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Students explain aspirations

School board discusses strategy for shrinking budget

By Jeremy D. Wells

Carter County Times

The Carter County School District’s chief academic officer, Dr. Jennifer Fraley, took time during her instructional update on Monday evening to explain a little about the county’s Local Laboratories of Learning, or L3, agreement with the Kentucky Department of Education, and one of the ways they are using that program to benefit students – the ASPIRE program.

ASPIRE, which stands for Achieving Success through Planning, Inspiration, Resources and Engagement, pairs students with teacher mentors or advisors to help them make plans for achieving their goals.

One of the strategies for establishing these mentor and mentee relationships was with what the program participants called a “vision board.”

These boards contain images that represent the student’s passions and aspirations, and the mentor’s passions and achievements. By looking at these boards each could see if they shared any interests, and use that as a jumping off point to begin a conversation.

All of the students wanted a successful career, a nice vehicle, and a comfortable home – but the path they hoped to follow to achieve those goals varied from neurosurgery to the trades, with students expressing passions for everything from faith and family to writing and the outdoors.

Student presenter Madison Buckler explained how she hopes to have a career in veterinary sciences, with an educational path that will take her to Texas A&M, Connor Craig discussed his plan to get his RN license and work as a traveling nurse, and Randi McGuire said she wanted to become a surgeon – possibly a neurosurgeon.

But not all students are looking for a future that includes college. Ethan Dunaway said his vision board represented his interest in working with his hands to create things, either as a carpenter or a welder – something he’s been working at and learning for the last couple years. It also represented his interests in hunting and the outdoors and a newfound love of writing, which he explained was a good outlet for “sharing my thoughts with other people,” and a way “to connect with one another.”

In other action school police chief R.D. Porter took time to recognize employees at Heritage Elementary School for their response during a recent emergency situation with principal J.C. Perkins, who was also among those recognized by Porter, accepting the recognitions on their behalf.

During discussion of school financials Andy Lyons, the district finance director, explained the changes in the budget over last year. Lyons explained that unlike previous years, where the amount the district received was frozen at what he described as “the base year,” now they were being funded based on the actual number of students enrolled. Since that freeze, he explained, enrollment numbers have dropped by around 300 students – which means more than a million dollars in lost funding. Lyons said there would be a total funding decrease of $1.8 million, and that about $1 million of that would have to come from the general fund. Despite that, he said, the district was in fairly good shape and had time to make adjustments.

“For the next couple of years, we’re in good shape, but we’re still going to need to make some adjustments,” Lyons said.

The board also moved to approve various action items by consent and accepted financial reports before entering into executive session and adjourning.

The board also scheduled a special meeting for tonight (Wednesday evening) for the purpose of reviewing architect updates on the new high school project.

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

Ethan Dunaway explains how his “vision board” represents his interests in writing, the outdoors, and building things. (Photo by Jeremy D. Wells, Carter County Times)


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