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Middle schools hoping to build on momentum of past year

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By Alex Wimsatt and Stephen Thomas

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Improvements were across the board for schools in Bullitt County.

But more work is needed.

In terms of construction work, Hebron Middle School is getting closer to completion on its extensive remodeling.

HEBRON MIDDLE

There’s still work to be done on the Hebron Middle School building, but according to principal Steve Miracle it’s all “cosmetic stuff outside.”

“From a student standpoint, all of their areas will be ready,” he added.

Into its third year of reconstruction, Hebron now includes a new cafeteria and gymnasium, though a new library is still being completed. A final hallway area is scheduled for completion by the end of the calendar year.

“Our students will be away from any construction going on,” Miracle said. “It won’t be a problem.”

The bus dropoff will continue in front of the building, though students will enter through the sixth grade hall until the main entrance is completed. Car riders will still enter on the side.

As a new face is placed on the front of Hebron, students will be greeted inside by the faces of new seventh grade teachers. They include Amanda Karby (Reading), Arianne Austin (Language Arts) and Matthew Bartley (Math).

Miracle mentioned the school’s emphasis on the Renaissance Learning program and recognizing individual student achievement, focusing on motivation, celebrating successes and rewarding students.

The school will continue rewards programs that began last year based on the Kentucky Center for Instructional Discipline (KYCID).

“We saw great improvements last year compared to the previous year,” Miracle said.

Hebron adopted the district’s Compass Learning program last spring and will continue its implementation throughout the upcoming school year. 

Miracle said the school would review students grades every 3-4 weeks, supplying intervention for struggling students as well as enrichment for those who are successful.

“We do it to make sure we don’t have failing students by semester’s end,” he said. “It’s a progressive strategy.”

A slight adjustment was made to the school dress code in regards to footwear. Miracle said no open heel or open toe shoes would be allowed as a way to protect feet.

Hebron’s open house is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 5, from 6-8 p.m.

 

BULLITT LICK MIDDLE

The students at Bullitt Lick will see some new faces throughout the school, the most notable being principal Robert Fulk.

Joining Fulk at Bullitt Lick this year is behavioral coach Angela Biebelhauser, filling a position at the school provided through grant funding.

“She’s been in the district for a while and she’ll be a great addition to our staff,” Fulk said.

Prior to opening day the school will also have a new Science teacher and Physical Education teacher, along with a new career specialist.

Fulk brings a five-year overall comprehensive plan with him to the school. During the first few months he will include input from all teachers in determining the best strategies for improved and continued success.

“They’ll have to get used to a new principal,” he said. “I have a lot of drive and energy.”

Fulk hopes to increase parental involvement, and one way to do that is a series of parent lunches scheduled once each month.

According to Fulk, parents can come to the school and meet the principal and various teachers, allowing an opportunity for each to discuss student status.

During each luncheon representatives from the Parent Information Resource Center or the school’s Youth Service Center will lead a discussion.

“They will provide information that our parents can use to help the students,” Fulk said.

The first parent lunch is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 19. Fulk said anyone in the family and anyone from the community is invited to attend.

In another effort to increase parental involvement, Fulk hopes to rebuild the Bullitt Lick PTA during the course of the year.

 

MOUNT WASHINGTON MIDDLE

Students and parents shouldn’t notice any procedural changes at MWMS when school reconvenes, but they can expect a few staff changes. 

Former eighth grade science teacher Bob Korwatch has retired and will be replaced by another MWMS veteran, Tammy Powell. 

Roger Brown will be replacing custodian Fred Goodman, who recently retired.  

In the coming year, Allen said MWMS will continue promoting attendance to improve academic performance in addition to emphasizing math and reading. 

According to Allen, eighth graders will still take two math classes to help master the basics before reaching high school.

Allen also said MWMS would closely monitor student performance standards “to make sure we’re not missing a beat.”

The annual MWMS General’s Bash meet and greet for students and their families will kick off the new school year Thursday, Aug. 4. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.

 “It’s going to be a great year,” Allen said. “We’re going to start out positive … Everyone’s ready to roll.”

 

EASTSIDE MIDDLE

Principal Bonita Franklin is excited about the coming school year as Eastside staff prepare to welcome their students on the first day of class. 

Franklin said the coming year will provide unique opportunities for EMS as a specially trained team of staff members will begin implementing new thinking strategies in their classrooms. 

The thinking strategies concept comes to EMS after representatives from the school attended a thinking strategies institute last school year. 

As part of this concept, literacy will play a major role in all core content areas, helping students become “thinkers, not just memorizers,” Franklin said. 

Franklin said the goal is to have all teachers learn and apply these thinking strategies within three years. 

EMS will also focus on improving its positive discipline program through the Kentucky Center for Instructional Discipline (KYCID).

The school will extend math instruction and language arts for all students, as well as accelerated classes. 

Additionally, Eastside will offer more accelerated class opportunities to provide exceptional students with challenges they need to grow. 

Franklin said Whicker’s vacancy had not yet been filled. 

Eastside added a new position, school technology coordinator which will be filled by technology teacher Scott Hatfield, who will perform both duties in the coming year.

Franklin invites students and their families to attend the EMS open house Tuesday, Aug. 16, 6:30 p.m. 

Prior to the open house, an election will be held for the school’s Parent Teacher Student Organization. The election begins at 5:30 p.m. 

 

BERNHEIM MIDDLE

Principal Willie Foster said Bernheim continues to meet No Child Left Behind standards; This year each student will complete two Language Arts and two Math courses.

“We’ll focus on Compass Learning and Carnegie Math,” said Foster. “We’re geared for a great year.”

The Bernheim staff will feature three new Math instructors, including Elizabeth Johnson, the school’s former ISAP instructor. Foster said a new ISAP tutor should be in place by opening day.

Other new Math teachers include Rick Westerfield, a transfer from Eastside Middle, and Lindsey McKenzie from Hardin County.

Other new faculty members include Language Arts instructor Vicki Wright and Special Education teacher Jeremiah Butts.

Foster mentioned an addendum to the school’s dress code, allowing students to wear black denim jeans. He reminded that all T-shirts must be school-sponsored.

Bernheim faculty will again make home visits prior to opening day. Teachers and administrators will visit student homes on Monday, Aug. 8.

Bernheim’s open house is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 2., from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

 

ZONETON MIDDLE

When students arrive at Zoneton Middle School for the first day of class, they won’t find many changes, but they will find a new teacher. 

Principal Rita Muratalla said ZMS welcomes Chris Ryan, who will serve as the school’s newest eighth grade science teacher. 

Muratalla said the ZMS staff will work to improve academic results in the coming year through recently implemented district led initiatives, including Math Automaticity, aimed at teaching students to automatically and completely recall basic math facts. 

“We’ve seen great results with that,” Muratalla said. 

Muratalla said the school would continue working within Common Core State Standards, which is a state-led effort developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework while preparing students for college and the workforce.

“Teachers have really delved into that and they feel that will help,” Muratalla said.

On Thursday, Aug. 4, ZMS will host an open house for incoming sixth, seventh and eighth graders, beginning at 6 p.m. Students and their families are encouraged to attend.istrict led initiatives, including Math Automaticity, aimed at teaching students to automatically and completely recall basic math facts. 

“We’ve seen great results with that,” Muratalla said. 

Muratalla said the school would continue working within Common Core State Standards, which is a state-led effort developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework while preparing students for college and the workforce.

“Teachers have really delved into that and they feel that will help,” Muratalla said.

On Thursday, Aug. 4, ZMS will host an open house for incoming sixth, seventh and eighth graders, beginning at 6 p.m. Students and their families are encouraged to attend.