Shelby County School Board: Redistricting plan OKd with 1 change

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Strategic visit plan coming in January

By Lisa King

The Shelby County Board of Education on Thursday approved an elementary redistricting plan that it had presented to citizens at two previous meetings.

The only change from the original proposal is that students living on Scott Station Road will remain at Painted Stone Elementary School. There was no discussion of the matter at the board meeting Thursday night before it was approved unanimously.

The plan, which redistricts on the elementary level only for the 2014-15 school year, is predicated by the opening of the new Southside Elementary. It eliminates some overcrowding issues at Painted Stone, Simpsonville and Clear Creek, all of which are between 99.5 to 109.8 percent occupancy this year.

Heritage Elementary would remain closest to its occupancy level, at 94.2 percent, with other schools falling between 78.9 and 93.1 percent.

The new Southside can accommodate an additional 150 students, so about 130 students will be moving there, something to which some parents of students at Simpsonville Elementary School had objected during prior meetings.

Dave Weedman, district director of student services, said later that an exception was made for students living on Scott Station because only four students were involved.

“Not moving those few students would have no bearing on balance,” he said.


Vision report next year

Superintendent James Neihof told the board that the Strategic Leadership Team, created to help the district review and develop a vision for long-term strategies, will meet Dec. 2, 11 and 16 and on Jan. 13 to help form its recommendations.

“It is my hope that by the end of December we will have the framework of their recommendation compiled, so we can present it to you in late January,” he said. “The difference is that this team will propose a long-range vision, but they won’t have all of the answers for how we will achieve the vision.

“Once you adopt their recommendation, then I will go to work with our district leadership team to roll-out an implementation plan to you in the spring.”

He said this timeframe would allow the plan to be developed concurrently with the 2014-15 budget, so the board would be able to make informed budget decisions.

Some of those visions include graduating well-rounded students, teaching students why the topics they are learning are important, stressing more problem-solving exercises to improve the ability to think critically, and advancing the idea of personalized learning.

Neihof cited a recent article in The Sentinel-News about college readiness that reported that the number of Shelby County students who return for a second year of college is nearly double the state average.

“At the same time, setting out to only beat the state rate would provide a very low expectation for our students,” Neihof said. “However, we see this as an indicator that our college readiness rates are more than a number; they actually indicate an above average level of readiness.”

Neihof said regional stewardship is very important in advancing how well prepared students are for the workforce.

“As career readiness efforts expand across Central Kentucky, it is incumbent on us to provide real world connections between kids and various careers while they are still in high school,” he said. “In fact, this very issue is currently emerging in our SLT discussions.”


Construction updates

Harry Dumesnil of K. Norman Berry Associates Architects gave an update on the construction of Southside and the Northside Early Childhood Center, which is scheduled to open in January.

At Southside the walls are being installed, and the masonry construction is continuing in the kitchen area. In addition, structural steel framing is being installed, and concrete slabs are being poured on the second floor.

At Northside curbs and sidewalks are nearing completion and asphalt paving is under way. Heat systems are being installed, and roof trimming is ongoing. Ceramic tile is being installed, ceiling grids are being put in place, and bathrooms are being constructed.


Also at the meeting, the board:

§       Heard from Neihof that on Dec. 5, he would host a meeting for community leaders from many communities across Central Kentucky to share an opportunity to partner with business leaders, industry leaders and county and city government agencies to participate in a pilot program providing online career mentoring to students. “This is a tremendous opportunity for students who are interested in careers for which we cannot provide local mentors or local workplaces to visit,” he said.

§       Accepted the 2012/2013 audit report with no issues or weaknesses.

§       Adopted a resolution in support of the legislature to fund Unbridled Learning.

§       Approved budget amendments.

§       Approved the intent to apply for the 2014-15 WHAS Crusade for Children grant.

§       Approved intent to apply for a Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy grant for Collins High School.

§       Approved waiving board policy to allow People to People Student Ambassador programs to meet at Painted Stone Elementary.

§       Approved the snow removal call list for the 2013-14 school year.

§       Approved waiving board policy to allow students from Shelby County High School and Collins High School to participate in the Kentucky Youth Assembly on Dec. 8, and the East Middle School cheerleading team to participate in competitions on Dec. 8 and Feb. 2.

§       Approved 2014-14 non-resident contracts for outgoing student at Oldham County and Eminence Independent.