TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By LeeAnn Cain / Staff Writer
The Laurel County Board of Education held a special meeting Monday in which several schools reported having greatly improved test scores, and one high school had a greatly improved graduation rate.
The meeting was held in the G.C. Garland Administration Building in order to accommodate presentation tables from each Laurel County school. The board heard updates from principals of each school, along with a few teachers. Each school presented a report on its performance over the past year. Though Superintendent Doug Bennett called many of the changes in school test scores “insignificant,” but singled out Laurel County Elementary School for their large gain in test scores.
Bennett mentioned London Elementary School in the meeting’s opening for its 10 point jump in test scores. According to Chief Academic Officer of Laurel County Schools Theron Hurley, London Elementary made it into the top 10 percent of most improved schools in the state. Though the school remains in need of improvement, this year’s leap in testing scores holds promise for the school’s future, according to London Elementary School Principal Mary Bowen.
“We are proud to be a high progress school,” Bowen said. “It’s a great day to be a Tiger.”
North Laurel High School also saw improvement over the past year. Its graduation rate increased from 65 percent to 83 percent. Assistant principals Mike Harris and Kenna Williams attribute this progress to programs intended to give students options for completing school. NLHS began to seek students who have recently dropped out to encourage their return, and it has opened the new McDaniel Learning Center, which serves students who may be unable to complete school due to certain circumstances. Harris went on to say that the school has begun to counsel students on an individual basis to see what works best for them in an attempt to intervene in the decision to leave high school.
South Laurel High School was proud of its AP test scores, according to Principal Harman Hodge. Students taking AP tests at SLHS had 62 percent pass rate, which is higher than the state average. SLHS is also beginning to implement certain classes year-round, such as a freshman science course to prepare students for sophomore biology. Hodge stated that year-long classes will improve test scores through better knowledge retention, as students can be drilled on material year-round rather than a single semester.
Once the board meeting resumed, a motion was made to accept the lowest bid for school supplies from a company that met the school board’s standards. The bids for supplies covered technology supplies and equipment, uniforms, instructional supplies, and office supplies for Jan. 2014. Though the bids weren’t finalized, Office Depot was recommended for instructional supplies and Aramark for uniforms, while multiple bidders were recommended for office supplies and technology, depending on the lowest cost in individual categories.