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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

By RON BENNINGFIELD

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.

Seeking School Board Nominations Seeking School Board Nominees
ALES honored with ENERGY STAR certification ALES Energy Star Award

The LaRue County Schools Board of Education honored Abraham Lincoln Elementary School for its recent ENERGY STAR certification at the Jan. 17 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 building performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency.

“The LaRue County School District is proud to work with Harshaw Trane to achieve ENERGY STAR certification at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School," said LaRue County Schools superintendent Sam Sanders. "Obtaining this efficiency will allow the district to spend more dollars in our classrooms and not on utility bills.”

Technology students to launch website featuring LCHS alumni photos Sweet Memories

Thanks to the hard work of several students in LaRue County High School’s technology classes, the school’s alumni and general public will soon be able to go online to view individual’s pictures from their senior class.

“Our expected launch date is March 15,” said Symone Whalin, an LCHS senior who with fellow senior Brandon Hurt and junior Dylan Sullivan will present the site construction as a competitive project in the Student Technology Leadership Program conference in April at Lexington’s Rupp Arena.

2017 ExCEL winner Mr. Houston Cruse 2016-17 ExCEL winner Houston Cruse and family

Teachers, students, elected officials, family and friends came together on Wednesday, January 11 at LaRue County High School to celebrate the 2017 LaRue County ExCEL award recipient, Houston Cruse, an LCHS teacher who through his positive impact has helped students rise to unexpected levels of achievement.

LCHS senior participates in Distinguished Young Woman state event Symone Whalin

Symone Whalin, LaRue County’s 2017 Distinguished Young Woman, is participating in state DYW competition at Singletary Center for the Arts in Lexington this week.

The LaRue County High School senior arrived in Lexington on Sunday for the weeklong series of events that result in winners being awarded college scholarships worth thousands of dollars.

How LCS team makes a snow day decision snow

Weather in this area of the state is so localized that low clouds may be laying down a layer of ice on roads in one end of the county while only a cold rain covers the roadways in another section only a few miles away.

That variance makes the decision of calling off school even more difficult for LaRue County Schools Superintendent Sam Sanders.

Helping him, however, to obtain the best possible and most timely advice on road conditions are Phil Fulkerson, director of transportation and maintenance, Ronald Whitlock, area transportation director, and Nathan Wheeler, head mechanic, who when ice or snow threatens, arise around 3 a.m. to inspect road surfaces.

Each man travels to different areas of the county where buses cover almost 2,000 miles of road daily along 37 routes.

Fulkerson checks out the Maxine area and southern part of the county. Whitlock inspects the Levelwoods, Ball Hollow, Mt. Sherman-Ward Road area, and Wheeler travels the Roanoke area and northern part of the county.

Cheer squad takes regional championship Hawks competitive cheer squad

The LaRue County High School competitive cheer squad won a regional championship on November 19 at Nelson County High School. The team won the All-Girls Medium division and they now advance to the KHSAA Competitive Cheer Championships on Saturday, December 10 at the Alltech Arena in Lexington.

LaRue County High School Scores High Marks Again on State Testing LCHS Receives High State Testing Results Again
Hawk KYA Delegation Honored Hawk KYA in Frankfort

Several LaRue County High School students got a close up and personal look at the workings of state government as they participated in the Kentucky Youth Assembly Nov. 20-22 in Louisville and Frankfort.

“Three of our four bills reached the desk of the Governor,” said Kendrick Bryan, LCHS social studies teacher who with Lindsey Bryan and Ben Schell chaperoned the LaRue County students who joined others from throughout Kentucky.

Houston Cruse honored with 2017 LaRue County ExCEL Award 2017 LaRue County ExCEL recipient Houston Cruse

Talk to 2017 LaRue County ExCEL recipient Houston Cruse, and you’ll find out how important family has been, not only to his becoming a teacher, but also to his continuing in that profession.

“My family has always been a wonderful influence on my life,” said the advanced placement world history and world civilization teacher at LaRue County High School. “From the time I was of a young age, both of my parents constantly explained that money and prestige should never be a deciding factor concerning an occupational choice. Both of them always pushed me to do what I love, regardless of the situation.”

Sandidge recognized as a standout Building Assessment Coordinator Kelly Sandidge with family and assistant superintendent for student achievement Amanda Reed

Kelly Sandidge’s goal is to create a streamlined, stress-free environment where students and teachers are prepared for and at ease with standardized testing.

His work — which his colleagues credit for helping transform LaRue County High School into a model for student achievement — has earned statewide recognition as the Kentucky Association of Assessment Coordinators named Sandidge the Kentucky Building Assessment Coordinator of the Year.

“There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Along with others at the high school and district level, I’m in constant contact with our students and our teachers to make sure testing is as successful as possible,” Sandidge, the school’s director of student services, said.

LCHS Parent School Safety Survey High School Parent School Safety Survey
LCHS Y-Club members attend lecture series LCHS Y-Club members attend lecture series. Pictured: Seth DeVary, Emma Bowling, Breea Kirkpatrick, Jessi O'Bryan, Abigail Hazelwood, and Seth Newby
Skaggs named LCHS interim principal Denise Skaggs

Instructional supervisor Denise Skaggs will lead LaRue County High School through the remainder of the 2016-17 school year.

LaRue County Schools superintendent Sam Sanders appointed Skaggs interim principal during a meeting of the high school’s site-based decision-making council Thursday afternoon.

LCS ranks 8th of 173 Kentucky school districts LCS ranks 8th in the state, is named District of Distinction

LaRue County Schools is the eighth highest performing of Kentucky’s 173 school districts and ranks higher than any district in the region, according to data from the Unbridled Learning Assessment and Accountability System.

“Our scores have reflected a high level of student achievement for several years, and our mindset in LaRue County is continuous improvement. To rank eighth in the state is an incredible accomplishment for our students and our dedicated teachers and staff,” said superintendent Sam Sanders.

With an overall score of 78.4, LCS has earned its first District of Distinction designation. Across the state, 15 districts achieved District of Distinction status.

Two schools in the district – Hodgenville Elementary and LaRue County Middle School – earned School of Distinction status.

Learning at an earlier age Children and parents participate in a school readiness program.

Futurist Buckminster Fuller in his 1982 book Critical Path is said to have written that if all the knowl- edge that mankind had accumulated and transmitted by the year One A.D. were equal to one unit of informa- tion, it took about 1500 years or until the sixteenth century for that amount of knowledge to double.

The next doubling took only 250 years, until about 1750, and by 1900, knowl- edge had multiplied by 8 units. Today, futurists like Fuller estimate the doubling speed is now between one and two years.

With so much continuously increasing knowledge, the impetus for educators to prepare children for learning at earlier ages becomes greater and greater.

LaRue County’s family resource coordinators Machelle Durham, Melissa Pearman and assistant Jessica Skaggs offer two programs, Wee Time and KHIC (Kindergarten Here I Come), to help fulfill that need for early learning preparation.