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Newport Schools Celebrate Improvements of Graduates

Newport Independent Schools celebrated an improvement to its dropout rate and Superintendent Kelly Middleton noted that the district exceeded its goal based on a statwide pledge it signed in 2011.

In signing the pledge, Newport promised to improve its college & career readiness rate by 50 percent by 2015. Its goal was to have 61 of its graduates be college and career ready by last year. The district ended up with 68 graduates meeting the necessary standards as measured by the Unbridled Learning Accountability model.

"Newport Independent has strived to be an example and a pioneer of education excellence," Middle said at this week's meeting of the Newport Board of Education. "We are ecstatic that our efforts have been noticed and recognized by the Commonwealth's Education Board."

All of the 169 schools across the state that signed the pledge, called the Commonwealth Commitment to College and Career Readiness, had a unique goal designed for them based on how many students and how far the numbers had to increase. In 2010 only 34 percent of the high school students in Kentucky were considered ready to go to college or to start a career. The rate increased to 66.8 percent last year, thanks to the varied strategies devised in the districts to help students meet criteria necessary for graduation and a subsequent successful career.

"As a result of the commitment being met, at least 15,000 more students statewide graduated in 2015 than did in 2010 ready for post-secondary opportunities," said Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt. He recognized Newport Independent Schools at the Kentucky School Boards Association conference in Louisville in February.

The board couldn't be prouder.

"This is who we are," said Board President Ramona Malone. "We don't want to stop here. Our kids deserve the best, and our faculty are working hard to make it happen."

In other business, the board agreed to an amendment to the purchase contract from CRG for the Intermediate School property. Initially there were two bidders and the valuation in lieu of taxes was set at $12 million because the company who was outbid had planned a certain structure. CRG, which won the bid, plans a larger structure, but when they did soil tests the results came back saying the soil had more sand in it, and they would have to do more work, so they wanted a reduction. After consultation, an agreement was arrived at to lower the valuation in lieu of taxes and to spread it out over a longer period.

Other notes:

The board agreed to a service contract with Cincinnati Bell for continuation of services. In a related matter, Kevin McCormick from Tech Support told the board about how the city is trying to get 50 businesses on board to be able to provide free internet for certain areas of the city, and proposed that they try to get the businesses to go a little further, and sponsor other areas of the city for internet in an effort to provide internet to the students who can't afford it.

At the beginning of the meeting, 7-year old Kendall Mayse was recognized as the winner of a district-wide bookmark contest.

Also honored were members of the Future Business Leaders of America regional winners. 

Three senior athletes were recognized for their achievements at the meeting, Kylie Orr, Kedan Davis, and Ethan Snapp, who all are basketball stars in their own right while still achieving very high grade point average.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Kendall Mayse, 7, shows the bookmark she designed that won the district wide bookmark contest.
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