Friday, August 22, 2014

OCTC partnerships to be recognized at football game

Football Friday has arrived in the Owensboro Public Schools.  Owensboro High School will take on Daviess County at Rash Stadium.  The Red Devils will be looking for the 700th win in the schools
history since the sport began at OHS in 1895.

While football feats will play center stage, the school district is also taking a few minutes to recognize the great partnerships that are taking place between OHS and the Owensboro Community and Technical College.

OCTC President Dr. Jim Klauber will attend the game along with many members of the college's leadership team.  At halftime the vintage Cobra car will make an appearance on the field.  The car was restored by OCTC's Automotive Technology program as part of a statewide partnership with multiple agencies allowing students to learn about and work with alternative fuel options.  Eight Owensboro High School students were among the OCTC group to work on the restoration of the car.

This is just one of many examples of OCTC-OPS collaboration.  The following are some other ways OCTC and OPS are working together to help students in the community reach their educational goals:

  • Discover College- OCTC offers a range of dual credit programs open to Owensboro students to earn both high school and college credits.  OCTC general education courses such as English 101, Biology, and College Algebra are offered at OHS.  Several other OPS students take technical programs such as automotive technology, welding, and advanced manufacturing on one of the college's three local campuses.  Nearly 100 OPS students are enrolled in Discover College.
  • Gateway Technical Program- a new pilot program established with OCTC this year has enrolled 40 OPS students in a construction and trades program while they are working to become college ready in math and reading.  Students successfully completing the program will be eligible for Discover College. 
  • Early College Academy- another brand new program that allows students to earn a two-year associate degree at the same time they are completing their high school diploma.  Students must have met their college benchmarks to be eligible to apply for this program.  Most of the courses are offered on OCTC's Main Campus.  Currently, nine OHS juniors have begun this fall working toward their associate degree. 
  • Community Campus- this program is a partnership among several area high schools and OCTC that have created workforce-aligned academies where students work toward high school and college credit.  The Life Science Bio-Medical Academy is currently offered at OCTC.  Other academies offered at local high schools, including OHS, are Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and Computer Information Technology. 
The Owensboro Public Schools would like to thank OCTC for being a great partner in the education of the students of this community. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

OPS launches innovation Grants

The mission of the Owensboro Public Schools is to make the world a better place by engaging ALL students with innovative teaching and learning.

In order for all students to become college and career ready they must be afforded engaging and innovative opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.  The Owensboro Board of Education recognizes this imperative as well by dedicating a significant amount of funds for innovation grants or iGrants to foster innovative teaching and learning.

 Harvard Business School's Clayton Christensen in his 2013 book Disrupting Class defines two types of innovations: sustaining and disruptive.  Sustaining innovations are those that help make better products or services while disruptive innovations offer an entirely new way of doing things.

The iGrant program will challenge teachers and instructional leaders at OPS schools to propose innovations that promote new and creative strategies in teaching and learning that engage students.

The district is accepting proposals from individual teachers, teams of teachers, professional learning communities, grade-level teams, content-level teams, and/ or entire schools.  Collaborations across buildings will be considered as well.

The intent of the grants is not to fund additional salaried positions within the district.  Because these funds are not renewable, submitters must make a case for sustainability of the project after the grant funds are expended.  Winners must agree to ongoing monitoring of the grant's implementation, goals and progress.

Proposals will be accepted through September 30, 2014 by 4 pm.  Applications can be accessed via this direct link.  Winners will be announced by October 30, 2014.

Friday, August 8, 2014

OPS commitments to innovative teaching and learning

Instructional Core is the center of all we do!
The number one goal for the Owensboro Public Schools during 2014-2015 is to put the instructional core-- that is, the knowledge and skill of teachers, student engagement with their own learning, and a rigorous curriculum-- at the center of everything we do.

At the Opening Day Convocation, we shared the core commitments to innovative teaching and learning that will be adopted district-wide to help us create an organization-wide culture of learning and continuous improvement.

The OPS Commitments to Innovative Teaching and Learning are...

  • teachers, administrators, and support staff hold the growth mindset that ALL students can become college or career ready;
  • the district staff have a passion for innovative teaching that engages students;
  • instructional staff have a habit of reflective practice and collaboration to shape new, improved teaching practices;
  • district culture is that of trust, respect, and responsibility between staff, students, and parents;
  • rigor, relevance, and relationships are commonplace in every classroom.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

OPS and OCTC establish Owensboro Early College Academy

OCTC Main Campus at 4800 New Hartford Rd.
Owensboro Public Schools and Owensboro Community & Technical College are partnering to create the Owensboro Early College Academy to provide a unique program for Owensboro High School students through which they can graduate with a college associate degree and a high school diploma simultaneously.

Owensboro Early College Academy Associate Degree programs that will be offered are:
Agricultural Technology, Biotechnology, Broadcast Television, Business Administration, Computer Aided Drafting and Design, Computerized Manufacturing and Machining, Computer Information Technology, Construction Technology, Criminal Justice, Interdisciplinary Early Childhood, Electrical Technology, Engineering Technology, Industrial Maintenance Technology, Medical Information Technology, and Theatre Arts – Technical Theatre.  Associate of Arts/Associate of Science degrees will be added in 2015.

“This is a giant step toward providing career-specific studies for our students and a tremendous opportunity for those who enter the Academy.  The number and diversity of associate degree programs that will be available to our students fits perfectly with many of the needs of employers and as entry programs into four-year-college programs,” said Dr. Nick Brake, OPS Superintendent. 

Modeled after a program used in Hancock County and other parts of Kentucky, students will be admitted to the program through a competitive process that takes into consideration academic performance, attendance, extra-curricular and community involvement, honors, behavior, and economic factors.  The Academy targets juniors and seniors.  Ideally, students will enroll in the Academy as juniors. 

Dr. Jim Klauber, OCTC President, and Dr. Brake have worked out the details of the Academy program so that Early College Academy classes will be taught by OCTC faculty at the 4800 New Hartford Road campus.  Dual credit and regular high school classes will be taught at OHS by OHS faculty.  Depending on an individual’s schedule, he or she may attend classes on both campuses.  There will be little or no cost to students and OPS bus transportation will be available.

"We are excited about any opportunity to give students who are ready for post secondary work a chance to get an early start.  We plan to expand this into our Associate of Arts and Associate of Science programs so that students may move from high school directly into the workplace with an associate degree or to go on to their favored university half-way towards their bachelor's degree," said Dr. Klauber.

While attending the Owensboro Early College Academy, students will be considered Owensboro High School students and will be eligible to participate in OHS extra-curricular activities that do not interfere with attendance in college classes.  Academy students will graduate from Owensboro High School and will be issued college credits by OCTC.  

For more information, including a handout with frequently asked questions, please click the following link:

For more information or to apply for the Academy, OHS students should contact OPS College and Career Counselor Beth Benjamin at Owensboro High School(270) 686-1110 or

Goals for the 2014-2015 School Year

The following are major goals for the 2014-2015 school year, many of which were outlined during remarks at the Opening Day Convocation on August 5 at Owensboro High School.

Innovation in Teaching and Learning
Dr. Brake speaking to OPS staff on Opening Day

  • Innovation and continuous improvement in teaching and learning focusing on the instructional core will be the center of everything we do as a district.
  • District-wide adoption of Commitments to Innovative Teaching and Learning
  • Continue to expand access to Pre-K education through partnerships with Audubon Area HeadStart and expansion of preschool program with a classroom at Estes Elementary
  • Continued funding of 1:1 Apple MacAir technology program for grades 5th through 12th
  • Continue to add new technical programs with Project Lead the Way, the development of the New Tech Innovation Academy, and other partnerships with the business community
  • Partnerships with Owensboro Community and Technical College through the Gateway Academy as well as the creation of an Early College Academy to create college and career pathways for every high school student.
Tradition of Engagement

  • Expansion of the Owensboro Reads program and summer learning efforts to enhance literacy
  • Create partnerships with family and community, including expansion of the Family Engagement Council formed last year and continuation of Toyota Born Learning Academy
  • Utilize Leader In Me implementation to promote positive school culture as well as family and community engagement.  
  • Fine arts will continue to be a focus area of the district to engage students as part of the regular curriculum and through summer and extended learning
Excellence as an Organization

  • Continue to enhance organizational culture and communication efforts through advisory groups and continuous improvement process
  • Focus on the creation of a human capital strategy to attract, recruit and retain the best workforce
  • Enhance the Leadership OPS program to identify future leadership within the school system
  • Promote the work of the Energy Team and partnership with OMU on energy conservation and green initiatives. 
  • Continue partnership with the College of Education at WKU on the Vanguard Teacher Preparation program
  • Begin implementation of the facility plan

Tradition, innovation, excellence defines the Owensboro Public Schools

The mission statement and strategy of the Owensboro Public Schools can be summed up with the three words: tradition, innovation, and excellence.

OPS is a progressive school district on the cutting-edge of leadership in public education juxtaposed with a proud tradition of excellence of being a leader of learning for over a century.

Here is how the three words form the basis of our organizational strategy:

Tradition of Engagement in the Owensboro community since 1871

  • OPS engages the "whole child" through a core curriculum and support services such as health, nutrition, family engagement, summer learning, the arts and athletics.
  • A high quality arts program is available to every student in the Owensboro Public Schools.
  • OPS promotes compassionate civic and family engagement creating schools that are anchors of their neighborhoods.
Innovation in teaching and learning
  • Innovation centered around the instructional core-- emphasizing the knowledge and skill of teachers, student engagement in their own learning, and providing an academically challenging curriculum.
  • A coherent P through 12 educational continuum beginning with Pre-K educational access, a strong focus on literacy, numeracy and graduation rate culminating with a blended experience with postsecondary education and career pathways in the last two years of high school.
  • OPS is a Kentucky District of Innovation committed to personalized learning for all students utilizing cutting edge teaching and technology.
  • OPS is a learning community of leading professional educators with a growth mindset of continuous improvement and performance excellence with high expectations for all students.
Excellence in ALL we do an a learning organization 

  • OPS values collaborative leadership, trust and open communication
  • Recruitment, retention and attraction of the highest caliber workforce in teaching and learning as well as operational support
  • OPS administration, operations, facilities, and resource allocations are efficient, effective, results-oriented, process-driven, and mission-focused. 

It all starts with vision

It is fitting that I begin my blogging about the Owensboro Public Schools with a discussion of our district's vision.

The vision of the Owensboro Public Schools is to enable students to succeed in life, college and the careers of tomorrow, equipped to think critically and creatively, solve problems, communicate and collaborate effectively, and participate fully in our democratic society.

The vision is closely aligned to the mandate of "college and career readiness" established by the Kentucky General Assembly a few years ago.  It is more than a mandate or even a vision--we see it in the Owensboro Public Schools as a moral imperative.

The combined forces of globalization and technological change have created a perfect storm of economic change.  The pace and level of this change has created the challenge of preparing ALL students for college and careers, something that our education system was not really designed to do.

This kind of challenge is called in leadership an adaptive challenge.  When individuals and organizations confront an adaptive challenge, they face a dilemma where the capacity to solve it does not exist.  Consequently, confronting an adaptive challenge requires new innovation, experimentation, and sometimes changing our priorities, beliefs, values and loyalties.  It requires a new mindset.

To meet this adaptive challenge the Owensboro Public Schools have adopted a growth mindset, the basic belief that ALL students can achieve a level of success through hard work and higher levels of achievement.  It is a moral imperative for us to fulfill our vision of helping all students succeed in college, careers and life.

Learn more about the Growth Mindset in the following YouTube Video: