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June 13, 2013

Bennett: Educational gains mark successful year

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The Laurel County Board of Education met Monday night to recognize students for excellence in career attendance and to discuss their year-end review.

Ty Jones, a fourth-grade graduate at East Bernstadt Independent, and Rebecca Mays, a fifth-grade graduate at Bush Elementary, attended the Gifted and Talented (GT) camp this summer at London Elementary. They thanked board members for allowing them the opportunity to attend the camp, while telling about their experiences.

“For me, GT also stands for ‘great time’,” Mays said.

The board also recognized Marcus Carson, a 2013 graduate of North Laurel High School and Amy Cummins,a  graduate of South Laurel High School, for excellence in career attendance.  

Carson only missed four days of school in his entire school career; he hadn’t missed a single day of school since third grade.

Cummins only missed six days of school in her entire school career; she hadn’t missed a day of school since kindergarten.

Both students were awarded a plaque and a check for $200 from the Ruritan Club, which was presented by Jimmy Durham.

Superintendent Doug Bennett delivered a look back on the 2012 – 2013 school year goals.  In addition to participating in the June 2012 educational summit, joining the London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce, and adding three more nationally board certified teachers (for a total of 24), the Laurel County Board of Education is working on common curriculum in math, English/grammar and handwriting for all elementary, middle and high schools.

“A common curriculum for math in all elementary, middle and high schools will give students across the board instruction,” Bennett said. “Students are also suffering in English and grammar, especially with sentence structure.”

Bennett said offering kindergarten through second grade handwriting courses will enable students to research original documents and read cursive when they reach upper grade levels.

Bennett praised district sports and academic teams for their successes this year. He was especially proud of the 2013 graduates who received more than $5.5 million in scholarships. ACT scores at both high schools have shown gains.  North Laurel had a .4 increase over the past year and South Laurel had a .1 increase.

Looking to the future, Bennett said he will continue the Superintendent Student Advisory Council, which is comprised entirely of students who can provide feedback to the superintendent and the board.

“These students help us learn what we can do better and what we do well,” Bennett said.

Other business discussed included:

• Construction at North Laurel Middle School is on schedule.  Construction is expected to continue for the remainder of the summer, but will be completed before the fall semester begins in August.

• Approved one interpreting service contract for the 2013 – 2014 school year. This annual contract provides interpreter services for those students and parents who need sign language interpreters, as needed.

• Approved one orientation and mobility services contract for the 2013 – 2014 school year.  This annual contract provides testing and evaluation assistance for visually impaired students, as needed.

• Approved SM&E proposal for geotechnical, geothermal and special inspection services for the Laurel County Career Readiness Center.

Project manager Kevin Cheek said construction on the new vocational school should begin in 2014, and will be completed by fall 2015.

rmcdaniel@sentinel-echo.com

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