By RON BENNINGFIELD
With school safety so important an issue, Eric Allen, LaRue County Schools’ new Director of Student Services, says the district is continuing to make changes that will help keep the district’s students and staff safer.
“We are in the process of implementing more electronic entryways at the middle school,” he noted. “We’re also continuously looking for ways to improve our security camera system.”
The district has contracted with two more mental health providers (ASTRA and E’Town Partners in Counseling) which, added to Communicare and Cumberland Family Healthcare, give the district four providers for all schools.
“This will give us an adequate amount of counselors and therapists in our buildings which is a mandate of Senate Bill 1 that goes into effect next school year,” said Allen. “We are also going to install a new intercom system in all of the buildings which will provide building-to-building communication as well as an emergency alert system, and we are looking hard at our physical space and coming up with ideas to make all of our buildings more secure.”
His findings will be included in the district’s strategic plan.
Another area of responsibility for Allen is district attendance.
“Each school has created an attendance committee and is in the process of creating their attendance improvement plan,” he remarked. “Our district has a goal of 96 percent average daily attendance this school year and we are developing some really fun activities and incentives to celebrate our students that display good attendance.”
“We want them to know how much we appreciate them being here and that good attendance is the foundation of success in whatever career they choose,” he said.
Allen, who moved into his position July 1 after Rip Collins’ retirement, may be new to the position, but certainly not to the district.
He graduated from LaRue County High School in 2000 where he played baseball and football.
He began his educational career 10 years ago when he started out as an instructional assistant at the district’s alternative school.
“My second year I was hired as a certified special education teacher at the alternative school,” he recalled. “After that year I moved to the high school and was a member of the greatest math department in the state.”
He taught six years at LCHS before becoming the school’s assistant principal last year.
He coached baseball for eight years at LCHS, six of them as head coach.
“I have also served as an assistant golf coach, middle school football and middle school basketball coach over the years,” he commented.
Under his mentorship as head baseball coach, the Hawks compiled a 122-88 won-lost record, winning four district championships and one region championship(in 2018).
He noted a major difference in his previous positions and his current one is that he now has to look at things from a different point of view.
“Instead of looking from a point of view of one school, I’m looking at things district wide,” he explained. “The work environment is different because I’m constantly on the go between schools and the office which I enjoy because I get to interact with more staff and students.”