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Elementary schools ready for changing of the times

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BACK TO SCHOOL August 6

By Stephen Thomas

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - It’s not year-round school, but a late ending to last year, combined with an early start this year, make for a short summer vacation.

Bullitt County Public School students return to the classrooms Wednesday, Aug. 6. That makes for rare back-to-school sales at the stores in the month of July.

One of the biggest changes at the elementary level is start and ending times, which will vary at each school location.

Starting at 9 a.m. and releasing at 3:40 p.m. are Crossroads, Freedom, Maryville, Mount Washington, Old Mill, Overdale and Pleasant Grove Elementary. Doors open at 8:30 a.m., with Old Mill requesting students arrive at 8:40.

The other schools begin at 9:10 a.m. and release at 3:50 p.m., including Brooks, Cedar Grove, Lebanon Junction, Nichols, Roby and Shepherdsville Elementary. Doors open at 8:40 a.m.

Five BCPS schools were approved by a federal program to supply free breakfast and lunch for all students, including four elementary schools: Brooks, Lebanon Junction, Maryville and Shepherdsville.

It’s still July, and it’s still summertime, but it’s also time for the elementary back-to-school previews. For more information contact BCPS, 869-8000, or visit bullittschools.org.

BROOKS

Brooks is one of the five BCPS schools now offering free breakfast and lunch opportunities for all students.

“The No Kid Hungry initiative is a wonderful thing,” said principal Cheri Lineweaver, adding that it’s one less thing for students and families to worry about.

Brooks will continue offering multiple programs funded through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant, provided in conjunction with the United States Department of Education.

“We’re starting a whole new reading program called Benchmark Literacy,” Lineweaver said. The program implements research-based solutions to Common Core standards and interactive technology to enhance student process.

The Reading Streets program will be offered to Kindergarten students, featuring a similar implementation of Common Core standards.

Lineweaver said many 21st Century programs will continue before and after school, including the popular Go Math program that began last year.

Brooks will feature a new Robotics club for students this semester.

New Brooks teachers include Audra Bridges (1st grade), Erin Rummage (3rd grade) and Ryan Meeks (music and art).

The school’s open house is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 4, from 5:30-7 p.m.

CEDAR GROVE

From day one, Cedar Grove principal Andy Moberly said all teachers would be trained in the disciplines of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum.

Cedar Grove is adding a STEM lab, with instructor Rebecca Morris presiding. Moberly said the entire school will have lab access.

“This is a big change,” Moberly said. “This will increase our school’s STEM comprehension. It also offers in-depth, hands-on instruction.”

The Cedar Grove administration will welcome new 1st/2nd split teacher Theresa Waddell to the staff.

Following recent years of substantial building upgrades, Moberly said little change at Cedar Grove was a good thing for students and families this year.

Cedar Grove’s open house takes place Monday, Aug 4, with grades K-2 scheduled from 5:30-6:30 p.m., followed by grades 3-5 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

CROSSROADS

It was a quiet break at Crossroads Elementary this summer, something that pleased principal Julie Skeens.

“We’ve been pretty consistent,” she said. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Crossroads is shifting its current Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) system, adding more leadership components as well as student reflection.

“We encourage students to be more flexible with teachers, parents and other students,” said Skeens. “It makes for more student accountability.”

Skeens introduced Earleen Tudor as the school’s new 2nd grade instructor.

The Crossroads Open House is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 4. Grades K-2 will meet from 5:15-6:30 p.m., followed by grades 3-5 from 6:45-8 p.m.

FREEDOM

Principal Marcella Minogue has been busy filling vacancies at Freedom Elementary. One of those voids was filled by Shepherdsville resident Allison Lupton as the new librarian.

Other new faces include 2nd grade teachers April Castle and Taylor Ferguson, 3rd grade teacher Marsha Wilkerson, 4th grade instructors Brittany Adamson and Katie Croaff, and 5th grade teacher Katie Rupp.

Minogue said Freedom planned to continue focus on reading improvements at each grade level. She mentioned four grade levels will now have access to laptop computers.

“We’re just trying to refine our own instruction,” she added.

Freedom students can now participate in the Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP) as an after-school extra-curricular activity. Also added to the extra-curricular list this year are track and archery.

“We’re very excited about all of those,” Minogue said.

Freedom will host two open houses, beginning Thursday, Jul. 31 for grades 1-5 from 6-7:30 p.m.. A Kindergarten open house was scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 4, from 6-7 p.m.

LEBANON JUNCTION

According to principal Patrick Durham, the new free breakfast and lunch program may have the biggest impact this semester at Lebanon Junction Elementary.

“We know our students are getting a meal,” he said. “No student will pay for breakfast or lunch. It lifts a huge financial burden on our families.”

Durham added that the program guaranteed nutritious meals. He also mentioned students would still be allowed to bring their own lunches.

Lebanon Junction will continue implementing its PBIS program through the Academic and Behavioral Response to Intervention (ABRI) program, featured by the University of Louisville.

“ABRI helps to connect academics and behavioral responsibilities,” Durham said.

The Bullitt County YMCA will host daily programs for students before and after classes. The school’s Parent Teacher Association is fixing the playground.

“We’re not changing a lot, but we’re getting better at what we’re doing,” Durham said.

All students will gather for an open house Monday, Aug. 4, with doors open at 5:30 p.m. Pre-school through 2nd grade students are scheduled from 6-7 p.m., with grades 3-5 from 7:30-8:30 p.m.

MARYVILLE

Principal Ruth Esterle was pleased to announce that Maryville was awarded a Read to Achieve (RTA) grant. RTA focuses on intensive reading strategies for struggling students.

With the grant, Maryville hired Kindergarten instructor Jessica Borgelt to fill the new RTA position. Meanwhile, Kelli Kaiser takes over the Kindergarten vacancy.

Esterle said Maryville applied for a Metro United Way Arts and Humanities grant that would allow all students to attend a cultural field trip, as well as bringing special guest speakers to the school.

The school will feature free breakfast and lunch for all students this year.

Maryville will host two open houses for pre-school students: Thursday, Aug, 14, for the a.m. pre-school; Monday, Aug. 18, for p.m. pre-school. Both events take place at 5:30 p.m.

A schoolwide open house for grades K-5 is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 4, from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Esterle said the school would host a Title 1 Back-To-School Bash Aug. 22.

MOUNT WASHINGTON

Principal Terri Lewis said her staff has been hard at work all summer preparing for the new semester.

“(The staff) is attending various trainings and collaboratively planning for this year,” she said.

Preparations included upgrades to the school’s STEM lab, with instructor Carla Young changing and adding new lesson plans.

Lewis thanked the school’s PTA for a donation of nearly $8,000 for a 30-station mobile iPad classroom.

New staff members include long-time volunteer Rachel Ilickovic, who will now serve as Kindergarten assistant, and Kali Ervin, Kindergarten teacher and wife of Bullitt East band director Trevor.

The Mount Washington open house for grades 1-5 takes place Thursday, Jul. 31. Students with last names A-L attend from 6-7 p.m.; M-Z students are scheduled from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Kindergarten open house will be Tuesday, Jul. 29. A-L students attend from 6-6:45 p.m., M-Z students from 7-7:45 p.m.

Lewis reminded parents to pay their $20 instructional fee at the open houses.

NICHOLS

The little elementary school on Highway 44 West will see a number of new faces in the building this semester.

Principal Sheri Hamilton announced new editions including special education instructor Jessie Thompson and Kindergarten assistant Sarah Walls. Reading Recovery teacher Heather Allen transferred from Lebanon Junction Elementary.

Hamilton welcomes Sarah Connor as the new Nichols secretary. Trina Kimball will become the new pre-school secretary for Hamilton, who also serves as pre-school coordinator for the district.

Jody Densford, a retired librarian from Freedom Elementary, will join the Nichols staff as part-time librarian.

“She’s already written a library grant proposal for us,” Hamilton said.

Nichols students and teachers will begin a focus on the Seven Habits series originally created by Stephen Covey. It is the same emphasis for The Leader in Me program being implemented at other district schools.

Hamilton said data notebooks would be implemented schoolwide this semester.

The Nichols open house takes place Monday, Aug. 4, at 6 p.m. Hamilton encouraged students to bring their school supplies with them to the open house.

OLD MILL

Work at the neighboring Bullitt East High School facility might look like a hinderance, but Old Mill principal Les McIntosh said Old Mill would remain status quo on car-rider and bus-rider plans.

“Car riders are at Door 12, and bus riders at the front drive to the gym,” he said. “It worked out well last year, it’s the best plan we’ve had, so we’ll do that again.”

With STEM labs appearing in various BCPS elementary schools, McIntosh was pleased to announce the Old Mill STEAM lab, the ‘A’ being an additional art component. Richard Cox will serve as the STEAM instructor.

“We’re spearheading this, it’s like the Gheens Academy in Louisville,” McIntosh said. “We want Old Mill to become the county STEAM resource center. We’re pleased about that.”

Monday, Aug. 4, is the big day for Old Mill open houses: Grades K-1 will meet from 5:30-6:30 p.m.; Grades 2-3 from 6:30-7:30 p.m.; Grades 4-5 from 7:30-8:30 p.m.

“We encourage our families to bring their school supplies that evening, so they’re not dragging them in on the first day,” McIntosh said.

The Old Mill Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) program will have a kickoff with pizza on Sep. 1. McIntosh encouraged fathers, grandfathers, uncles and all father figures to attend.

OVERDALE

The newest face in BCPS elementary schools this year is Adrienne Usher, Overdale’s new principal.

Usher served the past two years as an instructional coach at Maryville and Nichols Elementary. She brings 13 years of total educational experience to the school.

According to Usher, Overdale will joining Lebanon Junction by implementing the ABRI program to assist with the district’s PBIS program as well as meeting Kentucky Center for Instructional Discipline (KCID) standards.

Overdale will also look to establish The Leader in Me program in its early stages, Usher said.

An open house was scheduled for Monday, Aug. 4, from 5-6:30 p.m. A Kindergarten meeting will take place in the gymnasium.

PLEASANT GROVE

Knowledge is power, and it’s the reason Pleasant Grove will continue last’s year’s superheroes theme with this year’s new theme, “Be Your Own Hero.”

“The superhero theme was a big hit with students,” said principal Melissa Whicker. “We want students to view PGE as their ‘superhero training academy’ where they will learn from our everyday heroes - the PGE staff.”

The school will host regular celebrations to recognize students and staff for showing their “superpowers” during the semester.

“Celebrations will be for those remaining focused on goals, showing determination to overcome challenges they may face, and using their knowledge to solve problems as they prepare to change the world,” Whicker said.

Pleasant Grove will have a new roof on the building by opening day. A new courtyard renovation will provide an outdoor classroom area thanks to a Lowe’s Toolbox and Education grant.

Three Pleasant Grove open houses are scheduled: Kindergarten students attend Thursday, Jul. 31, from 6-7:30 p.m.; Grades 1-4 meet Monday, Aug. 4, 6-7:30 p.m.; 5th Grade meets Thursday, Jul. 31, 6:30-7:30 p.m., in the cafeteria.

ROBY

Roby Elementary is pleased to announce the return of 5th grade instructor, and former Bullitt County Elementary Teacher of the Year, Rick Lumpkins.

“We’re very glad to have him back,” said principal Gayle Korfhage. Lumpkins left for Shepherdsville Elementary after earning the award.

Also added to the Roby staff is 2nd grade teacher and Bullitt County resident Emily Hunt. Korfhage said Hunt was energetic and full of classroom strategies.

Other new staff members include music teacher Stacy Oliver and art instructor Courtney Kimes.

“Both are student-centered, talented and passionate about education and the arts,” Korfhage said.

Roby will emphasize Common Core district standards with stronger emphasis on science. Korfhage said Roby was looking to begin The Leader in Me program to increase student engagement and promote future leadership skills.

“We’ll be doing book studies and future leadership days to promote the program,” she added.

Roby open house will take place Monday, Aug. 4, 6 p.m. for grades 1-5. Cubby Camp for Kindergarten students is Tuesday, Jul. 29, at 6 p.m.

SHEPHERDSVILLE

The big elementary school on Highway 44 West will celebrate its 10th anniversary throughout the school year.

Principal David Pate said the staff will continue to improve educational opportunities, increasing reading, writing and math workshop focus.

All Shepherdsville teachers were trained in the KCID program, as part of the PBIS program endorsed by the district.

According to Pate, Shepherdsville hopes to meet new science standards with assistance from a new hands-on science lab.

“It’s a lab for teachers to use,” he said. “The students should be able to look forward to more hands-on instruction.”

New staff members include Amy Murray (3rd grade), Ashley Meyers (4th grade) and Ashley Gabhart (5th grade).

Shepherdsville will host two open houses, beginning Monday, Jul. 28, 6 p.m. for grades K-2. The second will take place Tuesday, Jul. 29, 6 p.m. for grades 3-5.