In Dec. 23 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Editor
As has been the theme in recent Russell County School Board meetings, it was Union Chapel Elementary's turn to give a presentation on their school at Thursday's regular meeting.
Using the theme "we're little, but we're mighty," Principal Cindy Roberts told the board Union Chapel has been excelling in a variety of ways in the classroom.
She said that during May's testing Union Chapel had a transition index of 114, meaning the school was ranked 15th in the state of Kentucky out of 738 elementary schools, which was good enough for first in their district.
She bragged on her school's science, reading and social studies scores that were also first in the district in May.
Roberts told the board that despite the school's math scores being third in the district, improvement was needed in that area, an area the school is currently focusing on.
"I don't like being third," she said.
In turning the presentation toward students that comprise the school Roberts said only 46 percent of her students live in a traditional home with both biological parents while only 37 percent of students live with one biological parent. Seventeen percent of students, or about one in six, live in a home where neither caregiver is biological, she said.
"We try to meet the need of every individual student that we have," she said. She said there are many parents that contact the school asking for extra help for their children, and that faculty in the school tries to oblige each request.
She told the board that, using school and PTO funds, the school was able to purchase Study Island, an Internet program that can be accessed from both school and home and goes along with the Kentucky Core Standards as well as Book Flix, an online program where students can access hundreds of books in a variety of formats, including audio, visual and animated and Reading Eggs, a program for pre-school through 1st grade-aged students.
Following UCES's presentation the board conducted regular business:
• The board unanimously voted to approve the comprehensive district improvement plan. The local education agency annually reviews and approves this plan, according to Superintendent Kenny Pickett. The process of improvement planning is used as the means of determining how schools and districts will plan to ensure that students reach proficiency and beyond by 2014.
This year's improvement plan states overall goals and provides improvement strategies and activities that addresses identified needs for the district. To meet compliance with No Child Left Behind, the plan includes how local schools will address achievement gaps.
Michael Ford, the federal programs director for the school system, said Russell County Schools met 11 of their 13 NCLB goals this year.
"We are doing a lot of good things," he said. "Our district is high performing." The plan will outline ways Russell County Schools will be able to achieve all goals set forth by NCLB.
• The board approved non-resident 3-year contracts with Pulaski County and Wayne County for any and all students and with Adair County that will allow the board to receive state funding for students whose parents are residents of Adair County but are employed with Russell County Schools.
• The board approved to accept and escrow $33,857 from the School Facilities Construction Commission offer of assistance for the school system's technology program for this fiscal year.
• Marla Carnes, the schools director of finance and business, told the board the total cash in bank for all funds was $671,154.91. Following the treasurer's report the board voted to approve the report and pay the bills.
• At no expense to the board, they approved an out-of-state trip for the Russell County High School Band from April 29-May 4 to march in the Disney Parade in Florida.
• Board members Harry Kimbler and Debbie Haynes each received two hours of training credit by services other than KSBA. Kimbler attended district wide professional development on Dec. 8 while Haynes attended a principal's meeting on Nov. 16.
• Jamie Brumley was hired by the board as an assistant softball coach at the high school while Keith Ellis was hired as the RCHS boys and girls head track coach. Both Tim Pierce and Ronnie Collins were hired as substitute bus drivers.
• The board granted a leave of absence to Leslie Roy, without pay, until she returns to work on Jan. 4.