'Hour of Code' celebrated across Oldham Co. Schools


Students across Oldham County Schools will gain experience in computer coding this week during Computer Science Education Week in Kentucky. Governor Steve Beshear proclaimed December 8-14 as a week to highlight the importance of computer science education and its path to careers in computing and other fields. As part of the effort, students, teachers, parents and policymakers are encouraged to participate in an Hour of Code, a worldwide, hands-on experience in learning to write computer code.

At the Arvin Education Center, the information technology program students learned database and SQL basics during their “Hour of Code” on Monday. The students focus primarily on video game design, so working with database structures and code presented a different challenge.

Younger students also participated, including all the students at East Oldham Middle, which participated in the Hour of Code last year as well. Last year’s event was so successful the school launched a club called Advanced Digital Achievement — or ADA, named for Ada Lovelace, considered the founder of scientific computing. Even younger students, like those at La Grange Elementary, got into the act. “Alice” is educational software that teaches students computer programming in a 3-D environment and is designed for elementary-aged students.

More than 400 Kentucky schools, businesses and organizations signed up to participate in Hour of Code. Organizers hope that 100 million students worldwide will take part in an Hour of Code before the end of the year. More than 15 million students participated during 2013.

“The Hour of Code can help demystify computer programming,” Commissioner Terry Holliday said. “It helps nurture creativity and problem-solving skills, and prepares students for future careers.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts one in every two Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) jobs in the country will be in computing occupations, with more than 150,000 job openings annually making it one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States. The industries requiring computing professionals is diverse – two-thirds of computing jobs are in sectors other than information technology, including manufacturing, defense, health care, finance, and government.

No experience is needed to participate in the Hour of Code. Students can choose from self-guided tutorials that work on any modern browser, tablet or cellphone and may take part even if they don’t have a computer.

Earlier this year, Code.org, a national, non-profit organization, which is sponsoring the Hour of Code,recognized Kentucky for its “progressive state policy to make computer science count” as a core graduation requirement.

Kentucky Department of Education guidance states that based on course standards and the teacher of record, a computer science course can qualify as a 4th mathematics course or an elective science course if it involves computational thinking, problem solving, computer programming, and a significant emphasis on the science and engineering practices from the Kentucky Core Academic Standards. For example, a student who takes and passes AP Computer Science, which teaches computer programming and software development, may count it as one of the mathematics credits required for graduation as defined byKentucky’s minimum high school graduation requirements.

Great Teachers Make Great Schools – Congrats New NBCTs!

Without great teachers, there cannot be great schools, according to Oldham County Schools Superintendent Will Wells, who congratulated the district’s 13 new National Board Certified teachers on their achievement.

Known as “Certification Day,” Dec. 3 marked the announcement by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards of the 2013-14 class of board-certified teachers, known as NBCTs.  This rigorous, peer-reviewed process ensures teachers have proven skills to advance student achievement. As part of this process, teachers must analyze their teaching context and students’ needs, submit videos of their teaching, and provide student work samples that demonstrate growth and achievement. 

This year’s class includes 13 Oldham County Schools teachers:

  • Dana Corson (Camden Station)
  • Megan Fernandez (Oldham County High)
  • Kimberly Fink (East Oldham Middle)
  • Jennifer Girardin (Oldham County High)
  • Jaclyn Harbin (Goshen)
  • Ashley Harrington (Centerfield)
  • Maura Mason (South Oldham Middle)
  • Tracy Meacham (Oldham County High)
  • Daphne Renaud (Goshen)
  • Sondra Miller-Trayner (Oldham County High)
  • Mallory Trogdlen (Centerfield)
  • Amanda Williams (Buckner)
  • Brooke Wiseman (Goshen)

The addition of these new certified teachers brings the district total to 160, the state’s highest percentage of National Board Certified teachers at 21.4 percent.  

To date, more than 110,000 teachers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have achieved the profession’s gold standard for accomplished teaching, based on standards — created by teachers, for teachers — that define what teachers should know and be able to do to advance student learning.

Board-certified teachers are leaders both in and outside of the classroom. A recent national survey of NBCTs showed that 54 percent have served or are currently working as team leaders, 36 percent as department chairs and 15 percent as staff developers or instructional coaches. In higher education, 234 NBCTs are serving as full-time faculty and 2,251 have served or are serving as adjunct faculty. Across the U.S., 116 serve on boards of education.

Join us in congratulating these teachers!

Transportation notifications update
Dear parents:
We know the frequent bus delays across the district are very frustrating. While double-runs of buses may remain a reality until we have enough bus drivers, we are changing our system to provide more updates. We anticipate launching the new system Dec. 8, allowing our transportation team to send updates about specific buses via OneCall. This will be used for major delays and changes, like double-runs, maintenance issues or traffic accidents.
One key feature is that we will provide bus-specific information, not just school-specific — meaning if your child rides bus 1111, you’ll get updates related just to that bus. In addition, this change will enable us to send updates about morning bus routes. Previously, updates were sent at the school level, and morning route changes occur before school staff arrive. Our transportation team arrives before bus routes begin and will be able to send those updates.
Again, this system will only be used for major delays and changes, including double runs, mechanical issues or traffic accidents. It will not be used to provide updates on typical day-to-day delays caused by traffic or other common occurrences.
Updates will include bus number changes and estimated times, but please keep in mind those times are approximate and subject to change, especially during times of inclement weather. As always, please ensure your child is dressed appropriately to wait for the bus — especially teens, who are more apt to wait without hats and gloves.
If you need to make a correction to your child’s bus number or the phone numbers at which you receive alerts, please contact your school’s office manager. There is a texting option for OneCall if you would prefer texts instead of phone calls. Text the word “alert” to 22300 to activate text messaging (must be from a number currently receiving phone calls).
We do have four drivers currently in training, and several more applications under review. We encourage those interested in becoming a driver to call 222-9337.
Thank you for your patience and understanding on this topic.
Dorenda Neihof, Chief Operations Officer
James Stewart, Director of Transportation

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