By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer
The Laurel County Day Treatment School was recognized at the Laurel County Board education meeting Monday for receiving a perfect audit score of 100 percent. The audit, completed in April, showed that the school received 32 out of 32 in every category.
“I am very blessed to be principal out at Day Treatment; it is such a well-oiled machine,” said Principal Greg Huff.
He reported to the board that during the past school year, 107 students have come to school, with 56 of those court-ordered to attend. Of the 107 students, 82 tested below grade level on reading, according to Huff
“Out of those 82, there were 20 that by the time they left, they were reading at or above grade level,” Huff said, adding the way the school was set up, teachers could have anything from grade six though 12 in a classroom.
“It’s kind of like teaching in a one-room school,” Huff said.
He gave lots of credit to the school’s success to the teachers and counselors.
“Our students receive character education classes each and every day. Students also receive unlimited individual counseling as it is an open-door policy,” Huff said.
He said he wanted to “fight the misconception” that Day Treatment is an “out of control prison-like school.”
“It is not like that. It is very structured and ordered and, as a matter of fact, last year we had zero acts of physical aggression,” Huff said.
To reward student behavior, the school has started a behavior awards program this year. Students are awarded with cookouts, trips to movies and other possible field trips.
Huff thanked the school board for improvements that were made to the school over the summer, including the replacement of three floors and a beefed-up security system.
Huff said he had several goals, some of which went along with the change in dropout age.
“We want to look at ways to be more aggressive with credit recovery, find a way to get kids caught up in the six or seven months that they are with us. When kids get behind academically, we would like to have a way to help them catch up on their credits,” Huff said.
The Day Treatment school is rated for 45 students at a time. There are currently around 36 students at the school.
“Those are very positive comments on the audit report; thanks for all that you do,” said Laurel County School Superintendent Doug Bennett.
During the meeting, school board members also held and approved the second reading to revise the district’s grading policy.
“This is just to help our students qualify for more scholarships and opportunities and bring our system more in line with surrounding districts,” Bennett said, explaining that revising the policy would “expand the scope of the grading scale to include kindergarten and primary students.”
An agreement between the school district and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for 2013-2014 school year was also approved.
“These funds are for two job coaches that facilitate community based instruction. They provide other services to get students involved or placed with employment. We are reimbursed for those two coaches; it will cover the lion’s share of their salaries,” Bennett said.
An agreement for AmeriCorps volunteers was also approved by the board.
“This is for our AmeriCorps volunteers. We have four coming in for this year, for a very reasonable cost to us. It allows us to have folks in the building to work with the staff and supplement programs for the students; its always been a big help to us in the past,” Bennett said. The cost is $5,500 per volunteer.
“That is a good rate to provide extra services to our students,” Bennett said.
Bianca Hawkins, Diana Schafer, Walt Kilburn and Courtney New will be the four volunteers.
At the end of the meeting, Bennett announced that the Back to school Extravaganza would be held on July 30 from 5 to 8 p.m., at the London-Laurel County Optimists Club on West 80.
“There are approximately 80 vendors registered to help our students with their back-to-school needs,” Bennett said.