Keith Encourages Schools to “Dream Big”
By Eugenia Jones
With school districts across the nation receiving additional grant funding due to the COVID-19 pandemic, McCreary County School Superintendent Corey Keith said he is excited about receiving extra funds and the opportunity to help students excel and also help make up for student learning opportunities lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During Monday night’s school board meeting, Keith said Central Office staff met with all principals and encouraged them to “dream big.” As a result, the board created positions including Media Librarians (particularly needed in schools sharing librarians), guidance counselors, teachers, and instructional assistants. The Board also created four summer school coordinator positions and a substitute School Resource Officer position.
Additionally, the Board approved the final 2021-2022 Site Based Decision Making (SBDM) allocation from the state including section 6. As of now, school staffing from the SBDM allotments in the McCreary County School District will remain relatively stable for next year. Staffing is based on student enrollment. The schools will receive more section 6 money than anticipated earlier this year and will receive $115 per student.
The Board also granted permission to advertise for letters of interest from qualified architects experienced in the construction and renovation of educational facilities for a project to include the construction of an additional classroom wing to McCreary County Middle School, pending Kentucky Department of Education approval. The current building does not have the space needed for current and projected student enrollment.
In his communication to the Board and public, Superintendent Keith said, as of Monday, twenty-eight students had asked to take advantage of the “do-over” year. The “do-over” year is basically a voluntary request for a supplemental year to repeat a student’s current grade level due to last year’s loss of in-person instruction during the pandemic. Students and their parents must express their interest in a “do-over” year by May 1.
Keith also said the District has an extensive summer program planned. As of now, more than 400 students have committed to summer school.
Keith stated all documentation regarding the Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE) monitoring of the District concerning the inappropriate handling of federal programs has been submitted and is being reviewed by KDE. The mishandling of federal programs occurred prior to Keith becoming superintendent. Keith is optimistic the District will be released from state monitoring soon.
Superintendent Keith also recognized Kyleigh Hollis. Kyleigh is a student at McCreary Central High School and was named a 2021 Kentucky Governor’s Scholar. The Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program is a program that attempts to keep “the brightest” rising high school seniors inside the state of Kentucky. The program is a five-week program over the summer for students between their junior and senior years of high school. It is held at three different colleges across the state of Kentucky every year.