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College, Career: focus of 2012-13

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By Brad Bowman

As the summer break comes to a close, students and parents will return to a school routine as early as next week, but according to Henry and Eminence school boards officials, the new school year will be anything but routine.

The biggest buzz in both districts emphasizes the need for students to be college and career ready. Using new teaching strategies, technology and testing to ascertain students’ proficiencies, teachers and students can maximize classroom time to increase their success rate in pursuit of higher education and a secure career.

Henry County

“Parents and Students will hear a lot about the importance of college and career readiness preschool through senior year. It is our goal to have all HCPS students college and career ready upon graduation.” said Tim Abrams, Henry County Public Schools superintendant, adding that planned activities for students and parents will emphasize this.

HCPS fifth-graders will visit a college campus as part of that learning experience this school year. Students will visit a classroom, eat in a dining hall, see the dorm rooms they could live in and campus officials will be available for questions from the students.

With the help of the community, each elementary school also will host former students who currently attend college, who will come and speak to classes kindergarten through fifth grade about the college experience. Abrams said this will be only the beginning of the college discussion.

“Each classroom will adopt a college, research it and decorate their classroom door,” Abrams said. “Other classes will do a college walk throughout the day to learn about each institution.”

On July 31, the middle school will hold its annual Jump Start for sixth-graders, along with its open house for seventh- and eighth-graders. 

All middle school students will be taking the Explore test this fall.  The test will assess students in areas of English, mathematics, reading, and science. The assessment test encompasses proficiency in the foundations of high school and postsecondary programs needed for college.

The test also includes a career exploration component, which relates personal characteristics to career options. Parent and teacher conferences will be scheduled to review each student’s results.

“Each middle school student will be involved in goal setting achievement and growth as determined by interim assessments (MAP) and other state assessments, “ Abrams said. “High school administration, teachers, and counselors will also be making periodic visits to all grade levels at the middle school to prepare students for the next step in their formal education.”

The middle school will also host a career night in March for grades six through eight.

The elementary schools will have guest speakers for its career day. Guest speakers will visit or interact with students via Skype (a  service which allows users to communicate via voice, video, and  instant messaging through the Internet) and representatives from the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority will speak at a PTO meeting. The representatives will speak about the academic and financial needs parents and students will face when making preparations for college.

“The elementary schools have also set high goals for all of their students academically, “Abrams said. “Parent teacher meetings will be held to explain how working together we can get all students to not only reach those goals, but surpass them.”

Henry County High School students will not only gain some new experiences to prepare them for the college and career world but a loss as well.

Henry County High School Principal Jim Masters has accepted a position over the weekend as Director of High Schools for Franklin County.

“I’m very happy for Jim. He has a done a fantastic job as principal at Henry County High School for the past four years,” Abrams said. “It is a testament to his ability that he was chosen to be Director of High Schools in Franklin County. I wish him the best.”

Abrams met Monday with the Henry County High School Site Based Council. Shannon Sageser was appointed interim principal and Austin Hunsaker was appointed interim assistant principal.

“Both are outstanding individuals,” Abrams said. “I’m confident they will continue our forward progress at Henry County High School.”

Keeping on track with college and career readiness, high school students will take an additional skills assessment test this school year while breaking records for college enrollment classes.

“A record number of students will be taking college classes on site at the high school campus offered through JCC-Carrollton and Kentucky State University,” Abrams said. “While we will continue to focus on college readiness at the high school, emphasis will also be placed on being career ready.”

Grades 10-12 will take the WorkKeys test.

“WorkKeys is a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire, train develop, and retain a high-performance workforce.”

All HCPS students will also be encouraged to bring their own devices to school as a learning resource.

For more information about Henry County Public Schools visit its website at HenryKySchools.us; also on Twitter @hcpsky,  or Facebook at Facebook.com/hcpsky.

Eminence

Eminence Independent Schools will begin the first year of its framework of innovation for reinventing education, known as FIRE, designed equips each high school student grades nine through 12 with a MacBook Pro.

In a response to this initiative, EIS Superintendent Buddy Berry said grades three through 12 will have their own program launch called the Tech-E’s Student Computer Experts/Technicians.

“These students will be selected to serve as tech coaches, computer technicians, and kind of be our version of the Best Buy Geek Squad,” Berry said. “They will receive training from Eminence staff, the Apple Store, and, in turn, will train students and staff on ‘next generation’ tools.”

Teachers in all grades will, according to Berry, embed “Fire Starters” in lessons to continue to encourage students to think differently.

“Fire starters are these concepts of next-generation learning, creating authentic assessment, creatively demonstrating mastery of content, and employing lessons strictly aligned to the student agency within the students of the classroom.”

Shannon Treece will also start as the new middle and high school principal.

Treece is a Henry County graduate and will help oversee new and expanded programs like standards based report cards, which measures factors not related to a student’s actual mastery of content such as attendance and behavior. In accordance with the school’s new programs, the expansion of what Berry calls ‘surprise and delight’ adds on the back of the school’s mission for student empowerment.

“Students can expect to have a better school experience with their lessons, day to day activities, and how/where learning takes place will be unbelievable,” Berry said. “In an effort to recreate the school experience, we must reinvent the school experience. This means assessments, activities, student involvement must be changed. Student will be co-leaders/co-participants of their learning. Students will be given opportunities to design, create, construct, and dream in ways that not only ensure mastery of content, but that will allow them to have authentic audiences for their learning.”

For more information about Eminence Independent Schools visit their website at Eminence.k12.ky.us.

 

E-mail us about this article at news@hclocal.com.