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School board to give Collins funding for engineering program

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Will also move forward with Energy Grant Manager

By Todd Martin

Despite struggling with finding funding, the Shelby County Board of Education voted Thursday to proceed with Project Lead The Way at Collins High School.

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nationwide non-profit program that helps establish pre-engineering programs in middle and high schools.

Shelby County Public Schools had hoped to fund the $65,000 program with Race to the Top funds. However, because Kentucky did not qualify for the nearly $200 million in government funds, the district was left with either cutting the program or finding another way to fund it.

Kerry Fannin, the district’s assistant superintendent for student achievement, recommended the district pay for the program from the general fund.

Collins has chosen to go with the civil engineering program, which includes:

• Gateway to Engineering – 8th grade • Introduction to Engineering – 9th-12th grades • Principles of Engineering -- 9th-12th grades

• Civil Engineering and Architecture -- 9th-12th grades

• Engineering Design and Development --9th-12th grades

At this time there is no equivalent program at Shelby County High School, although one may be added later. But the SCHS students would have the opportunity to take the courses.

“It’s my belief that there were not quite enough students to sign-up for the first year to have a class every period,” Superintendent James Neihof told the board. “So if there are students at Shelby County that want to take the class, we will transport them to Collins.”

There are other areas of engineering study with PLTW, but, through input gathered from students, civil was the most popular among potential students at Collins. Neihof said that if interest improves at SCHS, another course of study could be added there.

By approving the PTLW, the board approves:

• Purchasing, using and maintaining a licensing agreement for the PLTW curriculum, equipment and materials.

• Hiring a teacher and counselor with the required level of training.

• Developing a partnership team in the district.

• Administering PLTW assessments and monitoring PLTW students.

• Serving as a model program for other districts.   The cost of the teacher had already been added to Collins’ teacher allocation. If the district later decides not to offer the program, the district has the ability to opt out with a letter to PLTW.   Energy Manager Grant

The board also approved the go ahead on the Energy Manager Grant, with a stipulation of checking the results after 12 months.

The grant, in conjunction with Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative and Kentucky School Boards Association, pools Shelby with Trimble County, Henry County, Eminence and Anchorage school districts, but because Shelby County is the largest district in the group, the Energy Manager will be housed at its central office.

The role of the Energy Manager would be to develop a comprehensive energy plan for each district and help it implement the plan with a goal of cutting 10 percent from a district’s utility bills.

The grant is for 22 months, and after it ends, the manager would cost SCPS about $14,000 for its portion. However, a 10 percent savings on electricity alone would profit SCPS $100,000.

Also at the meeting, the board:

• Approved a new summer school program for first- and third-graders. The program will be at the end of the summer – July 12 through Aug. 6 – instead of at the beginning and will be centered on the Reading Recovery and Comprehensive Intervention Model. Students will be identified for the summer program based on their MAP scores.

• Heard a presentation from the host school, Painted Stone Elementary. Liz Ruff, the school’s art teacher, told the board about the Young At Art activity on March 25. She stated that more than 700 people attended the multi-sensory affair.

• Heard an update on the construction at Collins High School. The school is nearing completion and appears to be on schedule. Several areas are receiving light fixtures, floor furnishings and are nearing the addition of furniture. The athletic complex is underway, with walls up on the field house and underground water systems under way.

• Awarded a bid for new carpet at SCHS for about $18,000.

• Awarded a bid for a new wireless clock system at SCHS for about $21,500.

• Approved five change orders for Collins High School, saving the district almost $2,300.

• Approved the Title IX report for SCHS. • Approved applying for the i3 Grant.

• Approved applying for a continuation grant for Reading Recovery Teacher Leader from the University of Kentucky Reading Recovery Training Center.

• Approved applying for a Reading Recovery grant funds for Southside Elementary School.

• Approved applying for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program grant.

• Renewed the contract for school portraits.