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County may land AmeriCorps College Coach

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Area Technology Center looking for match from School Board to help with funding

By Todd Martin

Thanks to the Shelby County Area Technology Center, Shelby County students may get more help in preparing for college.

Susan Wiley, the Area Technology Center's principal, has offered Shelby County Public Schools a chance to partner to hire a College Coach through the Kentucky College Coaches AmeriCorps Program.

The Shelby County School board will consider approval at Thursday's meeting.

Wiley said the ATC worked with the Cabinet for Workforce Investment, where it gets its funding, for a grant through AmeriCorps. The ATC has also made the offer to Eminence and Henry County school districts, because students of both may attend the Shelby ATC.

"Everybody that attends the technology center can get help from the College Coach," Wiley said. "But if they help in the funding, then the coach would also go to the schools to help."

Wiley said the program is very similar to the Greater Louisville Inc.'s Close the Deal program that helps Shelby County students with college entrance and financial aid forms and with setting up college visits.

The deal for the school districts is simple. AmeriCorps provides funds for the coach, and the school district and ATC would unite to match those funds. The matching funds could be split four ways if Eminence and Henry County also join.

"This person would work with students about 30 hours a week, basically doing anything to help them transition to a post-secondary school or trade school," Wiley said. "The goal of the program is to increase the number of graduates that enroll in post-secondary programs and get their degrees.

"They'll focus on ways to help students reach benchmarks in math and reading, help with FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid] forms, decrease the number of freshmen that need to take remedial courses and in a number of other ways."

SCPS Superintendent James Neihof said he would recommend that the board approve the matching funds for the College Coach.

“We appreciate the strong partnership with our Area Technology Center and applaud the vision of Principal Wiley to seek out and apply for a grant to provide a College Coach to encourage, assist and support students who might otherwise choose not to attend college,” Neihof said.

Also on the agenda:

• The board will listen to staff reports on the daycare program and preschool.

• Discuss the KIDS First in Frankfort Advocacy Conference and Lobbying Day

• Get reports on certified personnel and food service finances

• Consider approval of submitting a request for a disaster day related to the closing of the Shelby Education Center at Cropper on Jan. 22.

• Consider approval of waiving policy to allow the SCHS dance team, ROTC, and academic to participate in Sunday activities.

• Consider approval to allow West Middle to use a common carrier for a field trip.

• Consider approval of leave of absence and fund raising requests.