Education

U.S. Department of Agriculture

An elementary school in Owensboro is launching a program that uses a student’s fingerprint to keep count of meals served for breakfast and lunch. 

Sutton Elementary is piloting the program of finger image recognition technology called Biometrics.

Kaitlyn Blankendaal is the food service supervisor for Owensboro Public Schools and said the goal is to give students more time to eat.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky is asking the state Department of Education to establish clear guidelines for teaching Bible literacy courses. 

The ACLU contends the curriculum being taught in some of Kentucky’s public schools violate the Constitution. 

The ACLU found that some districts are using online Sunday school lessons and requiring students to memorize Bible verses, among other things. 

In a letter to the Kentucky Department of Education, the ACLU asks for clear and concise guidance for teachers, as well as mechanisms for monitoring the courses as they are implemented.

Kentucky education officials say a higher percentage of children who took a screening test have been determined to be ready for kindergarten.

The Daily News in Bowling Green reports 51.4 percent of children who took a standard screening test this year were deemed ready to start school, an increase from the 50.1 percent last year. Fewer students were screened in 2017 because the state changed the kindergarten enrollment cutoff date from Oct. 1 to Aug. 1. Among other things, the evaluation asks children to count to 30 and recite the alphabet.

J. Tyler Franklin

The University of Louisville’s accreditation is no longer under probation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS, announced today that U of L met nine “concerns in areas of governance, administration and finance”  it set down to lift the probation.

The university was placed on probation by SACS a year ago amid concerns raised by Gov. Matt Bevin’s reorganization of the board of trustees, along with a list of other issues.

Wikimedia Commons

Former University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the university’s athletic association.

Pitino was fired for cause last month by the association’s board amid an FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting.

The suit, filed Thursday in federal court, says the school effectively fired Pitino in late September when it placed him on administrative leave and locked him out of his office. It says Pitino should have been given 10 days’ notice and an opportunity to be heard, as specified in his contract.

flickr creative commons

Kentucky is among states that have cut public education funding most deeply over the last decade, according to a new report from the Center on Budget Policy Priorities.

Through its funding formula, the state sets aside 15.8 percent less for per public school student than it did in 2008 — the third largest drop in the nation, behind Oklahoma and Texas.

Michael Leachman, director of state fiscal research for the CBPP, said the cuts hurt states’ economic competitiveness.

WKU

Western Kentucky University is increasing the number of opportunities to earn certificates in response to a recent executive order by Governor Matt Bevin. That order provides scholarships to those seeking a certificate without pursuing an associate degree. 

Certificates are credentials that lead to a workforce job and can be earned with a degree or as a stand-alone credential. Those wanting a certificate must complete a minimum of 12 hours of classes.

Changing Course: A School Cooperative Aims To Remake Coal Communities

Nov 27, 2017
Benny Becker

Betsy Layne High School serves rural Floyd County in the eastern Kentucky town of Stanville, population 206. Students there produce a video program called “Bobcat Banter” where they usually talk about sports and student life. But early last year “Bobcat Banter” introduced some special guests.

“We’re here with Mr. and Mrs. Gates from the Gates Foundation,” the students said.

The world’s richest man and his partner in life and philanthropy, Melinda Gates, had dropped in for a chat.

Wednesday was National Philanthropy Day and Western Kentucky University celebrated in a big way.  The school announced a $1.3 million gift from George and Cynthia Nichols to support the school’s diversity initiatives. 

Cynthia Nichols said she and her husband were both first-generation college students.

"I had no clue what I wanted to get involved with, and really didn't know how I could afford it.  I credit Western Kentucky University and this entire community that wrapped their arms around us and took us forward, stated Nichols.  "What's also important about going to college is sustainability. Once you get them here, how to you engage them to keep them here?"

Owensboro Public Schools

The controversy over Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed pension reform has spilled over into academics. The uncertainty about the financial impact of pension changes has derailed plans for a unique new middle school program in Owensboro.

The increased costs that local school districts are expected to shoulder from pension reforms have put a halt, at least temporarily, to the launch of the Owensboro Innovation Middle program tentatively scheduled to launch in Fall 2018.

Courtesy White House, Office of the First Lady

At a conference last year on the region’s opioid crisis, journalist Sam Quinones presented a call to action to Northern Kentucky University.

Quinones is author of the influential book on the opioid crisis, “Dreamland,” and a tireless speaker on the topic. At conferences and other events in the Ohio Valley he frequently makes a plea: create an addiction research hub among regional institutions affected by the epidemic.

NKU decided to give it a shot.

“We looked and saw who was doing any kind of research related to health,” Vice Provost for Graduate Education, Research and Outreach Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh said. “We sent an invitation for them to come to campus last December and to start to talking about opioid addiction and the possibility of forming a consortium.”


WKU

The Intercultural Student Engagement Center Academy is accepting a $20,000 grant which will help aid the 2018 cohort of students.

ISEC Academy is a Western Kentucky University initiative that supports students who are first generation, underrepresented and Pell grant recipients.

The program provides participants with upperclassmen mentors, a living learning community and weekly study hours to help guide students to a four-year graduation.

Kentucky Colleges Seek More Funding in Tight Budget Year

Nov 3, 2017

Kentucky's public colleges and universities want more money, but Republican lawmakers say the best they can hope for is to break even.

The Council on Postsecondary Education approved its two-year budget request Friday, asking for an extra $160 million in state funding for the state's eight public universities and its network of community and technical colleges.

About 35 percent of that money would be for additional operating expenses, while the rest would be a combination of debt payments and retirement contributions.

Somerset High School

The Kentucky Department of Education has approved a funding plan that allows a major renovation at Somerset High School to move forward.

The approval of the financial plan for the $6.5 million dollar renovation at the high school allowed the district to take the next step and submit design drawings to the state department of education.

Kyle Lively is superintendent of Somerset Independent Schools. He says there will be some exterior improvements, but much of the major work will be inside the building.

A high school that pulls students from both Barren and Hart counties is partnering with Western Kentucky University to create a part-time work and dual-credit program similar to the Learn and Earn program.

Learn and Earn sets college students up with part-time employment with local businesses upon completing the program. Caverna Independent’s program is called Transforming Outcomes through Performance and Scholarship, or TOPS.

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