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LCS asks community to participate in school safety survey School Safety

LaRue County Schools officials are asking students, staff, parents and member of the LaRue community to provide input on school safety measures by taking a survey available on the district’s website.

Next LCS superintendent named David L. Raleigh

In a unanimous decision, the LaRue County Schools Board of Education on Thursday named David L. Raleigh the district’s next superintendent.

Raleigh, currently an assistant superintendent for Franklin County Schools, will officially begin the job July 1, and his annual salary will be $129,000, according to the employment contract approved at a special board meeting.

“The board members believe Mr. Raleigh is the one who can take our schools to the next level,” said board chairwoman Dawn Conner. “LaRue County Schools already is doing very well, and we are excited to attract a new superintendent who can lead us forward.”

Board members said they were pleased that one candidate earned the board’s undivided support, though four highly qualified individuals were interviewed for the job.

Board to interview four superintendent candidates Superintendent Search

The LCS Board of Education is moving into the interview phase of the search for the next superintendent of LaRue County Schools.

Parents urged to attend kindergarten registration March 22 Kindergarten Registration

ALES kindergarten teacher Melissa Newby engages her students during story time.

Healthy smiles for students Lisa Eberle, Cumberland Medical Center dental assistant, cleans and adds sealant to a student’s teeth.

If you happen to notice LaRue County school students wearing broader-than-usual smiles in the next few weeks, there’s a great reason for it.

Family Dental with Cumberland Family Medical has been in the district seeing middle and high school students February 22-27. They will see elementary students in the upcoming weeks, making sure to visit all schools.

LaRue superintendent search attracts 15 applicants 15 apply to lead LCS

The LaRue County Schools superintendent screening committee is reviewing 15 applications for the district’s top post.

The 15 individuals include four superintendents, three principals and eight educators working in central office positions. The pool consists of 14 men and one woman. Fourteen applicants live in Kentucky and one is from outside the state. Another four people submitted incomplete applications, which will not be considered.

The board of education charged the screening committee with recommending three to five applicants. The committee will finalize its recommendations March 15 and provide the recommendations in a meeting with the board March 19.

STLP Creates LaRue County Minecraft World STLP LCHS Minecraft

While reviewing the digital product online judging section of the Student Technology Leadership Program website last fall, members of LaRue County High School’s STLP club came across a competitive project that they couldn’t turn down.

State budget could deal serious blow to LaRue schools Transportation is among the largest cuts in a proposed state budget.

If Gov. Matt Bevin’s budget passes, LaRue County Schools could face more than $1 million in new financial liability in the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The steepest of the governor’s cuts pulls back state funding for student transportation from about 57 percent to 25 percent of the costs. This shifts a new $550,198 responsibility to LaRue County Schools.

“Making up that kind of shortfall within the transportation department would be impossible,” said district finance officer Kay Bryant. “We would have to look for cuts in other areas.”

The district could consider using fewer buses to run longer routes or staggered routes, but that wouldn’t cut labor hours. The district also could look at forgoing replacement buses – the current plan includes $200,000 to buy two new buses – but district officials warn that districts that don’t stick to a replacement plan soon find themselves with a fleet that is expensive to maintain and even unsafe.

While it’s true that the governor’s budget holds steady Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding at $3,981 per student, local districts’ share of funding continues to increase. SEEK funding has remained fairly flat for nearly a decade, while the cost of educating a child has increased dramatically. Without considering cuts like the proposed transportation cut, SEEK funding for LCS is estimated at $10.4 million for the 2018-19 school year.

Early release Fridays to continue next school year Abraham Lincoln Elementary School fifth grade teachers, from left, Adryanna Warren, Heather Hynes, Daniel Thomas, and Todd Rogers examine curriculum data on a Friday afternoon after students have been dismissed for Early Release.

Early Release Fridays, in which LaRue County Schools’ students are dismissed each Friday at 1:30 p.m., will continue in the 2018-19 school calendar.

According to three veteran classroom teachers, the collaboration time is beneficial not only to teachers but also to students.

“This gives us time to meet with our other grade-level teachers, special education teachers, our school-wide staff, and with teachers at Hodgenville Elementary,” said Heather Sutherland, a fourth-grade teacher at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School. “Early Release Fridays are designed for teachers to meet to analyze student data, discuss curriculum and assessments, and plan lessons that best meet the needs of our students.”

LCMS Incident LaRue County Middle School

Parent Notice of incident that occured at LCMS on Feb. 15.

LaRue teachers earn National Board Certification From left, LaRue County Middle School teacher Ashley Carter and LaRue County High School teacher Savannah Boone recently earned National Board Certification.

LaRue County High School teacher Savannah Boone and LaRue County Middle School teacher Ashley Carter have been named National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) through a rigorous, performance-based, peer-review process, demonstrating their proven impact on student learning and achievement.

“This means so much to me as a teacher,” Boone said. “I wanted to develop professionally and perform to the best of my ability. I feel that earning National Board Certification means that I’m striving to do what’s best for kids and seeking to continually improve as an educator.”

Both teachers earned certification for exceptional needs specialist/early childhood through young adulthood.

“Working as an exceptional needs collaborator, I spend a lot of time reflecting on student behavior and learning processes,” Carter said. “National Boards allowed me to reflect on my own teaching practice. Through reflective analysis, I hope to improve the support I can give my amazing students.”

LCHS senior honored for service to others Elena Cecil with Melissa Maxcy Wade, former Director of Debate at Emory University

LaRue County High School senior Elena Cecil’s service to others has led to a very special honor. Cecil won the Melissa Maxcy Wade Social Justice Award earlier this month at the Emory University Speech Tournament in Atlanta.

The award has been a part of the tournament for the past few years and recognizes students who have made significant impacts in their communities through their service and compassion for those less fortunate. Cecil was nominated by her coaches in recognition of her work raising money for Hope Food Pantry over the past three and one-half years.

Hope Food Pantry will receive a $400 cash donation, and the LCHS speech team will receive $100.

Board members detail district successes, goals, challenges Board of Education members, from left, Price Smith, Joanna Hinton, Dawn Conner, Farrah Pruitt and Paul Handley

As school districts throughout Kentucky recognize their boards of education during January, remember these are members of our community who are dedicated to face the challenges facing schools today with the commitment of doing everything they can in the interest of our county’s students.

LaRue County Board of Education members include Dawn Conner, Division 1 (Lyons and Hod- genville West); Paul Handley, Division 2 (White City, Hodgenville East); Farrah Pruitt, Division 3 (Lincoln Farm, Buffalo); Price Smith, Division 4 (Barren Run, Upton, Magnolia); and Joanna Hinton, Division 5 (Otter, Attilla, Mt. Sherman).

Each of the local board members was asked what his or her major short- and long-term goals are; what are the biggest challenges facing our schools; and what good things are going on in our schools of which we can be proudest.

LaRue County Schools honored with ENERGY STAR LaRue County Schools receives Energy Star awards.

The LaRue County Schools Board of Education celebrated the district’s recent ENERGY STAR awards for all its schools at the Jan. 22 board meeting. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) prestigious ENERGY STAR is the national symbol for protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency. This signifies that the buildings perform in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency.

“The LaRue County Schools is committed having to energy efficient schools. It has been a great experience working with Harshaw Trane to achieve this status,” said Sam Sanders, LaRue County Schools superintendent. “It allows the district to spend more resources on our students and less on energy bills.”

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Statement regarding school safety LaRue County High School

Wednesday afternoon, a LaRue County High School student made a threatening comment to another student in a side conversation during a class. After the class, a student who witnessed the exchange notified the teacher, who notified school leaders.

School officials talked with students in the class and the student who made the comment. At that time, the student did not recall his exact words but admitted to saying something threatening to a single student.

School officials determined a threat to the school was not made. However, it was important that school officials make it clear that such statements are entirely unacceptable. School officials notified the student’s parents, Hodgenville Police Department and Communicare, which provides risk assessments. HPD and Communicare told school officials they would interview the involved student Thursday morning. By coincidence, the student had prior arrangements to leave school early on Wednesday and was signed out by a parent shortly after the incident.

Confidential school disciplinary action has been taken. School officials are unaware of any criminal charges.

Multiple rumors about a threat have been circulating, especially on social media. We want to assure parents and students that there was no credible threat to the school at any time.

LCS instructional supervisor selected for Kentucky Women in Education Leadership Christina Boone

After a competitive application process, LaRue County Schools Instructional Supervisor Christina Boone is among 30 female educators selected for the first cohort of the Kentucky Women in Education Leadership (KWEL). Applicants were chosen based on specific leadership criteria.

These leaders, along with 30 of the state’s top female executive educators, convened Jan. 19-20 in Louisville for a leadership forum and induction ceremony.

“I’m honored to have this opportunity,” Boone said. “As a member of Kentucky Women in Education Leadership, I’ll have access to leadership and professional development as well as a network of exceptional educators. I’m really looking forward to growing as an educator and putting new skills and knowledge to work for our school district.”

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.”