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Ludlow Students Show Off 3D Printing Skills; District Approves Improvement Plan

A pair of Ludlow students showed off their work with a 3D printer acquired by the district as part of the SOAR Program. Fresgman Aidan Schaffner and sophomore Peyton Wallace demonstrated how strong their skills have become.
One piece, a larger screw and nut of sorts, was passed around so the board could handle it, fit together exceptionally well, and another piece was round with little interactive cogs inside that moved together.
The boys went on a field trip to visit the Maker Space at Boone County, and that's where they were introduced to the 3D printers. With instruction, the students are now good enough to be ambassadors for the program, and they can teach the printer science to other kids. The students design and scale the pieces and give it to the computer, which stores it and puts it on the polar cloud. The printer then reads the instructions and prints the item. The students presented each of the board members with a red L that they created with the printers.
The use of a 3D printer can lead to a career in manufacturing manufacturing, in addition to developing engineering skills. It is a tool of the future, since scientists are now experimenting with printing human organs and limbs. The Ludlow Maker Space is in the library, and many other activities go on, such as guitar-playing and compupter work. Students also have a big screen TV there. The SOAR program is a partnership between Ludlow High School and NaviGo College and Career Prep services, and it provides interesting and educational activities before and after school and during the summer.
Jennifer McMillen, Director of College and Career Readiness,  has added a program to her Tech Tuesday program, which happens every Tuesday from  4 to 5:30 p.m. at the cafeteria. This program is for adults and parents, who might not have internet service at home, so they are provided with a secure computer that they can work on during those hours.
A new program is called Ludlow Coffee Talks and takes place on Fridays from 8:20 to 9:20 a.m. Parents are encouraged to eat breakfast with their child at 7:45 a.m. and then go into the cafeteria where they will have initial conversation about subjects like understanding the importance of subject areas, supporting the school as a parent volunteer, basic health and CPR, and tackling tough conversations with preteens and teens. The new program will begin after the Christmas break. More information can be had by contacting McMillen.
Board members listened to the Comprehensive School Improvement Plans from both schools. Mary Goetz Elementary principal Jason Steffen told the board that he heard late in November that his school received a Math Achievement Fund grant from the state which will give them $50,000 a year for four years, and  Steffen said that they will be able to hire a math intervention teacher. Both principals spoke of programs they have which help the students by targeting the areas where students need help the most.
"We do a great job catching kids up by grade 6, but, boy, if we didn't have to catch them up, what could we do," Steffen said. 
Ludlow High School principal Travis Caudill told about a program where three of their students are going for a half day to the Northern Kentucky Homebuilders where they are apprentices to workers and learn a trade. He said once word of this program gets out, people will be wanting to get into it, and Caudill was proud that his students had their foot in the door.
Caudill also said that the school is pushing teachers to use all the technological tools available to them because using technical tools to teach is how students learn now. He also will step up his efforts to get parents involved, although he said now that many more households have access to internet, the parent participation has already improved greatly.
The board approved the improvement plans for both schools and the district.
The board also approved of the local planning committee, consisting of Superintendent Mike Borchers, Thomas Garner, Amy Hayden, Tom Amann, Jenny McMillen, Randy Wofford, Travis Caudill/Jason Steffen, Liz Runnels/Amanda Kelly, and Chuck Rice/Steve Hammel.
Attendance has been steadily increasing, making up for the loss of a few students at the beginning of the year, and attendance for the district is now 95.78 percent.
Starting in January, Superintendent Borchers' coffee get-togethers with parents and community members will happen at Folk School Coffee Parlor on Elm Street.
The board authorized the final payment to Ashley Construction for the work out center at the front of the high school gym. Borchers said that it has been slow encouraging the public to join the center, but the students are using the center during the day. If anyone would like to join the workout center, they can call the school to sign up.
The final order was to approve the absences for board member Steve Chapman. According to KRS 160.220 if a board member misses three meetings in a row, his absences have to be approved by the board.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Aidan Schaffner, a ninth grader, and Peyton Wallace, a tenth grader, demonstrate how the 3D printer works and show some of the pieces they have made.
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