Archive for Kentucky Department of Education

Making a 911 Call To KDE

Posted in Board Meetings, Board of Education (General), Judy Hicks, Point of View, School Board Election 2012 with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2013 by Joan Graves

Tonight the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) will be our board meeting. Regardless of what you think about the middle school merger KDE’s attendance is important for 5 reasons.

1. Our superintendent has direct ties to KDE.

2. The Winchester Sun recently printed a letter from KDE, they claimed to have obtained through an open records request. However, they would have to have known EXACTLY what to request. Considering, it was a letter to Dr. Kuduk from KDE someone obviously had to tell them. That is an incredible ethics violation that at the very least borders on the illegal.

3. KDE stated months ago that the department had been “inundated with complaints regarding Clark County Schools” for months but they have failed to intervene. They have also stated that they are “carefully monitoring” events.

4. In November the community ousted former board members when the middle school merger was a major voting point. Beth Griffith appeared to change her opinion on the matter frequently however, her conduct on the board makes clear her intention to support this merger despite the fact that the majority of the people she represents is NOT in favor of it. Judy Hicks also continues to support the merger when her constituents are also opposed.

5.  This community heavily voiced their disapproval for this facilities plan, years ago. In fact, prior to the existence of Stand Up Clark County another citizen’s group took their fight against the facilities plan straight to KDE’s door, receiving no assistance.

I have no idea what will happen at tonight’s board meeting. What I do know is that this community is being held hostage by an unwanted, poorly executed facilities plan we never wanted and despite our many pleas to the state they refused to help us. Now, the only people paying for this mess are the very ones they sought assistance to stop it in the first place. In an emergency you dial 911 for help and protection. Clark County made an educational 911 call and have been on hold for years. So, KDE, will you at long last take our call tonight?

Stand Up Clark County!


Perspective – The Missing Ingredient From Last Night’s Board Meeting

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 20, 2013 by Joan Graves

After watching the board meeting online my single thought is one of utter sadness. Adults behaving poorly with other adults is bad enough but to do so in front of kids is worse. We can reveiw all the numbers we want, implement the greatest curriculum and build schools made of gold but until we respect one another we will never succeed. And when we don’t succeed it is our kids that pay the highest price.

Once again, it was a fight over the middle school merger. In November this same topic was pivitol in the election of new board members. Ashley Ritchie and Michael McGowan made it clear they were oppossed to the merger and they won their seats by an overwhelming majority. That should be ringing in everyone’s ears.   

This community has left no doubt that the majority is against this facilities plan. So, why is it still even being discussed? We’ve been warned of dire consequences if we don’t accept the facilities plan. A more important question is; have we measured the consequences of not going through with the plan against the consequences of accepting it? 

This entire problem is a direct result of the previous board going against the community’s wishes and purchasing the land on which the new high school is being built. Because that board refused to listen to the majority then, they created this problem now. For every action there is a reaction and it’s time we start making decisions based on our future not our past.

Trying to scare the community into a decision based on loose, ill-defined repercussions without presenting all the options is just wrong. The obligation of our school leaders is to listen to the community. When conflict arises it is their responsibility to present all sides in a clear, neutral manner. As a board member you are not there to represent yourself. You are there to give us all the facts and then taper your vote to fit the majority opinion of your constituents.  Why is that so complicated? The decision is ours.   

For months we’ve heard how there is no way we can get out of this facilities contract with the state. But last night, board attorney Henry Rosenthal, shot holes in that theory when he said the state would allow us to back out. The four reasons he stated as cause for the state to reconsider were; a disaster, a change in enrollment, a change in curriculum or an unforeseen event. Why have we not heard that before? Why have we been told the merger cannot be stopped due to the contract when our own attorney says it can?  I’m not sure which is more frightening board members stating their opinion as fact without first checking to see if the contract could be broken or board members that knew we could get out of it but lied for their own personal reasons. Whatever the case, we all know now.

Three board members have heard the community loud and clear. They are willing to explore the options of reversing an unwanted plan. A board willing to gather all the evidence, present it to the community then vote according to the majority of their constituents will always be remembered as a board of the people. We should never underestimate the power of listening to the people.

 On behalf of this community, I am imploring all of our board members to stop pushing old ideas and embark upon new paths. What you most need to understand is that changing your course is not a personal loss it is instead a community win.  

Stand Up Clark County for a new educational landscape.  

KY Board Of Education & Stand Up Clark County Share Priorities

Posted in Board of Education (General) with tags , , , , , on February 8, 2013 by Joan Graves

Susan Allred, Associate Commissioner of the Kentucky Board of Education, said nearly verbatim what Stand Up Clark County has been promoting for a year. We have always said that the major determining factor of how quickly our schools can recover, meet goals and improve is based upon whether the adults in charge truly have the best interest of the kids as a priority. When we make sacrifices and hard, sometimes unpopular decisions, for the betterment of our students, improvement will run like a wildfire though our schools.


Trapp Elementary Gets Blue Ribbon & Demonstrates CCPS Potential

Posted in Encouragement, Herald-Leader, In The News, National Stories, School Board Election 2012, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , , on October 15, 2012 by Joan Graves
The logo for the Natonal Blue Ribbon Schools p...

The logo for the Natonal Blue Ribbon Schools program, awarded to JP2 in 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This evening parents and citizens are meeting to discuss the district’s plan to merge Conkwright and Clark Middle Schools. An overwhelming number of community members are against the proposal with very good reason. The Clark County Board of Education also seeks to close Trapp and other Elementary Schools for the same purpose. Yet, it is the smaller elementary schools that are the highest achieving in the district, state and nation.

Trapp Elementary leaders are currently preparing for a trip to Washington D.C. to collect a high honor. The U.S. Department of Education announced in September that Trapp Elementary will receive the coveted Blue Ribbon Award. Private schools are often touted as top schools and are considered in the running for the Blue Ribbon Award. Despite the competition it was a little public school in Winchester, KY that caught the eye of  U.S Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

“Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential,” Duncan said. “Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future.”

In a time of educational turmoil our little schools are getting the job done. Time and again they rise to the challenge and meet the goals that our board and superintendent say can not be met. Every teacher, worker, administrator and student at Trapp deserves recognition. On behalf of the community we say thank you Trapp for breaking the mold and demonstrating the capabilities of our students and teachers. We are so pleased to be a part of the community you have chosen to serve and improve.

Stand Up Clark County for Trapp Elementary!