How do you help a student, who dropped out of high school, is already working a full-time job, and only needs a couple of credits to get his diploma? It’s the exact scenario that Whitley County school officials faced last school year, and they now have a plan for this upcoming school year.
The Whitley County Board of Education voted during its monthly meeting Thursday to create The Colonel Academy, which will be a non-traditional virtual school for grades 9-12.
Homebound Supervisor Patrick Bowlin said the program is for non-traditional students, such as students that work full-time and are trying to take care of family members, but still want to get an education.
“Unfortunately in today’s world we are seeing more and more students, who are 17, 18, 19 years old and that are living on their own,” Bowlin noted. “We’re are starting to see a higher volume of need for those students. This non-traditional program will allow us to do some flexible programing and students will come in maybe for a period or two a couple of days a week,” Bowlin said.
Bowlin said the virtual school would start small and probably have between 20-25 students by the end of next school year.
“I think this is excellent and much needed,” noted Board Member Brenda Rose.
In other business, the board:
- Accepted a $25,289.52 bid from Praters Incorporated to refinish the Whitley County High School gym floor with new graphics. Praters did the graphics work for the NCAA women’s final four this year. The Whitley County Basketball Booster Club is donating $23,000 towards the cost of the project. “By the time we start school, the floor will be finished,” noted Whitley County Superintendent John Siler.
- Approved 2019-2020 school nutrition programs that will continue to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students in the district.
- Recognized Accelerated Reader Award winners from each grade district wide, including: McKinley Moses, kindergarten; Lauren Siler, first grade; Elias Witten, second grade; Noah Antrim, third grade; Kendal Jones, fourth grade; Walter Vann, fifth grade; and Chelsea Rein, sixth grade.
- Presented Whitley East Elementary School Teacher Jonathan Lawson with the June Above and Beyond Award.
- Recognized Whitley County High School student Anabeth Sharpe, who is only one of 96 students in Kentucky to be accepted into The Gatton Academy Class of 2021. The Gatton Academy is a prestigious residential high school program at Western Kentucky University that focuses on science and mathematics. The average ACT score of sophomores accepted into The Gatton Academy this year was 31.66.
- Accepted the $271,250 String Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant for the 2019-2020 school year.