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New immunization requirements for students Immunization

Parents should begin preparing early for Kentucky’s new immunization requirements for children attending public schools next fall.

The law (902 KAR 2:060) requires all students to receive two Hepatitis A shots and students 16 and older to get a meningitis booster.

Rip Collins, LaRue County Schools health and safety coordinator, reminds parents that it’s imperative to start preparing now because the Hepatitis A vaccine is given in two doses that must be six months apart.

“To be in compliance for enrollment next fall, they had better schedule their first appointment immediately,” said Collins.

Lisa Cox, school health team leader with Lincoln Trail District Health Department, said that Hepatitis A shots previously were recommended, not required. The new Kentucky regulation, however, requires the two shots not only for public school students in grades K-12, but also for those in child day care centers, certified family child care homes, and preschool programs.

Cox added that upon receiving the initial Hepatitis shot, the child will be issued a provisional immunization certificate that expires after six months.

LaRue Schools to honor leaders during School Board Recognition Month LaRue County Schools Board of Education

Kentucky will again observe January as School Board Recognition Month and the LaRue County School System is joining in the celebration.

The LaRue County Board of Education is composed of Dawn Conner, Price Smith, Joanna Hinton, Farrah Pruitt and Paul Handley.

“The voters of our community have created a special group of education leaders in this board,” said Superintendent Sam Sanders. “They are true partners in the work to ensure every child in every classroom can experience high quality teaching and learning.

Blending talent: LCHS artists illustrate achievement Anna Webb and Katelyn Senesi

School district banners created by students are a favored tradition of the annual Kentucky School Boards Association conference. In this year’s display, a collaboration of high school seniors Katelyn Senesi and Anna Webb represents LaRue County Schools.

The banner is their interpretation of the KSBA 2018 theme, “Adapting and Achieving.” The painting shows a graduation scene, and in the background, the artists wove in Webb’s sunrise and Senesi’s galaxy.

“Getting your diploma – everyone knows the hard work and adapting you have to do to achieve that,” Webb said, adding that the sunrise and the nigh-sky galaxy represent the beginning and the ending of the day.

ExCEL nominees honored 2018 WHAS11/LG&E KU ExCEL Award nominees Eric Allen, Erin Hardwick, Natasha Price and Andy Arendt

Four LaRue County teachers, one from each of the district’s schools, are in the running to be named the 2018 WHAS11/LG&E KU ExCEL (Excellence in Classroom and Educational Leadership) Award winner.

The award recognizes and rewards the contributions of public schools and the teaching profession to the development and well-being of young people and the community.

District officials will announce the LaRue County ExCEL Award recipient at a dinner on Jan. 11. A ceremony will follow on Jan. 24 at the award recipient’s school.

Superintendent search underway Superintendent Search

The search for LaRue County Schools’ next superintendent has begun.

“LaRue County has more than the typical timeframe to find our next superintendent, but we are not delaying the search,” said board chairwoman Dawn Conner. “We’re glad to get the process started now, and we hope to have the next superintendent identified before the end of the school year.”

Skaggs awarded for ability to "rally" LCHS Denise Skaggs with the Rally On Me award

Denise Skaggs is the recipient of a “Rally on Me” award for her work as principal at LaRue County High School.

Skaggs, a longtime veteran teacher and administrator with LaRue County Schools, has served as LCHS principal since April 25 when she was selected to replace former principal Kyle Goodlett.

Presenters from HOPE (Helping Other People Excel Training and Professional Development, LLC.) gave Skaggs the award in November at Fort Knox.

New clubs help students reach full potential LCMS art students

This year, students at LaRue County Middle School have three new avenues to get involved and develop their skills and talents. The school has established or re-established the Pep Club, Art Club and the Health and Fitness Club.

Asked to bring forth ideas that would promote a positive school culture for the student body, the school’s student leadership group suggested expanding clubs.

Remembering Everett Glennie “E.G. Red” Sanders E.G. Sanders

E.G. Sanders, superintendent of LaRue County Schools from 1967 to 1991, passed away Monday, Dec. 4. He was 92.

Sanders started his long career in 1950 as a teacher and coach at Buffalo High School, and he became principal of Hodgenville High School in 1954. In 1958, when Buffalo, Hodgenville and Magnolia high schools consolidated, Sanders was named the first principal of LaRue County High School, a post he held until becoming superintendent.

“He loved LaRue County Schools, and the community will miss him. There’s no doubt about that,” said Corky Cox. Sanders hired Cox to coach basketball in 1956, and after working together for 31 years, they continued to be close friends who visited often.

Band of Hawks soared in 2017 Band of Hawks recognition at LCS Board of Education meeting.

The LaRue County High School Band of Hawks recently wrapped up an incredible marching season, placing third in its class during the state finals at Papa John’s Stadium in Louisville.

Approximately 60 students are in the band – the most the school has had in recent years – and the talent and hard work of each made 2017 a successful season.

It's not too early to start seeking financial aid Free Application for Federal Student Aid

Though high school graduation is several months away and college may seem even more remote at this point in the school year, most counselors agree that it’s certainly not too early for seeking sources of financial aid.

LCS Help Desk a win-win LCHS Help Desk members Austin Skaggs (front), and Timothy Reip discuss the repair of one of the district’s 1,600 computers they help maintain and repair.

LaRue County Schools have found a “win-win” situation in the 18 high school students involved in the Student Help Desk.

Not only are they doing a service to the school through computer and other technology repair and maintenance, they are also gaining valuable skills and knowledge that will help them later in life.

“I do not think the tech staff could even begin to keep up with the district’s needs if we did not have the student Help Desk,” acknowledged Freddie Newby, the district’s chief information officer.

With each student in the high and middle school assigned a personal laptop, the five seniors, six juniors, and seven sophomores in Help Desk repair and maintain over 1,600 of the devices. Additionally, they are often sent to the classroom to troubleshoot issues related to projectors, printers, interactive boards, wireless access points, document cameras, televisions, screen beams, phones, external DVD players, computer docks and external speakers.


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LCHS average ACT composite score holds strong at 21 2017 LCHS ACT results

LaRue County High School scored an average ACT composite score of 21 when students took the state-mandated test as juniors last spring. The score is equal to the 2016 score, which broke a school record for the fourth consecutive year.


Hornback recognized as National Merit semifinalist Skyler Hornback

Skyler Hornback, a former LaRue County High School student who now attends The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky, has been recognized as a semifinalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Competition.

Approximately 1.6 million juniors entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as the initial screen of program entrants. 

From this list comes the nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. 

Healthy Kids Clinic improves access to healthcare for LCS Healthy Kids Clinic APRN Katie Cruse, LCHS School Nurse Corey Morgan and Healthy Kids Clinic Provider Nurse Jene McCubbins

A partnership of LaRue County Schools and Cumberland Family Medical Center (CFMC) continues to help students receive a higher level of healthcare at school.

In addition to the existing school nurse program, last spring each school began Healthy Kids Clinic, a CFMC program. At the clinic, family nurse practitioner Katie Cruse, along with provider nurse Jene McCubbins, are available on a rotational basis at the district’s four schools to provide preventative services such as well-child exams and immunizations as well as acute care visits. Also, Healthy Kids Clinic will hire a licensed social worker to offer behavioral health services as early as September.

Late release for solar eclipse Late release for the August 21st eclipse

LaRue County’s public schools will release students 15 minutes later than regular dismissal time on August 21, the day of the upcoming solar eclipse. 

All schools have provided opportunities for students with signed parental permission to view the rare event that afternoon.

Information is being sent this week to parents informing them that in order for students to participate, the school must receive permission forms signed by the parent or legal guardian. 

LCS welcomes new staff members New LCS certified staff

Fourteen certified personnel join the ranks of LaRue County School teachers this year. Below are brief introductions to who they are, where they’re from, where they teach, and short comments from them. Introductions for this year’s new classified personnel also are included.

LaRue County Schools proposes 2017 tax rates 2016 Total Real Estate Tax Rates

Shortly after the start of the school year, all Kentucky school districts must determine local school tax rates. LaRue County Schools Board of Education is considering proposed 2017 tax rates of 49.1 cents on real property and 49.1 cents on personal property. 

As the Board of Education’s decision approaches, LCS wants to ensure the LaRue County community has important information on school property tax rates and school funding needs.

New procedures make schools safer Visitor badge

As the new school year starts, LaRue County Schools have made some changes designed to make the schools safer for students and staff, noted Rip Collins, director of pupil personnel.

Brown joins LCS as Director of Special Education Carole Brown

LaRue County Schools has welcomed Carole Brown as the district’s new director of special education.

With 15 years experience, Brown most recently served as special education consultant for Elizabethtown Independent Schools, working with administrators and teachers to develop special needs programs and strategies. Her previous positions also include resource teacher and moderate to severe disability classroom teacher.

“We are very excited that Ms. Brown is joining LaRue County Schools,” said superintendent Sam Sanders. “She is exceptionally qualified, and I’m confident she will help us continue to ensure all students are making gains.”

Cecil and Mather win National Service Award Kim Mather and Katy Cecil embrace after they were awarded the 2017 Richard Gaudette Service Award.

Over the Memorial Day Weekend, during the NCFL National Speech and Debate Tournament, former and current LaRue County Speech coaches Kim Mather and Katy Cecil were awarded the 2017 Richard Gaudette Service Award.  Established in 2008, the award, which is named after Richard Gaudette of Worchester, Massachusetts, a long-time member and servant of the National Catholic Forensic League, recognizes individuals who have promoted “service as well as ‘leadership through speech’ on the local, state, or national levels.”  The mission of the NCFL is to promote leadership and “humble service and articulate leadership to seek the truth spoken in charity.”  Mather and Cecil, along with their parents Garland and Ruth Blair, were recognized for their service work over the past 42 years at the state and national levels of the NCFL.

Alumni Photo Project gains popularity Alumni Photo Project


Since going online last month, LaRue County High School’s Student Technology Leadership Program’s Alumni Photo Project site has amassed thousands of views and its popularity appears to be growing.

District Chief Information Officer Freddie Newby said last Thursday, for example, the site had 2,094 visitors in that one day. The site contains individual senior class photos of LCHS alumni spanning the years from consolidation with former Buffalo, Hodgenville, and Magnolia high schools from 1959 through 2002, totaling 6,254 photos.

Theresa Banks, technology resource technician at LCHS, said the site is a result of an STLP project which students Simone Whalin and Nick Rojas presented at the state conference last month.

The project placed among the top five percent of those state presentations and most site visitors, many of them LCHS alumni, have given it top marks as well.

Teacher of the Year candidate driven by student success Jake Taylor and Austin Burgess discuss their agriculture project with Misty Bivens in the ag shop at LCHS.

The Kentucky Department of Education and Valvoline likely found plenty of reasons to select LaRue County High School agriculture teacher and FFA advisor Misty Bivens as a 2018 Valvoline Teacher Achievement Award recipient and a candidate for Kentucky Teacher of the Year.

“Ms. Bivens is everything you hope to have in a teacher, whether you’re a student, a parent or a fellow member of the staff,” said LCHS principal Denise Skaggs. “She does an incredible job for our students inside and outside the classroom.”

Bivens is an accomplished teacher and advisor, and her drive is quickly noticed, her colleagues said.

“I believe it was her passion and dedication that came through in her application and made her stand out,” LCHS agriculture teacher Chris Thomas said. “She will push herself and students to become the best that they can in whatever they are doing. Her passion in everything she does is unmatched.”

On the job with new LCS Child Nutrition Coordinator Stephanie Utley

Stephanie Utley credits her smooth transition into her position as child nutrition coordinator for LaRue County Schools to a hard-working staff of 21 food service employees and to her predecessor, DeeAnne Sanders.

“I walked into a very good program with some of the nicest kitchens you’ll see,” said Utley, who worked as a central office account clerk for the district before transitioning into her new position.

“All the schools are equipped with the latest equipment,” she explained, “and the people who work in the kitchens work harder than anyone else I know.”

Unbridled Learning testing is May 1-11 Unbridled Learning testing is May 1-11

LaRue County Schools students and teachers are putting a year of work to the test as annual Unbridled Learning assessments get underway.

Students in third through eighth grade will complete Kentucky Performance Rating for Education Progress (K-PREP) assessments May 1-5. High school students will complete the End of Course assessments and K-PREP assessments May 1-11.

On Friday, May 5, all schools will be in session for a full day rather than following the early-release schedule.

Denise Skaggs named principal at LCHS Denise Skaggs

Interim Principal Denise Skaggs has earned the permanent leadership role at LaRue County High School. The school’s site-based decision-making council selected Skaggs at the close of a council meeting Tuesday.

“Mrs. Skaggs has proven during her years of service to LaRue County students that she has the dedication and strong instructional background it takes to continue the high school’s academic achievement,” said superintendent Sam Sanders, who chaired the principal selection meetings and was part of the process. “In addition, she is an effective communicator with the ability to promote a positive school culture, and she has earned the trust of our students, staff and community.”

Skaggs said she was honored and excited to accept the position. Since taking the interim principal post in October, she has had a clearer view of the school’s successes and strengths.

“There are a lot of great things about our school and our district, and that’s what led me to make the decision to apply,” Skaggs said. “Knowing this is a long-term opportunity gives me a sense of peace because I care about our kids and I enjoy being around them on a daily basis.”

Bivens named Kentucky Teacher of the Year candidate 2018 Kentucky Teacher of the Year candidate Misty Bivens

LaRue County High School FFA advisor and agriculture teacher Misty Bivens has been named a 2018 Kentucky Teacher of the Year candidate.

The Kentucky Department of Education and Valvoline™ have selected 24 outstanding Kentucky educators as recipients of the 2018 Valvoline Teacher Achievement Awards (TAA). These teachers qualify to compete for the 2018 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced in May. The programs have recognized more than 500 teachers and awarded three-quarters of a million dollars since 1988. 

LCHS delegation honored at KUNA KUNA participants Maddie Royalty (Outstanding Ambassador), Josh McCourt (Outstanding Parliamentarian) and Symone Whalin (Outstanding Speaker)

Eleven students from LaRue County High School traveled to the Galt House in Louisville for the Kentucky United Nations Assembly from March 26-28.

The following LCHS students attended the conference: Chandler McLaughlin, Hunter McLaughlin, Jacob Cecil, Seth DeVary, Symone Whalin, Virginia Taylor, Hayley Cecil, Josh McCourt, Seth Newby, Maddie Royalty and Noah Thompson.

LCHS students prepare greenhouse LCHS Greenhouse

Students in Chris Thomas’s crop technology class at LaRue County High School have already begun transplanting seedlings as they learn about growing plants and also provide income to help fund the greenhouse and agriculture department needs through public sales.

Some of the main objectives Thomas has set for the class include plant nutrient requirements; pests and diseases in the greenhouse; transplanting plants in the greenhouse; integrated pest management practices that can be used in the greenhouse; how different fertilizers are mixed and how the mixture ratios contribute to plant growth.

Three LC teachers earn Excellence in Teaching award Campbellsville University Excellence in Teaching Award recipients

Three LaRue County school teachers have been selected as the 2017 Campbellsville University Excellence in Teaching Award recipients.

Laura Evans, a fifth-grade teacher at Hodgenville Elementary School; Pam Baker, seventh-grade math teacher at LaRue County Middle School; and Jessica Beaven, a LaRue County High School eleventh-grade algebra and English teacher were recognized for their accomplishments at the district board of education’s meeting March 20.

Students create virtual Rube Goldberg machine STLP students create Rube Goldberg Machine

When most people think of accomplishing a task, they look for the easiest, straightest path with fewest steps to reach their goal.

An American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor named Rube Goldberg (1883-1970), however, turned that pattern of thought on its head as he is best known for a series of popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect, multi-step ways to produce a falling-domino effect. His process of problem solving gave rise to the term Rube Goldberg machines.

Four LaRue County High School students are in the process of creating their own virtual Rube Goldberg machine for the state’s Student Leadership Technology Program. Their challenge asks them to use their machine to shoot off virtual fireworks in the computer game, Minecraft.

“The more complex and varied the process to achieve this, the better the team’s score will be,” noted Theresa Banks, LCHS technology resource technician.

LaRue County Education Week LaRue County Education Week
LCHS teacher visits James Madison’s Montpelier LCHS teacher Kendrick Bryan Seminar in Montpelier
LCMS eighth-grader earns national awards for volunteer service Biven Turner with LCMS principal Jason Detre

Biven Turner, a student at LaRue County Middle School, has been honored for his exemplary volunteer service with a Certificate of Excellence from The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, and with a President’s Volunteer Service Award granted by the program on behalf of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.

Soil conservation art, writing contest winners announced ALES Art

LaRue County winners of the Jim Claypool Art and Conservation Writing contests have been announced.

Overall writing winners include students Biven Turner and Yasmeen Hamada from LaRue County Middle School and Myah Meredith from LaRue County High School.

Overall art winners are Ella Thomas and Emily Detre from Abraham Lincoln Elementary School and Makayla Benningfield from Hodgenville Elementary School.

Career Launch: Preparing students for success Career Launch

School teachers and staff work hard to prepare their students for success not only while they are in school, but also for the time when they will enter the adult world.

A very important part of that goal is planning—choosing the classes that are the closest “fit” to the interests and aptitude of each student.

On Monday, Feb. 20, LaRue County students in eighth through 11th grades came with their parents to the high school for Career Launch, which, as the name suggests, helped them take off on an optimum career path through their high school years.

13 LCHS seniors earn State Registered Nurse's Aide Certification December 2016 State Registered Nurse's Aide Graduates

As far back as she can remember, LaRue County High School senior Emma Bowling has wanted to follow in the footsteps of the women on her dad’s side of the family and enter the medical field as a career.

She and 12 senior classmates reached a first milestone toward accomplishing that career goal as they passed all coursework, a practicum and the final test toward state registered nurse’s aide certification.

The course, which ran August through December at the Brockman Center in Hodgenville, was offered through Campbellsville University’s Technology Training Center’s Allied Health Program.

LaRue County Elementary Schools Excel at District Governor’s Cup Governor's Cup 2017
LCS seeks substitute bus drivers School bus closeup

Ronald Whitlock, the school district’s area coordinator of transportation, said the need here is not so much for immediate permanent route drivers, but for substitutes.

“We don’t have any routes open at this time,” Whitlock noted. “However, we do have one driver retiring and may have more before summer.”

He said drivers typically start out as substitutes, driving on an as-needed basis with pay starting out at $12.94 per hour.

“We currently have 29 ½ routes daily and like to have three or four good subs at all times,” said Whitlock. “I am looking to hire four sub drivers at this time.”

Applicants would need to be flexible, good with children, and be able to pass a CDL physical along with drug screening and a TB skin test, he remarked.

“We provide training to get a class B CDL with passenger endorsement and school bus certification,” Whitlock commented. “Sub drivers are in line for full time positions as they come available.”

LCS recognized as District of Distinction at state board meeting District of Distinction

The Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) and the Kentucky Department of Education recognized 16 school districts including LaRue County Schools as Districts of Distinction at the board’s meeting Feb. 8 in Frankfort.

2017-18 kindergarteners must be 5 by Aug. 1 kindergartner boarding a school bus

Starting with the 2017-18 school year, children entering kindergarten must be 5 years old on or before Aug. 1. The cutoff has been Oct. 1, but the 2012 Kentucky General Assembly moved back the cutoff date based on the premise that younger students might not be ready for school.

Healthy Kids Clinic opening at each school Nurse practitioner with child

LaRue County Schools students soon will be able to receive a higher level of healthcare at school thanks to a new partnership between the district and Cumberland Family Medical Center.

Along with the existing school nurse program, each school will house Healthy Kids Clinic, where children may be seen by a family nurse practitioner. The family nurse practitioner will be available from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on a rotational basis at the district’s four schools to provide preventative services such as well-child exams and immunizations as well as acute care visits.

“The Healthy Kids Clinic will give our students and their parents one more option for student healthcare,” said Rip Collins, director of pupil personnel for LaRue County Schools. 

School Board Appreciation Month LaRue County Board of Education members

January is the month when school districts across Kentucky recognize the hard work school board members do and the dedication they show for their students.

“Our school board members are all committed to the betterment of our students and school system,” noted Sam Sanders, superintendent. “Having a high quality school board is one of the reasons LaRue County Schools is a top 10 school district.”

LaRue County’s board members were asked to express the good things that are happening in LaRue County Schools and things they would like to see accomplished in 2017.