There have been years of construction, new buildings and building additions.
There have been years of district changes, new employees and new programs.
There has also been success in the classrooms, increased test scores, and new programs that expand opportunities and bring new challenges and opportunities to students.
In comparison to recent years, Bullitt County Public Schools will focus on the status quo in 2012-13 - where the district lacks in major changes, it increases emphasis on continuous improvement.
Elementary school is not too early for students to think about college.
Brooks principal Cheri Lineweaver said the school's fifth graders would participate in a College and Career Opportunities program with students from the University of Louisville.
"It's kind of like a big brother/big sister thing, where students work together and also have some time to play together," Lineweaver said. "It's another way to help show the importance of education."
The Brooks staff will implement the district's Thinking Strategies program.
"It's a little different way of teaching than we've done in the past," said Lineweaver. "It's getting students to think and work to the best of their abilities, to try every day."
Brooks will feature Kindergarten Camp on Friday, Aug. 3. A morning session is scheduled from 10-11:30 a.m., with an afternoon session taking place from 1-2:30 p.m.
Lineweaver said parents should call the school, 689-2000, to sign up for one of the sessions.
The Brooks Open House is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 6, from 5:30-7 p.m.
"We're looking forward to an exciting new school year," Lineweaver said.
Cedar Grove students will find a new place to play thanks to a new playground constructed over the summer.
The school's PTO raised $34,000 for the project through a variety of fundraisers over the past three years. Principal Andy Moberly said the new playground will provide much needed recreational space.
Moberly said there is much to look forward to at Cedar Grove, including new initiatives to recognize student achievement and keep parents informed.
On Aug. 23 the school will host its first principal-parent information night. Moberly said parents will be invited to the school one night each month to ask questions and learn how to get involved in their childrens’ education both at home and at school.
A new reward plan to recognize academic achievement will be instituted. Moberly said the idea was to have a consistent plan recognizing students who follow expectations placed upon them.
Cedar Grove will host its Open House Thursday, Aug. 2. Students K-2 are invited from 6-7 p.m.; 3-5 students are invited 7:30-8:30 p.m. Kindergarten Orientation will take place from 5-6 p.m.
The PTO will host a back-to-school pool party Friday, Aug. 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the public pool behind Bullitt Central High School.
“Believe” will be the buzz word for the coming school year at Crossroads Elementary.
Principal Kim Sego said she’s excited to start the school year with new teaching strategies aimed at getting kids to believe in themselves.
“Kids need to be motivated to think they can accomplish anything they set their minds to,” she said.
On opening day students will be greeted by teachers and administrators with a red carpet welcome, an idea Sego borrowed from Hebron Middle principal Steve Miracle.
Sego said Crossroads’ job was to build kids up, so the school will make a conscious effort to make students believe in themselves and know that teachers believe in them, too.
Crossroads will continue to concentrate on student developmental needs on an individual basis.
“The focus is to hit that harder,” Sego said.
Crossroads will have two new teachers, including Toni Unser, a transfer from Roby Elementary, teaching fifth grade.
A New Year Celebration will be hosted Monday, Aug. 6, for all students. Students in grades K-2 are invited from 6-6:45 p.m., with grades 3-5 invited between 7-7:45 p.m.
Students and families are also invited to Crossroads’ Summer Carnival Sept. 7 from 5-9 p.m.
Freedom principal Marcella Minogue said an emphasis on technology remains a school priority.
"We'll be doing fundraisers and everthing we collect is going to technologies in our school," she said.
Freedom will be supplying City Saver coupon books as a fundraiser, while the school will implement an independent reading program through its library.
"We will supply E-books for students to read at school and online at home," Minogue said.
The smiling faces greeting students on opening day will include two new instructors, Jaimie Johnson teaching a 4/5 split class and resource teacher Samantha James.
Freedom's Open House for students in grades 1-5 is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 2, from 5:30-7 p.m. Minogue said the school would be featuring Kona Ice treats at the open house with proceeds going toward school technologies.
A Kindergarten Open House will take place Monday, Aug. 6, from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Looking ahead, Minogue encouraged everyone to prepare for the PTA walk-a-thon scheduled Oct. 26.
To better serve struggling math and reading students, Lebanon Junction will implement a redesigned Response To Intervention (RTI) program.
“It will look a little different this year,” principal Staci Goedde said. "The school will have a certified, full-time teacher working with students on math and reading, as well as four instructional assistants."
In addition to beefing up the RTI program, Goedde said there will be a greater focus on increased parent and volunteer activity. Several events aimed at getting more parents and volunteers involved will be planned.
To give parents easier access to student curriculum, the school will offer an online resource for parents to view.
Goedde said the LJES faculty and staff will continue working on common core standards and fine-tuning focus areas.
All students and families are welcome to attend the Lebanon Junction Open House Thursday, Aug. 2., from 6-7:30 p.m.
The school will host a series of monthly meetings to discuss Title 1 classification, coinciding with PTA meetings and offering activities for students. The first meeting will be held Aug. 30 at 6 p.m.
The biggest change at Maryville Elementary is in the principal's office.
Ruth Esterle, a counselor from Mount Washington Elementary, was selected as interim, replacing long-time principal Sam Cowan.
Esterle said Maryville students won't see too many changes but rather a continuance of district-promoted programs such as Thinking Strategies. She said most of the staff was properly trained for the program.
Maryville's theme and focus for the year is College and Career Readiness.
"We'll make that a part of our everyday language," Esterle said.
Along with Esterle, teacher Melody Cravens joins the staff. Cravens is a former Maryville student-teacher.
Maryville's Open House is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 2, from 6-7:30 p.m.
This year's theme at Mount Washington is 'Wild About Learning'. Principal Terri Lewis said students will embark on a learning safari beginning the first day.
MWES will focus on college and career readiness, along with refining the school’s literacy plan. Students will work on reading skills in a workshop model rather than in a traditional instructional environment.
Lewis said parents and students will see changes in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) initiatives with a new rewards program.
PBIS will allow students to earn (or lose) play money based on behavior. Students will store what they earn in individual accounts to be used for certain privileges.
"The idea was to incorporate practical living core content with PBIS," Lewis said.
Lewis said MWES will continue its thinking strategies model and updated professional learning communities.
MWES will continue to offer enrichment clubs as electives for students ranging from Spanish and Chess to Drama and Physical Fitness.
New staff includes third grade teacher Krista Keiser and fourth grade instructor Mindy Ashford. The school will have a new part-time Special Education teacher.
Jean Qualls will serve as interim counselor for Ruth Esterle, who was named Maryville Elementary interim principal. Lu Knoer will serve as speech therapist while Carey Combs is on maternity leave.
MWES Open House takes place Thursday, Aug. 2. Students with last names A-L are invited from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and students M-Z from 7-8 p.m.
On Aug. 20 the MWES PTA will kick off its magazine fundraiser. Book fair and grandparents’ week will take place the week of Sept. 17.
Principal Sheri Hamilton enjoyed her first year at Nichols. Her enthusiasm has not let up going into year two.
The school continues its building facelift, with teacher Cindi French and her husband, Mackie, improving the school's garden area.
"We'll have our own tomatoes, pumpkins and watermelons," said Hamilton. "Some will be implemented in classroom lessons and some of it will be offered to the students to eat."
A few picnic tables were added near the garden, for potential outdoor lunches. The tables were made possible thanks to a grant offered by Lowe's.
A new basketball goal was added for the playground area, funded by the PTA. A new coat of yellow paint is on the library walls courtesy of the school PTA and treasurer Ben Perdew.
"The library will be our focus this year, and the PTA is critical," Hamilton said.
Further library upgrades focus on new technologies, including 15 new nooks. Plans are underway to purchase 30 iPods for student projects.
The library was officially christened the Edith Grigsby Learning Center, in honor of the Grigsby Trust that focuses on funding programs involving elderly citizens. Hamilton said retirees are encouraged to volunteer.
Nichols is attempting to add an archery team for interested students. Hamilton credited Nichols community efforts in helping to fund the program.
Hamilton was pleased to mention that Nichols added a full-time school counselor position, introducing Lauren Clark.
The Nichols Open House is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 6, from 6-7:30 p.m.
Old Mill’s youngest students will experience the most significant change from the previous year. Principal Les McIntosh is hoping it will be positive.
Grades 1-3 will spend more time with homeroom teachers and less time changing classes. McIntosh said the move meant less instructional time lost.
Old Mill will continue the rigorous Go Math program, incorporated into the curriculum last year. McIntosh said the program was a resounding success based on rising math scores from the previous year. With more familiarity he expected scores to increase again this year.
McIntosh said Old Mill will push for improved attendance. Last year the school was second in attendance to Mount Washington Elementary.
“We’re hoping to be number one this year,” he added.
Old Mill’s Open House is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 6. Kindergarteners are invited from 5-6:30 p.m., grades 1-2 from 6-7 p.m. and grades 3-5 from 6:45-7:45 p.m.
The Watch D.O.G.S. program will kick off with a pizza night Aug. 20. Old Mill fathers and father figures are invited to learn about the program and how they can serve as positive role models through volunteering.
A school-wide assembly, “Reading: More Than Just Words,” will be held Aug. 28. as a reading kickoff event. Family Math Night takes place Aug. 30 from 6-7:30 p.m.
On Sept. 5 Old Mill will host Chicago’s Windy City Players, who will put on “Beauty and the Beast.”
The Overdale Elementary staff began their school year preparation early, participating in staff training event at General Butler State Park.
Principal Pam Robertson said the gathering helped energize teachers while preparing for the school's big initiatives of Thinking Strategies and the Workshop Model in every classroom.
"Thinking Strategies is a really big initiative for all teachers," said Robertson. "We've trained everyone from Kindergarten up on really deep thinking. It's referred to as 'metacognition', or thinking about thinking."
Robertson added that the school would also implement training for writing strategies in conjunction with the Thinking Strategies.
"Writing is a big initiative in the district," she said.
One of the new faces assisting Overdale with their plans is Reading and Math interventionist Cindy Zuberer, a transfer from Shepherdsville Elementary.
Overdale will host Kindergarten Open House Wednesday, Aug. 1, at 5:30 p.m. Open House for grades 1-5 will take place Thursday, Aug. 2, at 5:30 p.m.
The Pleasant Grove staff spent the entire summer preoparing an exciting new year including a number of technological additions.
Students will participate in a new 24/7 online reading program, MyOn, providing students with custom-selected E-Books to fit individual student reading levels and interests.
School technology upgrades, thanks to assistance from the PTO, include ActivBoards in each classroom. Principal Melissa Whicker said a goal is to add five Kindle Fires to each room.
“Teachers have been busy learning all summer long ways to help make learning fun and exciting for our students,” she said.
A new project called One School One Book allows students and teachers to read the same book. Special activities will be planned to promote and enrich shared reading experience.
Pleasant Grove will continue the Positive Behavior Intervention (PBIS) system with school staffers refining student expectations.
Whicker thanked the PTO and local businessman Ron Kittle of MRK CO. for landscaping improvements, along with Springhill Garden Center for generous discounts.
Two Pleasant Grove Open House events take place - Thursday, Aug. 2, 6-7 p.m., for Kindergartners and Monday, Aug. 6, 6-7 p.m. for grades 1-5.
Following years of transition from the old building to the new, Roby students and staff have settled into their new facility.
The staff can now focus totally on student development and refinement.
"We're just kind of in the groove, and when things are going well you just go with it," said principal Gayle Korphage.
Roby strives to continually meet Kentucky Core Content Standards, implementing the Go Math program during the last semester.
A schoolwide writing and literacy plan was revised for the upcoming year, with more writing opportunities for students. Korphage said the plan would bring the school in line with Kentucky Core Content Standards.
Korphage was excited about her search for a few new teachers, but sad to replace long-time instructors Kristin Sullivan and Toni Unser.
Roby's Open House for students in grades 1-5 is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 6, at 6:30 p.m.
Students will participate in a City Saver coupon book fundraiser beginning in August.
Principal David Pate had a variety of new things to share with Shepherdsville students and families, starting with a new security system.
"Everyone has to be buzzed into the building," he said. "They have to press the intercom to enter."
New activities will be offered to Shepherdsville students including an Archery team, Chess team and Photography club.
On the academic side Pate said the Shepherdsville faculty was being trained in the Literacy Plan for Reading and Writing Instruction workshop. He said most teachers completed training over the summer months.
Shepherdsville will continue to emphasize the Go Math program.
According to Pate, the school building should feature all new computers by Christmas break.
An Open House event for grades 3-5 is scheduled Thursday, Aug 2, at 6 p.m.
Shepherdsville will host a family night at Mr. Gatti's Aug. 30.
Bernheim looks toward the future with figureheads from its past: Former teacher/counselor Bobby Hart has returned as the new principal, with long-time teacher Jennifer Harrison selected as assistant principal.
One of Hart's first orders of business was to bring back the 6th graders welcoming party, hosting a cookout for students and families.
Hart said BMS staffers would continue home visits this year prior to the beginning of the semester. Teams of teachers and administrators visit each student and their families in their homes.
Bernheim is adding a Chess team among its many extra-curricular school activities.
Harts said the school would work hard to successfully implement the Thinking Strategies educational model, as well as the Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS).
"Thinking Strategies is a reading program designed to make students ask good questions as they read," said Hart. "The PBIS features discipline consistency, students are able to meet expectations as long as they know what the expectations are."
The BMS Open House for all students was scheduled for Monday, Aug. 6. from 5-7 p.m.
Second-year principal Robert Fulk maintains the positive culture at Bullitt Lick Middle School.
The Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) advisory program offers student-based lessons in at least one class period per day, Fulk said.
Lessons are based on the Second Steps curriculum plan, dealing with such topics as peer pressure, anti-bullying, behavioral skills and future job skills.
"We're pretty 'Gung-Ho' about this program and its impact on our students," Fulk said.
The program is funded with grant money, as are $35,000 worth of new Language Arts text books for every Bullitt Lick student.
Fulk said Bullitt Lick's staff will experience its lowest turnover in six years. New teachers included Language Arts instructors Tiffany Collins and Jessica Flores, along with Science instructors Stephanie Biggs and Shaun McIntosh.
Bullitt Lick will feature two new extra-curricular programs, a girls' volleyball team and a chess team.
The school's dress code was slightly modified: Fulk said students could now wear basketball shorts.
Eastside Principal Bonita Franklin hopes to build upon the strides made during the past year, continuing to see that all students are college or career ready by high school graduation.
Franklin said Eastside is bringing back its SOAR program, implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to foster responsible behavior and academic achievement.
Eastside will continue its Pay Day program. Franklin said the program is designed to help students connect going to school with holding down a job. Students earn Buege Bucks, named after assistant principal Kyle Buege.
Every nine weeks students with a certain amount of Buege Bucks will be allowed to participate in a school-wide celebration.
“It’s all about getting good grades, being here and doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Franklin said. “Everything goes back to the real world.”
Eastside will be a part of Rachel’s Club, a nationwide anti-bullying program inspired by Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.
On Aug. 27 Eastside will host a school-wide Rachel’s Challenge assembly. The following day a Rachel’s Challenge community event will be held at Bullitt East High School.
Eastside will host a meet and greet for students and families Monday Aug. 6, from 5-7 p.m. On Aug. 16 the school will host “bring your parent to school night” beginning at 6 p.m.
Years of construction work are now a part of Hebron Middle's past, leaving staff and students free to look toward the future.
"We're done," said principal Steve Miracle. "This is the first year without any construction issues."
Miracle said Hebron would push toward improving upon school programs such as the Standards-Based Grading System and the Jostens Renaissance Program, both implemented last year.
"(Jostens) is about building a positive environment and rewarding, and keeping excitement within the school," Miracle said.
Hebron will continue to focus on the district's Positive Behavior Intervention (PBIS) initiatives.
Among new hires to the Hebron staff, Miracle said the school was granted a second Special Education instructor, welcoming Tyler Boston.
Hebron added an orientation event for 6th grade parents in conjunction with their annual student orientation.
An Open House for the entire Hebron student body will take place Monday, Aug. 6, from 6-8 p.m.
Supply lists and uniform policies are available at Hebron's website.
"We think this year will be a great year for our students," Miracle said.
Two years after being named a Kentucky School To Watch, Mount Washington Middle will reapply for the nationally recognized distinction.
Principal Denise Allen hopes to build upon the success of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program, allowing students to use laptops, iPads, cell phones and other data devices in class for instructional purposes.
"These are useful tools students will use to help them in college and in their careers, so it seemed only natural they should be able to use them in class," Allen said.
MWMS teachers will continue posting lesson plans on web pages. Administrators will be evaluating lesson plans this year as part of a new district-wide policy.
In light of the recent passing of former student Prescott Goodman, struck by a car while crossing the Mount Washington Bypass on his bicycle, MWMS will work with BCPS Safe Schools coordinator Jaime Goldsmith on a bike safety course.
Allen said all students will participate in the course, conducted in collaboration with the school’s Physical Education program. She said many students ride bikes to school and the program would be beneficial.
“We feel after that incident we really need to do that,” she added. “Bicycle safety is more than just putting on a helmet.”
MWMS will kick off the new school year with five new teachers and a new counselor replacing retiring counselor Lori Green. New counselor Cindy Hanson brings 22 years of education experience.
The school will feature a new technology class with new instructor Matt Murphy. This year eighth will only have to take only one math class.
The General’s Bash back to school event is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 2, at 6:30 p.m.
The staff and students at Zoneton Middle School will again start the year with home visits, although with a twist.
Principal Rita Muratalla said this year home visits would not take place until after the semester begins, possibly three or four weeks in.
"By then the teachers will know something positive to share about the students," she said.
Zoneton hopes to capitalize on the working relationships between teachers, parents and students. Muratalla mentioned that parent transition meetings were offered during orientation sessions.
Muratalla welcomed new interim assistant principal Ann Ford to the position. Ford previously served Zoneton as an instructional coach.
"She has that instructional background and is a team leader," Muratalla said. "Being from here is good for consistency, she knows the school and its expectations. She's very well respected by students and staff."
Other changes to the Zoneton staff will include three new Science instructors.
Cougar Pride is becoming a way of life for Bullitt Central students over the past couple of years.
Assistant principal Sarah Hardin mentioned the Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) program implemented last year, adding that discipline episodes decreased dramatically from the previous school year.
"We had the lowest amounts on all the Bullitt County high schools," she said.
With assistance from the school's PTSA organization, Bullitt Central hosted PBIS events for students without behavioral issues, such as "No Tardy Parties", featuring fun and social building opportunities.
Other events included a party rock dance and a movie night in the school auditorium with a big screen on the stage.
"It was a great culture builder for our school," said Hardin. "The incentive is now there to work on positive behavior. We plan on doing things like that and building on it again this year."
Principal Christy Coulter said Bullitt Central would add four new teachers to this year's staff, including two Chemistry instructors, a social studies teacher and a culinary arts instructor.
Bullitt Central's Freshman Orientation will take place Thursday, Aug. 2, 6:30 p.m., in the school gymnasium.
A parent/teacher conference has been scheduled for Sep. 6.
Students may pick up schedules at the school office Aug. 1-3.
Former Bernheim Middle principal Willie Foster is now at the helm of Bullitt East and, as he put it, everything’s “ready to roll” for the new school year.
Foster said policies and procedures should be similar to what students have grown accustomed to, though class scheduling will be different. Classes will be on an AB block schedule: students will have a set of four A classes and four B classes that alternate every other day.
"The scheduling will take the place of the former block scheduling when students took four classes in the fall and four classes in the spring," said Foster. "It’s quite a change from what our students are accustomed to."
Foster said the goal was closing instruction gaps and helping students retain what they learn. He said basic components of what’s been done at BE will not change, adding that the school has seen test score gains in recent years.
“I think we’d be silly to make wholesale changes,” he said. “Basically what we’re trying to do is make things better.”
With college and career readiness being the district mantra, Foster said Bullitt East will better expose students to vocations and to expand career pathways.
“We want to make sure students understand what their options are from the moment they walk in as a freshman,” he said.
A big focus this year will be programming for advanced students. Bullitt East will expand the number of advanced placement exams, ensuring students have ample opportunities for college credits.
Bullitt East is increasing the school’s early college AP program. One idea is an in-house program similar to the Bullitt Advanced Math and Science (BAMS) Academy.
"This would allow advanced students to have the traditional high school experience while earning college credits," he said.
Bullitt East welcomes five new teachers and two interim assistant principals (Angela Binkley and former BE instructor Nita Neal).
A Bullitt East New Student Orientation will be held Thursday, Aug. 2, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Principal Jeff Marshall enters his second year at North Bullitt High School, where he leads a staff in continuing to strive toward an improved institution of instruction.
"We are trying to provide a life-long learning model," he said. "As a high school we want to make sure when students leave that they have options. We want to make them college and career ready."
Part of the North Bullitt curriculum continues in the form of the Freshman Academy, designed to place first-year students in one area of the school building with a core group of instructors.
North Bullitt hired a new counselor, Nicole Dolence, who served neighboring Hebron Middle School as Youth Services Center coordinator.
Hebron's archery coach, Kim Rasner, was hired to also coach North Bullitt this semester. Marshall mentioned that the school's Chess program will return this year.
Marshall said slight changes to the school's dress code and cell phone policies could be viewed at the school's website.
North Bullitt students may retrieve their schedules at the school Wednesday, Aug. 1, and Thursday, Aug. 2, from 8-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. Schedules will also be made available Aug. 1 via the Infinite Campus Parent Portal.
New student registration continues weekdays through Tuesday, Aug. 7, from 8-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m., as well as Thursday, Aug. 2, from 6-8 p.m.
RIVERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES CENTER and BULLITT ALTERNATIVE CENTER
Changes at Riverview will be spearheaded by its new leader, long-time BCPS employee, principal Brenda Pirtle.
Joined by assistant principal Angela Bibelhauser, Pirtle plans to implement an increase of classroom structure for Riverview students this semester.
The Alternative Center - catering to middle and high school students who struggle in traditional classroom settings - and the Opportunities Center - including the Bullitt Advanced Math and Science (BAMS) program, the Teen Age Parenting Program (TAPP) and the Career Readiness Center - will undergo significant changes.
The entire Alternative Center staff is new, with four teachers, two Special Education instructors, three social workers, five assistants and a full-time resource officer. The increased staff will engage in more direct teacher-to-student instruction.
A new transitioning program will attempt to ease students from the Alternative Center back to their home schools. Pirtle said during the progression students could spend half a day at the Alternative Center and half at the home school.
Riverview will implement weekly goal-setting exercises, helping each individual student obtain personal achievements. The school will enforce positive behavior approaches based on the district's PBIS program.
"It's important that students clearly understand what’s expected of them and a positive behavior approach should help," Pirtle said. "Relationship building is one of our key focuses in both buildings. Once you have a relationship formed you can get them to work with you in any type of program you give them. That’s where you’re going to get the biggest bang for your buck.”
An open house, featuring both BAMS and the Career Readiness Center, will take place Monday, Aug. 6, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.