Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia

News of the Region

Kentucky

Review of Six State CTE Systems
September 12, 2019 – “A new report from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) has concluded that if Kentucky’s career and technical education system is to be rebuilt, it’s important that it be built with a systemic approach. The report, which examined funding mechanisms and governance methods for career and technical education (CTE) systems in six states, was presented to the Kentucky General Assembly’s CTE task force at its Sept. 11 meeting in Frankfort.”

Pushing for Child Abuse Curriculum
September 11, 2019 – Legislators heard this week from those who are urging legislation to require child abuse education in schools so that students will be able to identify when they are being abused—and report it.  A bill requiring public schools to provide developmentally appropriate instruction in this area was unsuccessful at the last legislative session. Kentucky has a high rate of child abuse with about 22 in every 1,000 suffering abuse or neglect.

Project-based Learning Grants Foster Innovation in Rural Schools
September 13, 2019 – Twenty-two small school districts in the eastern Kentucky are part of the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative, an organization that is overseeing several grant competitions for project-based learning.  Nearly 570 grants have been awarded since 2014 and they “double as hands-on learning for students and real-time professional development for teachers.”

Tennessee

Graduation Rates Rising
September 16, 2019 – Tennessee can boast an 89.7 percent graduation rate for the 2018-19 school year—the highest graduation rate on record.  The rate is more than half a percentage point higher than the previous year.

Voucher Program to be Implemented Ahead of Schedule
September 14, 2019 – A plan to divert tax dollars to private education may be implemented a full year ahead of schedule, according to top education officials.  Governor Bill Lee supports early implementation and has instructed the Tennessee Department of Education to ensure voucher expansion would be ready by next year.

Are Changes to Tennessee’s Accountability System Progressing Too Rapidly?
September 13, 2019 – “Tennessee legislative leaders pumped the brakes Wednesday on Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn’s effort to revise the way the state judges its public schools…. The directive slows the pace but also opens the door to possible revisions if stakeholders and policymakers agree that Schwinn’s ideas have merit.”

Boosting Computer Science in Nashville Schools
September 11, 2019 – A new investment by Amazon provides money and support to 21 schools in Nashville, including many that serve minority and disadvantaged students, in the areas of robotics and computer science. The investment is expected to help ensure students have opportunities to enter the growing field of computer science.

Virginia

Few Taking Advantage of Tuition Break at UVA at Wise
September 16, 2019 – Not many students are taking advantage of a program that offers discounted tuition to students from Appalachia.  The program was created to boost enrollment, but the University of Virginia at Wise reports only 23 students have enrolled so far. 

Teaching Kids to Code through Building Video Games
September 15, 2019 – “Code Ninjas celebrated the opening of its newest center in Virginia Beach on Saturday.  Code Ninjas teaches kids ages 7-14 how to code by building video games. The center emphasizes STEM education—science, technology, engineering and math—using coding, logic, and problem-solving. The opening showcased the state-of-the-art center and offered tours, activities and STEM games.”

Encouraging Women to Pursue STEM Careers
September 13, 2019 – Women innovators participated in the state’s first Women in Innovation event to encourage other women to pursue careers in science, technology, education, and math. The event was the brainchild of Governor Ralph Northam’s administration in an attempt to highlight fields where women are often the minority.  The event was sold out within 36 hours of being announced.

West Virginia

Statewide Balanced Scorecard Results Released
September 14, 2019 – Every public school in West Virginia receives a scorecard that provides an annual update on multiple measures that outline student progress, areas that need improvement, and areas of excellence. This year’s results indicate 22 of the state’s 55 districts improved their scorecard points on five or more indicators from the Balanced Scorecard.

More than a Third of WV Schools Missing Attendance Goal
September 13, 2019 – More than 38 percent of schools in the state did not meet attendance standards for the 2018-19 school year.  The state department of education released a report that shows a fifth of the state’s students are chronically absent.

Civics Education Program Being Revamped
September 11, 2019 – The West Virginia Supreme Court is revamping its civics education program.  The Robes to School program began in 2007 and will now be called Have Gavel, Will Travel.  West Virginia judges have visited hundreds of schools as part of this program.