August 15, 2013

Learning Center has success with graduates

86 earn diplomas and GEDs this year

By Rob McDaniel
Staff Writer


Roger Wright, director of the McDaniel Learning Center, presented a progress report to the Laurel County Board of Education Monday night.

Beginning its sixth year, the McDaniel Learning Center has offered educational services to more than 500 at risk students.

Since Oct. 1, 2012, the McDaniel Learning Center has helped 73 students earn diplomas and 13 students earn secondary GEDs this year.  This is a large increase from the 30 students who were able to graduate in 2008 and 2009, when the learning center opened.

Of the 274 students that graduated from South Laurel High School, 42 of them were from the McDaniel Learning Center, attributing to more than 15 percent of the schools graduating class; additionally five students earned their secondary GED.

Of the 317 students that graduated from North Laurel High School, 31 of them were from the McDaniel Learning Center, this attributed to more than 9 percent of that school’s graduating class, additionally eight students earned their secondary GED.

These figures account for more than 12 percent of the total graduates from Laurel County schools.

“We feel like that’s quite an accomplishment,” Wright said.

Kendra Farris was one of the students that graduated because of the McDaniel Learning Center.

“I probably had like 18 credits to go when I started McDaniel in January 2012,” Farris said.  “I don’t think I would have graduated if I hadn’t went to McDaniel. If I’d stayed at North, I would have dropped out.

“I have a son that is 2 and that’s not even the reason that I did so bad,” she continued.  “Once I hit high school, it was just a downfall for me. I didn’t want to go to school or do anything.”

According to Farris, Mr. Wright approached her and said he thought she would do well in the McDaniel Learning Center if she would be willing to stick with it.  Farris did in fact stick with it and she graduated on time last year.

“I really think all the teachers out there loved me so much, they always helped me no matter what,” Farris said.  “I like it because you get one-on-one attention when you need it, no matter what.  I love them all; I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for them.  I don’t know what I’d be doing, but I’m working now and I’m going to go to college.”

The board also received a presentation from Judy Nicholson, executive director of the United Way of Laurel County.  United Way is working in cooperation with local churches and businesses to collect shoes for Family Resource Centers in the schools as part of the inaugural “Dance Your Shoes Off Laurel County” on August 29.

“What we’re attempting to do; we’ve partnered with 19 local churches, Saint Joseph London, Jackson Energy, Senture and the Chamber of Commerce. We’re trying to get shoes for our resource centers,” Nicholson said.

Donations will be accepted at Thursday Night Live on Thursday, Aug. 29.  The next day all of the donated shoes will be donated equally between the school resource centers and will be available to students as needed.

Nicholson will be accepting donations at the YMCA gym at the Bennett Center from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. starting Monday, Aug. 26 until Thursday, Aug. 29.

Additionally, Dr. Doug Bennett, Laurel County superintendent, announced AP scores were up by 4 percent in both North and South Laurel high schools. 

North Laurel High School had a record high of 53 percent of students taking AP tests scoring three points or more, and South Laurel High School set a record high of 62 percent of students taking AP tests scoring three points or more.

Also discussed:

• Recommended approval of BG-4, project close out for Keavy Elementary School re-roofing project BG 12-288 and authorize the appropriate signatures and final payment

• Recommended approval of Memorandum of Agreement with FRYSC CORPS AmeriCorps program for the 2013-2014 school year and authorize the appropriate signatures

• Recommended approval of Cooperative Membership agreement for 2013 – 2014 school year with Kentucky Development Corporation (KEDC) and authorize the appropriate signatures

• Recommended approval of Laurel County Schools District Health Protocols

• Recommended approval of External/Support organizations (PTO/Booster Clubs)

• Recommended approval of revised administrative procedure 09.33 AP23 fundraiser requests

• Recommended to hire up to 20 emergency certified substitute teachers

• Recommended approval to re-create one school psychologist position

• Recommended approval to recreate three special needs instructional assistant positions

• Recommended approval to re-create one technology specialist position