Bright Spots Archives | Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

Bright Spots

  • ACADEMIC GAINS CONTINUE AS SCHOOL GOES REMOTE

    In May, the final learning triumphs of a topsy-turvy school year occurred at converted breakfast tables, in living rooms, or bedroom corners across the state. The spring of 2020 showed how a hurried push to provide remote learning and continued connection provided students and teachers ways to connect, network and move learning forward.
  • CRISIS EXPANDS DEFINITION OF SCHOOL WORK

    APRIL 2020 \\\\\ SCHOOL SUPPORT STAFF For more than 100 high school students in Graves County, thinking about the effects of coronavirus arrived months before prevention measures transformed students’ lives and left school staffs and communities scrambling to meet the needs of suddenly isolated students and families. Kentucky’s aggressive response to limiting the virus’s spread upended student and family life. In addition to new modes of teaching and learning, the crisis has also jolted adults who support schools into new directions and prompted community responses to supplement student learning and promote families’ welfare.
  • MAKING PROFICIENCY A DISTRICT CONSTANT

    FEBRUARY 2020 \\\\\ MONROE COUNTY A clear handle on fractions is the goal for fourth-grade math students one January morning at Gamaliel Elementary, a small school perched near the Tennessee border in Monroe County. Teacher Shelly Buck asks her students to concentrate and visualize: “Make up one-fourth in your head,” she says. “If you were to visually picture one-fourth, is it more or less than one half?” She asks students to think and be prepared to take a position or to agree or disagree with classmates ...
  • A RENEWED APPROACH TO PROFICIENCY FOR ALL

    JANUARY 2020 \\\\\ ROBERTSON COUNTY At first, the idea of a four-minute scavenger hunt seeking examples of basic geometry terms seemed like a dud. Students in Deana Rosenthal’s 4th grade classroom in Robertson County first responded by looking at each other as much as surveying the room. Soon, however, someone noticed perpendicular lines on the door frame. Or the parallel stripes of the classroom flag. Students jumped from their seats to trace the mortar between the blocks in the wall — the right angles of perpendiculars. The flagpole was declared a line segment.
  • LESSONS FROM AN IDEAL LEARNING GROUND

    DECEMBER 2019 \\\\\ GOVERNOR’S SCHOLARS PROGRAM The bulky, distorted skeleton lying in the corner of a classroom at Bellarmine University was created by some of Kentucky’s sharpest students. One of its creators, Jaxson Ratliff, 17, now a senior at Johnson Central High School, explained that the clunky 6-foot-long papier-mâché frame with no neck and extra-long legs taught an important lesson: its makers still have a lot to learn. Building a model solely from their collective skeletal knowledge proved an entertaining and mind-opening first assignment for students in the Healthcare Industry focus area at the five-week Governor’s Scholars Program on the Bellarmine campus. The site is one of three concurrent programs over the summer reaching 1,000 students on the cusp of their final year of high school.
  • AFTERSCHOOL TIME BOOSTS ACADEMICS, ENGAGEMENT

    OCTOBER 2019 \\\\\ SPENCER COUNTY MIDDLE SCHOOL At some point most every school day, Marissa Atha, a 7th grader at Spencer County Middle School, said she can’t wait for the final bell to chime. She finds math and science tough to absorb, but once school is out, she feels confident that she can get things straight and also have fun with friends — all before dinner. “How I do in class is improved,” Marissa said, crediting the school’s thriving afterschool program, Grizzlies Beyond the Bell, which everyone calls G.B.B.
  • ADDRESSING LEARNING WITH SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL SUPPORTS

    AUGUST 2019 \\\\\ MILES ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in ERLANGER-ELSMERE Vivid facts about an unusual predator capture a classroom of first graders in Northern Kentucky. Together, students read about the Humboldt squid — most common in the Pacific currents off South America, Mexico and California. The giant squid darts through the sea with long tentacles and hunts with sharp teeth inside a powerful beak. For the class, the description is an attention grabber. The imagery suits a lesson about finding attributes in a text to differentiate between similar animals. The activity also lets students practice their ability as writers to describe examples and share evidence to support a main point. All of the skills are basics in Kentucky’s academic standards for reading and writing.
  • READING PRIORITY GETS RESULTS

    For groups of fifth graders arriving for a reading lesson with teacher Nikki Adams, the morning’s challenge is spotting examples of how an author shows cause and effect or uses comparisons and contrasts to inform readers. In an article titled “Why are the Oceans Salty?,” they spot phrases like “As a result…” and “To explain…” to understand the text structures and strengthen their skills as readers. They also have to tap other skills, like making sense of an unfamiliar word.