CCPS sought to learn new ways to serve in September

Published 2:00 pm Saturday, September 30, 2023

September can always be busy for public schools as classes and other activities start again.

Fortunately, whether in working with organizations to help students or by assisting faculty near and far, Clark County Public Schools (CCPS) looks to make an impact.

A kickoff and informational session for Clark County Black and Hispanic Achievers – in partnership with CCPS and the Clark County Equity Coalition – occurred at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 at George Rogers Clark High School.

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Days later, on Sept. 15, the school’s library hosted the 2023-24 Kentucky Innovative Learning Network (KY ILN) Kickoff Event.

“We’re here to provide opportunities for your children to be successful in life so that one day they’ll be sitting in this room talking about how great this program was, how great the school system was, and they’re [going to] be excited to send their kids to this school,” said CCPS Superintendent Dustin Howard, explaining the former event.

The kickoff and informational session started positively, with many in attendance, including Winchester Mayor and former elementary school teacher JoEllen Reed and City Commissioner Kitty Strode.

Vache King of the Clark County Equity Coalition explained the program, which kicked off on Sept. 23 and allows numerous opportunities for student engagement.

Among them are a visit to BCTC in November, a community service project opportunity with Reed and a career fair in October, and – for those who have met specific criteria academically and in other ways – a spring break trip in April.

“The goal was to give the parents and students an overview of what the program would look like, what the structure would look like…[and] to introduce them to some of the volunteers”, King said.

Along with academics, King pointed to building relationships between different individuals in the community.

“We’re a small community, so there shouldn’t be any type of astigmatism,” King said.

Working with the parents is also a goal of the Clark County Equity Coalition through this collaboration.

Volunteer Rosalynn King, who spoke with parents, explained.

“Show up when there’s nothing going on. Show up when you’ve got a few minutes at work [available],” Rosalynn King said “I’m telling you [that] as a parent, it makes a world of difference.”

For the 2023-24 KY ILN Kickoff Event, over 100 district leaders statewide gathered for a day of professional learning, collaboration, personalized application, and goal-setting for their district’s innovative work.

As a result, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., staff from various schools were engaged in activities such as listening to keynote speakers and participating in breakout sessions.

For example, one session, titled “Run with Robots: Artificial Intelligence at the District and School Level,” dealt with applying such technology in a school setting.

Student-led tours even helped spotlight George Rogers Clark High School.

Royce Conner, the executive director of Envision Learning Partners, was one keynote speaker.

“We do a lot of work around authentic learning and authentic assessments. We figure out how districts give students an opportunity to demonstrate what they’re learning in ways that go way beyond [a] test,” Conner said. “We have been partners with districts in Kentucky for years, helping them get clear around what their portraits of a learner will look like and what we want students to know and be able to do when they’re done with high school, [and] then helping them figure out what we can be tracking to make sure that that is happening.”

Other speakers included Rob Collins and Sarah Snipes of the Kentucky Department of Education and Adam Watson of the Ohio Valley Education Cooperative.

The event offered benefits for attendees, including Cindy Ham and Tonya Davidson of Somerset Independent Schools.

While Ham is the curriculum, instruction, and assessment coordinator, Davidson is the student success coordinator.

Ham and Davidson were asked about critical points of emphasis for teachers.

“I think being able to differentiate for the students’ needs, [identify] where the students are, and where they want to be or need to be, but providing different experiences,” Ham said. “It’s very challenging to do as a teacher…but I think that’s where we will get our students where they need to be.”

“I think, also, to just consider the whole child; their social [and] emotional well-being, as well as other needs they might have,” Davidson added.

Through providing for students and faculty, Clark County Public Schools continues looking for ways to assist others.