Last updated: July 22. 2013 10:56AM - 116 Views
G. Sam Piatt



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GREENUP, Ky. A committee made up of residents of the Greenup County School District has formed with a determination to do all it can to help Greenup County High School become one of the top performing academic schools in Kentucky.
Thats our sole purpose, said Lew Nicholls, a retired circuit judge of Greenup and Lewis counties who was elected president of the group. We realize that the Greenup County School System did not get into this shape overnight. It has taken years of neglect and apathy and we are not in the blaming mode.
At the same time, we accept no excuses from the administration, teachers or parents that our children are socially-economically deprived and are incapable of learning.
The committee made some recommendations some might consider drastic, including firing tenured teachers who are deemed to be deficient in performing their duties; paying the new principal 10 percent more than the salaries of principals in the countys other two school districts, Raceland-Worthington and Russell; and not allowing any student to drive an automobile to school unless she or he has a grade point average of C or better.
They also call for the Board of Education to find a new superintendent if the current superintendent fails to hold the new principal accountable for the performance of his duties.
The report and recommendations are to be forwarded to the committee members for comments. The committee will then meet again to finalize the report before presenting it to Superintendent Steve Hall.
We recognize that many teachers at Greenup County High School are excellent in the performance of their duties, Nicholls said. In light of this fact, we expect that all people in the workforce should be motivated by incentives rather than through fear. Thus we recommend that teachers should be rewarded by monetary incentives for a job well done when their students achieve academic progress that meets the goals set by the Kentucky Department of Education.
The organization will be called the Stuart Committee in honor of Jesse Stuart, the late Greenup County nationally known author and educator in the Greenup County schools.
The committee held its organizational meeting in mid-February. It came in the wake of a January visit to the high school by an assessment team made up of about two dozen members sent by the Kentucky Board of Education. The visit came after the state board placed the high school among the 10 lowest academic performers in the state.
Actions so far have resulted in Jim Dunaway, principal at the high school since September 2009, being terminated from his position at the end of the current school year. District Superintendent Steve Hall, not the site-base school council, which in the past has been responsible for hiring principals and teachers, will hire Dunaways replacement. Another action was to strip the high school council of its hiring and firing powers for three years.
Dunaway, who attended the Stuart Committee meeting, explained to the group that the school district had adopted the model of eliminating the school principal at the end of the year.
The committee asked Nicholls to prepare a report of the committees activities, including suggestions made by some committee members.
The committee will meet again to finalize the report before presenting it to Hall.
The report says students and parents should be held accountable as well.
To motivate parents to attend their own childrens parent-teacher conferences, the committee recommended that such conferences be held at least once a month and that they be held during an extended halftime at home basketball games, on Saturdays, and during an evening on a work day during the week.
We believe this approach will give parents an opportunity to attend a least one of several conferences, Nicholls said.
Other recommendations made by the Stuart Committee:
After a student has taken the ACT or SAT, school counselors should discuss the results with each student within 14 days of the school receiving the scores. Such counseling sessions should be documented for inspection by the state Board of Education.
The high school place an emphasis on teaching English, language arts and mathematics.
The school form an alternative school where disruptive students can learn. The committee said they believe that removing disruptive students from the classroom produces a better learning environment for the vast majority of students who attend the high school and want to learn.
No student participant in extracurricular sports or events unless he or she has a C or higher GPA.
That every coach rigorously enforce this policy and promote academics when the opportunity arises.
After School Tutoring. Buses should not leave the school until one hour after the school dismisses classes for the day. Instead, at the end of the school day each student who has a C or less in any class, shall attend after-school tutoring for one hour.
We expect every teacher to stay at the school and offer tutoring in his or her class, the committee wrote. For example, if the school dismisses at 3 p.m., then the school buses would not leave until 4 p.m. so that the students could attend after-school tutoring.
A good academic student selected by the teachers should be highlighted for his or her academic success during halftime at each football and basketball game.
Students should wear uniforms so as to diminish social-economic status. For boys, these uniforms could consist of only blue jeans and a white shirt that costs very little and is probably already in the wardrobe of most students. The girls could wear a similar uniform.
Male teachers should wear coats and ties and the female teachers wear appropriate dress-up apparel to reflect their professional status.
In addition to Dunaway and Nicholls, others attending the organizational meeting of the Stuart Committee included Tom Clay, Mark Maynard, Greg Thompson, Landon Maynard, Soc Clay, Rick Brown, Mike Ferguson, Vance Huston, Duane Gilliam, Scott Stephenson and Randy Royster.
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