'Boss Paws' and 'Animal Gambill' to visit for Kentucky Authors Day

BP-thumb-v1Kentucky author Shannon “Animal” Gambill will speak to Buckner Elementary students for Kentucky Authors Day April 24. Gambill, a Kentucky native, writes under the Animal Gambill pseudonym for her “Boss Paws” series. While her dog “Boss Paws” is the main character, Gambill’s stories focus on being a “critter crusader” — being kind to animals.

Boss Paws, a certified therapy dog, will be on-hand for the event. 

Gambill will meet with students in kindergarten through third grade from 8:15-11 a.m. and from 12:15-1:15 p.m. 

Beginning at 1:30 p.m., students from OCMS and OCHS will join our Buckner students for a unique collaborative activity by reading and discussing poetry by Kentucky authors. They will then use the poems as inspiration to collaboratively write and publish poetry of their own. 

South campus wetlands installation kicks off on Earth Day

20140422 0006Some children have never seen up close a dragonfly, a frog, a cattail’s scruffy top blowing in the breeze. This startling reality was part of Laura Parker’s inspiration to create a wetlands area behind South Oldham Middle School.

Construction will kick off on Earth Day (April 22) and continue for several days. Parker, a sixth grade science teacher, said it is the culmination of several years of work — locating and approving a site, securing funds and enlisting support from experts.

“This is an opportunity to develop an underutilized area on the South campus into a dynamic outdoor classroom,” Parker said. “We’ll be able to offer students lessons that can’t be found in a textbook.”

The wetlands will provide opportunities for students to directly observe, collect and analyze data while also using problem-solving skill sand applying content to real-world situations.

In addition, Parker and her colleagues are excited about other outdoor classroom opportunities, like providing a setting for art classes. The location of the wetlands gives easy access to SOMS, South Oldham High and Camden Station Elementary, with two other elementary schools within 5 minutes of the site.

Parker said the idea began several years ago when she was a graduate student at Morehead University. “They did such a great job teaching me environmental science,” she said. “And they’ve continued to go out of their way to provide guidance.”

Parker said the support of Superintendent Will Wells and Director of Facilities Jim Ewalt helped breathe life into the program when it stalled.

“I have felt totally respected and supported by the board,” she said.

Now, after several years of work — including being told “no” a few times — Parker will see wetlands work begin April 22.

Renowned environmental and wetlands expert Tom Biebighauser has been an enthusiastic collaborator and will be on-hand to guide construction. Biebighauser, author of “Wetland Restoration and Construction - A Technical Guide,” has completed more than 90 outdoor wetland classrooms in Kentucky and across the U.S. and Canada.

The project is funded by The Sheltowee Environmental Education Coalition and the Oldham County Environmental Authority.

Horace Harrod, chair of the OCEA board of directors, said the wetlands project fits well with OCEA’s mission.

"The public profile of the project and its educational potential is appealing and the concept of cost sharing with the school system ensures that the funding partners are fully engaged and supportive,” he said.

By catching runoff from the school's parking lot, the wetlands will aid OCEA by serving as a natural filtration system as the first step in the water treatment process.

Parker also noted that parents should not be worried about mosquitos — an active wetland actually leads to decreases in mosquito populations, as dragonflies, salamanders and toads all survive on mosquito larvae and eggs.

“This is a great opportunity for innovative instruction and community collaboration,” said Wells. “We’re looking forward to having these wetlands available for our students and to serve as a model both within our district and for others in our area.”

Three students move on to national PTA Reflections, state winners announced

Three Oldham County Schools students will have their PTA Reflections entries judged at the national level, according to District 13 Reflections coordinator Bobbi Dewey, who also announced the district’s other state award recipients. District 13 includes Carroll, Henry, Oldham, Owen and Trimble counties.
At the state level, the top three winners in each category and division receive awards of excellence, with the next two receiving awards of merit. From those awards of excellence, one winner is chosen in each category/division to represent Kentucky at the national judging. Last year, only one District 13 entry moved on — but this year, three Oldham County Schools students were selected.
District 13 PTA Reflections national selections
Hadley Fischer, North Oldham Middle, dance choreography
Emily Skelton, South Oldham High, film production
Alyssa Dewey, North Oldham High, music composition
District 13 PTA Reflections state award recipients
Kendall Atchison, OCHS, award of merit
Belle Blevins, La Grange Elementary, award of excellence
Alyssa Dewey, NOHS, award of excellence
Alex Constante, NOHS, award of excellence
Olivia Cseh, Locust Grove, award of merit
Igor Polegkiy, NOHS, award of excellence
Alexx  Addington, NOMS, two awards of merit
Baily Jo Record, Eminence, award of merit
Hannah Stovall, OCMS, award of merit
Aaron Levinson, Crestwood, award of merit
Rylee Gennaro, Locust Grove, award of merit
Jacob Brizendine, OCMS, award of merit
Sophia Tillman, Eminence, award of merit
John Grijalbo, SOHS, award of excellence
Emily Skelton, SOHS, award of excellence
Rachel Frailey, SOHS, award of excellence
Laykin Stoess, Camden Station, award of merit
Hadley Fischer, NOMS, award of excellence
Noah Kavorkian, Crestwood, award of merit
A creative interpretation award went to Jacob Brizendine of OCMS for film production.
All these winners will recieve an invitation to the state celebration May 17. 
North Oldham High names Wallace new principal

wallace A new principal will take the Mustang reins this summer after the North Oldham High School Site-Based Decision Making Council announced its choice for the top post April 17.

Craig Wallace will begin as principal July 1 following the retirement of Lisa Jarrett. Jarrett served as principal for eight years.

An associate principal at NOHS since 2006, Wallace began his teaching career in Oldham County 16 years ago, first at South Oldham High then moving to North when it opened. He was excited to be part of “opening” a new school and seeing it develop. Wallace holds degrees from the University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and Georgetown College. He is currently pursuing his superintendent’s certificate from the University of Louisville.

Superintendent Will Wells said Wallace's commitment to education and district’s philosophy will make him an exceptional leader at NOHS. Wells announced his acceptance of the school’s site-based decision making council April 15. 

“Craig is passionate about education, values professional development and recognizes the importance of communication between all stakeholders,” Wells said.

Wallace said the success of many students is built upon the relationships that are established within a school.

“As a classroom teacher and as an administrator, I have always worked very hard to build strong, supportive relationships with my students and colleagues,” he said. “Likewise, creating a common vision for a school, working together to improve teachers’ instructional practices and positively impacting student learning can best be accomplished when strong relationships are built and maintained between administrators and teachers.”

Wallace emphasized his dedication to ensuring the learning of every child, and his dedication to ensuring each teacher has the capacity to reach that goal. As principal, Wallace said he will protect time for professional learning communities on early release days, meet with PLC leaders regularly and find quality professional development that improves and grows teachers’ toolboxes.

“Each teacher needs to know that their growth professional is one of the most important items on my plate,” Wallace said. “It is only when dedicated , highly reflective and acutely skilled educators work together toward a common goal can all of a school’s students reach their potential as learners.”

With that, Wallace said it is important each teacher makes time to “take the pulse” of each student to gauge their individual level of learning. At that point, teachers can differentiate instruction so every student can be appropriately challenged.

And while life-long learning is important professionally, that desire to constantly be learning is important for teachers to model for students, too.

“Students need to hear that you just read the last book in the Harry Potter series or that you went to see ‘Wicked’ at the Kentucky Center for the Arts,” he said. “If they can see your excitement for learning is real, then maybe it will inspire them to greater heights as a learner.”

As he steps into his new role, Wallace said he will emphasize openness and communication with parents and other stakeholders. He said the school’s use of e-newsletters and social media will continue, but that he will also be constantly looking for new ways for parents to “stay plugged in” to their child’s educational world. 

Wallace knows his new role will come with its own set of challenges as North strives for excellence. But, he sees that as his mission and the mission of the school and staff.

“Everything that we do and every decision we make as educators flow from our love for kids and their learning,” he said.

20 students selected for Governor's Scholar Program

20140415-gspThe Kentucky Governor's Scholars Program class of 2014 was announced this week, including acceptance of 20 Oldham County Schools students from all three district high schools. 

GSP is a five-week summer program for rising high school seniors. Over 1,000 Kentucky students are selected yearly based on a thorough application process detailing their academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, volunteerism, and personal integrity. For the duration of the program, located at three local college campuses chosen through a bidding process, scholars have the rare opportunity to experience college life while attending classes on a daily basis. The Governor's Scholars Program emphasizes wide-ranging representation of all Kentucky regions, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.

Each student that is selected is eligible to receive scholarships to any in-state public university within the state of Kentucky, as well as a handful of private institutions. The Kentucky Governor's Scholars Program was established in 1983 as an attempt by Kentucky leaders to keep the state's "best and brightest" interested in furthering education and potentially starting a career in the commonwealth instead of traveling out of the state to do so.

Eight students selected for Governor's School for the Arts

The Governor’s School for the Arts class of 2014 will include eight exceptionally talented students from across Oldham County’s three high schools. GSA is a three-week residential program that provides hands-on arts opportunities in performing arts, visual arts and music. Students are selected through a rigorous application process, including auditions.

Oldham County Schools students accepted to this year’s program represent instrumental music, visual art, vocal music and creative writing.

“While many schools have reduced or entirely eliminated arts programs, we continue to believe they are a vital part of education,” said Superintendent Will Wells. “We are proud to offer arts opportunities for our students both at their schools and through our Arts Center, a unique opportunity most districts do not have."

OCS students selected for the Governor’s School for the Arts:

  • Kyle Burney, SOHS, vocal music
  • Alyssa Dewey, NOHS, instrumental music
  • Kristen Dudding, SOHS, instrumental music
  • Zack Hargrove, NOHS, visual art
  • Marielle Hug, OCHS, vocal music
  • Ellie Miller, OCHS, instrumental music
  • Kennedy Ricci, SOHS, dance
  • Lexie Stepro, OCHS, creative writing 
Take a 'Book' At What’s Happening at Kenwood Station Elementary!

20140415-ksebooksKenwood Station’s Student Council began a book drive on March 17, with an initial goal to collect 600 new/gently used books by the end of April. By April 7, students had collected 936 books and the books keep coming in! The books collected will be used by Kenwood Station’s Summer Reading Program, a program that helps improve reading skills in students by providing them reading opportunities over the summer months. Any books not selected for use by the Summer Reading Program will be donated to local charities.

Students on the Student-Organized Activities Committee of the Kenwood Station Student Council first came up with the idea to have a book drive by brainstorming as a team about ways students could help the KSE community. The students then came up with a list of tasks that needed to be completed to make the book drive a success. The students then applied these tasks to a timeline to create an overall plan for the book drive. 

As a result of their excellent planning and synergy, the book drive has been a huge success. Part of this success can also be attributed to the student’s comprehensive marketing plan. Students publicized the book drive by creating and performing in a segment for the school’s televised News Cast, by creating and distributing flyers to each family, by writing articles for the school newspaper and by regularly coordinating book drive information to be included in the school’s morning announcements.

The committee’s motto for the book drive is “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader” - Margaret Fuller. It looks like Kenwood Station Elementary is well on its way to becoming a school of leaders!

This article was written by the members of the Kenwood Station Student-Organized Activities Committee.


Oldham County Schools
2014 High School Graduation Dates

Buckner Alternative High School

Friday, June 6, 2014 at 7:00 P.M.
Oldham County Arts Center

Oldham County High School

Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 11:00 A.M.
Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center - Broadbent Arena

North Oldham High School

Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 2:30 P.M.
Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center - Broadbent Arena

South Oldham High School

Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 6:00 P.M.
Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center - Broadbent Arena

Project Graduation 2014 (for ALL Graduating Seniors)
DATE: Saturday, June 7 2014    |     LOCATION: OCHS



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