERS, despite their employment with Sodexo.

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