NEWS DIGEST: Aug. 20, 2014

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Kentucky students show

improvement on ACT


Kentucky public high school graduates still trail the national ACT test averages but are making gains over the past five years.

From 2010 to 2014, Kentucky public school students registered from a half-point to more than a full-point gain in every subject and nearly a one-point improvement in the overall composite score – up to 19.9 on a 36-point scale. At the same time, student performance nationally stayed nearly unchanged. The national composite is 21.1, up only one-tenth of a point from 2010.

“This is validation that we are on the right track and that Senate Bill 1 is accomplishing what was intended,” said Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “Our teachers have embraced more rigorous standards and our students are rising to the challenge. Both should be proud of what they have accomplished.”

Students taking the test without ACT approved accommodations, reported an average of 19.4 in English, 19.3 in math, 20.2 in reading and 20 in science. Over the five-year period, Kentucky’s students saw the biggest improvement in English with an increase of 1.1 point, while the national average remained the same. Reading saw an increase of 1 point, while science improved .8 and math .5. No national average improved more than .1 point.

Statewide data for the junior class who took the ACT in March 2014 will be released in the School Report Card later this fall.


McConnell, Grims to be on KET in Oct.

Sen. Mitch McConnell and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes will debate one another on Kentucky Educational Television less than one month before the Nov. 4 election, according to a report in The Louisville Courier-Journal.

The network announced Monday by press release that McConnell has accepted its invitation to talk about issues on the Oct. 13 edition of Kentucky Tonight. Grimes had long ago said she would appear on KET.

Host Bill Goodman will moderate the debate and ask questions, and viewers will be allowed to call in with their questions, said Tim Bischoff, a spokesman for the state's educational television network.

Josh Holmes, an adviser to McConnell, said that the campaign is in discussions about other potential debates but has nothing to announce at this time.

Jonathan Hurst, Grimes' campaign manager called on McConnell to agree to other forums. "It is our hope that Sen. McConnell will join us for several more debates. There are many questions Kentuckians have about his horrible voting record," Hurst said in a statement.

McConnell and Grimes are scheduled to appear at a forum hosted by the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation on Wednesday but the KET appearance is the first wide-ranging debate that the two sides have agreed to despite numerous offers around the state.


Bill would allow homeschool students

to play sports at public schools

State Rep. Stan Lee (R-Lexington) has prefiled a bill this month that would allow homeschooled children to participate in athletics at public middle and high schools, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

But Kentucky High School Athletic Association Commissioner Julian Tackett said the legislation for 2015 "would fundamentally alter high school athletics in the state."

Under the bill, if a nonpublic school — including a homeschool — does not offer a sport, a student would be eligible to participate in the activity at a public school. The public school would be one to which the student would ordinarily be assigned if the student were not enrolled in private school or homeschooled.

The bill is "particularly different from past acts, as it appears to offer a blanket opportunity for any nonpublic school to have its students participate in school-based sports at another school," Tackett said in a statement. "The actual details are much more impactful to education-based athletics and its impact much more pervasive on our member schools."

The KHSAA has opposed similar bills in the past, and this is not the first bill that Lee has filed.

In an interview, Tackett said that some smaller private schools might decide not to offer athletics if such a law were passed.

"They could still promote the benefits of the smaller classroom ... and never have to have the expense of sports, because kids could play where they live," he said.


Celebrating the commonwealth’s first heart transplant

It’s been 30 years since surgeons at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, parent company of Jewish Hospital Shelbyville, performed the commonwealth’s first heart transplant. Alice Brandenburg, age 40, became the recipient of the state’s first heart transplant on August 24, 1984.

Today, at 9:30 a.m., the company will celebrate that anniversary at the Kentucky State Fair, in the Health Horizons exhibit area. Several of the companies executives will be on hand for the celebration.


Grove Hill Cemetery clean-up

The next restoration weekend for Grove Hill Cemetery will be September 20-21, starting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the chapel and at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Registration fee for members of Friends of Grove Hill is $15 to supplement supplies and lunch. A training program for newcomers will be conducted Saturday with a registration fee of $50 that includes training tools, D/2 Biological Solution and some cleaning supplies, plus lunch. Participants completing the two-day training will receive apprentice certifications.


Squire Boone Day will be Oct. 4

Squire Boone Day will be from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Oct 4 2014 at Clear Creek Park.

The Squire Boone Foundation is still searching for sponsors for this year’s event, which will feature rising country music star and Taylorsville native J.D. Shelbourne. Booth space will be available for $25, and tickets will be $10. The foundation will also sponsor a Little Miss and Mr. Squire Boone contest and a Miss Squire Boone. Winners will be VIPs at all future events.

For more information about becoming a sponsor or entering a pageant, please call 502-220-9542.


SBDMcouncil meetings

  • The Southside Elementary SBDM council will have a special-called meeting at 4 p.m. on Thursday in the conference room.
  • The Wright Elementary SBDM council will meet at 4 p.m. Thursday in the media center.


Road repairs, delays

  • Interstate 64:Lane closures and delays possiblefrom the Welcome Center to ½mile east of KY 55 (mile points 27.9 to 32.8) due to roadway widening and paving.  Lane closures are always possible Sunday - Friday from 7:00 p.m. each evening until 5:00 a.m. the following morning and on Saturdays from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. the following morning.


The Kentucky Press News Service contributed to this report.