Frommeyer says Eminence is making great strides

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

Eminence Middle and High School principal Steve Frommeyer last week told the Eminence Board of Education both of his schools have improved.

He said that both schools have made great strides academically, in delivering his annual report to the board. “We are becoming viewed as an academic school system by the outside world,” Frommeyer said.

He noted that CATS test scores were in the top 10-15 percent in the state and said that Eminence High School was ranked as one of the top high schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Frommeyer also told the board that almost $500,000 in scholarships were awarded to 22 graduating seniors.

He said that many students are participating in the college credits program for high school juniors and seniors. More than 100 college credit hours were earned in the past school year.

Kassidy Dees was the first senior from Eminence to graduate from the Gatton Math and Science Academy with 34 college credits. Ballard Metcalfe will attend Gatton this fall and will enter his senior year of high school with the credits of a junior in college.

Gatton is a residential academy located on the campus of Western Kentucky University. Its accelerated program was designed for high school students who are interested in careers in math and science.

Frommeyer said that athletic programs also flourished in 2007-08.

Ed Berry finished second in the State Class A High Jump Finals and the team finished 22nd overall. “That’s not bad for a school with no track and a five-man team,” he said.

Frommeyer noted that for the first time ever the football team made the State Playoffs in 11-Man.

He also praised the students and staff for achieving a 97 percent student attendance rate for the year.

Frommeyer then commented on future challenges for the independent school system.

He said that long-range strategic planning to include an endowment process is essential to ensure the long-term stability of the school system. “We can’t continue to budget year-to-year,” Frommeyer said.

He noted that neighboring school systems have doubled or even tripled in size in the last 20 years while Eminence has remained the same. Frommeyer said that those neighbors possess new schools and new technology and Eminence needs to catch up.

He said that small schools with limited resources need to play to their strengths when approaching the problem. “The reality is that in the world we’re heading into, we can’t go without significant resources,” he said.

Superintendent Don Aldridge echoed that viewpoint. He noted that just a few years ago there were more than 70 independent school districts in Kentucky. That number has dipped to 53.

“Academically we are at the best we’ve ever been,” he said. “This is a good time to come up with that plan.”

Michael Franken, an independent facilitator, was present to submit his proposal for a strategic planning process for the system.

“You need to plan from a position of strength to create the future for your schools,” he said. “What is that future you want for yourselves?”

Franken is a former school teacher, principal and school superintendent with 40 years’ experience in education. He has guided several entities through this process including the Henry County School District and the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative.

Franken said that the 10-12 month process is tailored to the individual school system’s needs.

A planning team comprised of a cross-section of people from the community would specify the long-term components of the plan. The components are:

1) the mission

2) data collection

3) goals

4) action plan

5) implementation

Frommeyer recommended that the board take action soon and utilize Franken for the planning process.

“If we don’t plan for the long-term the district could be in jeopardy,” he said.

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