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Each month, the Shelby County School system honors selected employees for exceptional performances. At Thursday night’s meeting, four employees were spotlighted to receive WOW awards (What Outstanding Work): Jackie Ellis, Cathleen Johnson, Margo Whisman and Donna Whitis. Ellis, school secretary at West Middle School, works with Donna Jones as coach of the Divas dance team. She was spotlighted because of her role in helping the team make good grades as well as excel in dancing. When she told them she expected them to make the honor roll, they replied that they were not smart enough. She continued to encourage them, and their grades improved dramatically, including one student who was making Cs and Ds, who made the honor roll for the first time in her life. Ellis rewarded the student with a facial, a new hairdo, and a dinner. The student is now a role model for other students who are struggling academically. Like Ellis, Johnson, a guidance counselor at Shelby County High School, also was recognized for having an impact on student learning. Johnson makes a point to make sure no student “slips through the cracks,” and makes a special effort to contact each senior, working with them to identify specific areas where they need attention, from making sure they have the required credits for graduation to helping them for their college entrance exams. She often comes in early and stays late, and also comes in sometimes on her days off to help students, to ensure they have a positive learning experience and to help them to prepare for their future. Whitis, math teacher at East Middle, was chosen for her demonstrated leadership in the establishment and operation of the Extended School Services (ESS9 program at the school, and especially for working out the details for the inclusion of the English as a Second Language program, which meant establishing a tutoring program. She has participated in several math training sessions this past summer as well as Laying the Foundations training, a pre-advanced placement project for middle school teachers. She is one of five teachers who were trained to be Carnegie Math National Trainers and worked with corporate Carnegie staff to train Shelby County’s seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade math teachers in the implementation of Carnegie math. She was also part of a committee that researched and selected new math material for use in the Shelby County School district this school year. Whisman is an instructional supervisor at the school system’s central office. She was recognized for having an impact on student learning by working tirelessly to grow programs that have had a direct impact on student achievement. She has administered the Springboard project, a College Board English program in the middle schools, and the National Math and Science Initiative grant for the purpose of growing the number of advanced placement (AP) courses, as well as the numbers of students taking the courses. She has also arranged for training for high school teachers in AP courses and for Laying the Foundations for AP in the middle schools this past summer. She has significantly contributed to a jump in student ACT scores this year in Shelby County, with an overall .6 improvement in the composite score of all juniors who took the ACT this past year. Issue at Collins The board also heard a report from Sherman Carter Barnhart, project manager for Collins High School, that there is a possibility that the width of a stairwell in the auditorium at the school may have to be extended somewhat, More details have to gathered before a final determination can be made, and that will be addressed at the next board meeting. The board approved:
§ An offsite sanitary sewer project for Collins High School, as well as a change order for the Collins Athletic Complex.
§ A 2010-11 memorandum agreement between the Kentucky Educational Collaborative for State Agency Children and the school system.
§ Allowing SCHS’s boys soccer team to participate in Sunday activities for the rest of the month of September and for Jr. ROTC to do the same on Oct. 17.
§ Leaves of absence and funding requests.