Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Local News

May 2, 2014

KDE awards $23K grant to Caverna High School

Money will be used to improve college and career readiness

GLASGOW — Caverna High School has been awarded a $23,000 Extended School Year College and Career Readiness grant through the Kentucky Department of Education to offer students more opportunities.

The high school became eligible for the grant by being identified as a Cohort 1 school for School Improvement Grant funding.

“This has been offered to those schools that are priority schools or are focus schools to somehow extend their school year to benefit students either in academics or something for career readiness,” said CHS Principal Brad Phipps.

The high school applied for the grant with plans to use the money to fund summer internships for juniors and seniors for the 2014-15 school year, plus an acceleration program for students in grades 9-12.

“What we are looking to do there is to offer courses that we can’t offer during the regular school year or courses through partnerships with colleges or technical schools,” he said.

Phipps has spoken with officials at Western Kentucky University, Campbellsville University and Southern Kentucky Community and Technical College about making such courses, which would be dual-credit courses, available to CHS students.

The classes should help students perform better academically at the college level.

Phipps hopes that with the grant, CHS will improve its college and career readiness standing.

“Four years ago we were at 2 percent college and career readiness, which meant one kid out of that graduating class was college and career ready,” he said. “This year, right now, I think we are at somewhere close to 70 percent college and career ready.”

He would like for the school to be at 75 to 80 percent, but a few things are keeping the school from obtaining that goal. One is the socioeconomic status of the school’s student population.

“We still don’t have a large percentage of our kids who can afford to go on and take classes at Western or SKyTech or at any of these places while they are in (high) school,” Phipps said. “Our goal is to increase that number of students who are taking advance courses. We are working, trying to get these kids out into the college setting.”

Dewayne Neeley, dual-credit program coordinator at WKU, has spoken to Phipps about making dual-credit online courses available to CHS students.

“The size of school that Caverna has makes it difficult to have face-to-face classes, because the teachers need to be reserved for other sections for the school,” Neeley said. “Online classes go a long way to serve those students.”

The only dual-credit course WKU offers CHS students now is chemistry, but Neeley said the university is working with a CHS teacher about becoming certified to teach at least one more course.

“I know they would like to do more,” Neeley said.

The school’s goal is for all of next year’s seniors to either take college-level courses or do an internship, Phipps said.

“We are trying to get our kids to understand what the world of work really is and what it entails,” he said.

By taking dual-credit courses, the tuition will be less expensive.

“This is meant to bridge the gap between high school and post-secondary life whether it be community college, technical college or at the university level,” he said.

As for the internships, Phipps is working with local businesses and industries to create opportunities for students to work in a field that might interest them as a possible career path.

While some students can’t afford to take dual-credit courses, some have no transportation to college campuses or internship locations.

“With this grant we have written in money to transport them to and from work,” he said.

CHS originally requested $11,000 in grant funding but was awarded more than double that amount, which will allow the school to involve more students, he said.

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