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New year has started - expect great things to happen

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Moving Forward by Keith Davis, superintendent, Bullitt County Public Schools

 The beginning of the school year is upon us, and it is a good time to take stock of where we stand. 

Before burying you under a bunch of statistics, I want to clearly state that our students are not made up of their test scores. 

Not a week goes by that doesn’t bring individual and team success stories. 

Some students are accepted into prestigious universities and programs, others become leaders in school clubs, on the athletic fields, on the chess board, in their churches, 4-H, and scout troops, and still others overcome tremendous personal obstacles to get to school and do what is needed to make their lives - and the lives of their own future children - better than what experience has taught them to expect. 

That said, it is not an either/or proposition.  If our students are receiving excellent instruction and guidance, the assessment results will, and have, come.

 Our teachers and staff members believe in kids.  They go far beyond their job descriptions in every respect to teach their students the value of hard work, kindness to others, steadfastness in the face of adversity, and how they can make the world a better place. 

So many of them have children of their own in our schools and our watchword is if it is not good enough for our own personal children, it is not good enough for our students.

It is easy to forget the recent past and assume that the performance of our school system is a given and will continue to improve regardless of what happens. 

It is not a given and it takes strong leadership in every school and classroom, as well as at the district level, if we wish it to continue. 

We have moved, in these past seven years, from the lowest 20 percent of Kentucky school districts to attain the rank of Proficiency on our state assessments.  

Our attendance rankings have moved from 104th in 06-07 to 55th this past year (out of 173 districts).

Our most recent graduating senior class earned $12.2 million this past year, up almost $2.5 million over the last three years. 

The number of Advanced Placement exams passed by our students has risen from 90 to 265 over the last four years. 

The partnerships we fostered have allowed our students to earn hundreds of college credits (I don’t have the final number yet) compared to only a handful five years ago.

Our schools are organized into Professional Learning Communities where teachers hone their craft and make sure they are providing the support that every single student needs to be successful. 

We have instituted a number of special programs to further individualize education so our kids understand the opportunities available to them after they leave our school system.  

To name just a few, in the past seven years, we have implemented Bullitt Advanced Math and Science Program, the Career Readiness Center, a redesign of Bullitt Alternative School, a revamped Gifted and Talented program, High School Academies in the areas of Information Technology, Bio-medical, and Engineering/Technology, and the middle school Discovery School math and science program. 

We just witnessed the successful debut of our student artistic production of Sleeping Beauty with more to come.  BCPS occupies a sweet spot in that we are large enough to offer a diverse array of options to meet our students’ needs and small enough that our students are known as individuals and not as simply another number.

Together with a supportive Board of Education, our staff of administrators, teachers, and support staff has built and continues to build a school system that is a real asset to our growing community. 

We view our students as capable individuals that - given appropriate instruction and guidance centered on their needs rather than the needs of the adults that work in the system - will become true leaders in our community, state, and nation. 

Our oft-repeated vision is to become The Leader in Educational Excellence.

The toughest obstacles - like in most of our lives - are mental and with the support of our truly wonderful parents and community, we will fulfill that vision. 

Welcome to a new and exciting school year. 

Great things are getting ready to happen.