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120 School Districts Honored at ‘Graduate Kentucky’ Celebration

Thursday, 08 08, 2013

Kerri Richardson
Terry Sebastian
502-564-2611

Leaders recognize districts that adopted policy to keep students in school until 18th birthdays or graduation, celebrate success of ‘Blitz to 96’

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear, First Lady Jane Beshear and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday honored school boards across Kentucky that raced to adopt the new “Graduate Kentucky” standard, keeping students in school until they earn a high school diploma or turn 18.

To date, 120 Kentucky local boards of education have voted to raise the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18. Gov. Beshear honored representatives from each district with an official Certificate of Recognition for their swift action in adopting the new policy.
 
“We stand here today to thank and honor the many dedicated school boards throughout the Commonwealth who showed their support by adopting this graduation policy so quickly,” said Gov. Beshear. “In Kentucky, we fight every day to find better ways to educate our children, and this graduation bill implementation marks an historic moment in our efforts. I am so proud of the high value our state has put on education by putting faith in our students.”

Senate Bill 97 (SB 97), known as the “Graduate Kentucky” bill, passed earlier this year and phases in an increase in the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18. SB 97 stated that implementation would be voluntary until 55 percent—or 96—of the state’s school districts adopted the policy.

On June 25, the first day local boards of education could vote to adopt SB97, leaders launched “Blitz to 96” – an effort to get 96 school districts to adopt the “Graduate Kentucky” standard as soon as possible. Within two weeks, the 96 district threshold had been reached and as a result, the remainder of Kentucky’s 174 districts must now adopt and implement the standard no later than the 2017-18 school year.

Students who graduate from an accredited or an approved four-year high school before they turn 18 are exempt from the new policy.

“Today is the result of more than five years of hard work by education advocates across Kentucky who were willing to stand up for change in our state,” said Mrs. Beshear. “I know that implementing this graduation bill was an uphill battle, and I want to thank the many educators, administrators, community leaders, parents and others who have supported this policy along the way. Raising the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18 is an important step in affording our children the opportunity to succeed.”

The first 96 districts to adopt the “Graduation Bill” standard earned $10,000 grants from the Kentucky Department of Education to help plan for full implementation in the 2015-16 school year.

“Once again, we are grateful to the Governor and First Lady for their leadership, and we salute the districts that have recognized the important impact the Graduation Bill will have on students,” said Commissioner Holliday. “Passing a policy raising the compulsory school age to 18 is a good start. Now, we must work collaboratively – school boards and districts, communities, the Department of Education and the General Assembly – to support and ensure meaningful implementation of these policies so all of our students will reach the goal of becoming college/career-ready by the time they graduate high school.”

Research shows that high school graduates live longer, are less likely to be teen parents, and are more likely to raise healthier, better-educated children. High school graduates are also less likely to commit crimes, rely on government healthcare or use other public services.

“The legislature worked for several years on this bill with the Governor,” said Sen. David Givens. “I am pleased that we came to a bipartisan solution driven by local districts saying they were ready and providing a transition period for schools to implement supports for at-risk students.”

“I think the quick implementation of this law speaks volumes about our school districts’ desire to truly tackle this issue,” said Rep. Jeff Greer. “I want to thank them for taking this major step, which will pay dividends for generations to come. I also deeply appreciate the hard work and leadership Governor and First Lady Beshear provided, and the overwhelming support shown by my House and Senate colleagues. This law will long be remembered as a watershed moment for education. I’m proud I could play a role in it.”

A list of school districts which have adopted the new compulsory attendance age follows, as reported to the Kentucky Department of Education through its online system as of Aug. 5, 2013 at 2:25 p.m.

Adair County

Estill County

Mason County

Anchorage Independent

Fayette County

Mayfield Independent

Anderson County

Floyd County

McCracken County

Augusta Independent

Frankfort Independent

Meade County

Barbourville Independent

Franklin County

Menifee County

Bardstown Independent

Fulton County

Mercer County

Barren County

Fulton Independent

Metcalfe County

Bath County

Garrard County

Monroe County

Bell County

Glasgow Independent

Montgomery County

Bellevue Independent

Graves County

Morgan County

Berea Independent

Grayson County

Muhlenberg County

Bourbon County

Green County

Murray Independent

Bowling Green Independent

Greenup County

Nelson County

Boyd County

Hancock County

Nicholas County

Boyle County

Hardin County

Owensboro Independent

Bracken County

Harlan County

Owsley County

Breathitt County

Harrison County

Paducah Independent

Breckenridge County

Hart County

Paris Independent

Bullitt County

Hazard Independent

Pendleton County

Burgin Independent

Henderson County

Pineville Independent

Campbell County

Henry County

Powell County

Campbellsville Independent

Hopkins County

Pulaski County

Carroll County

Jackson Independent

Rowan County

Carter County

Jefferson County

Russell County

Casey County

Johnson County

Russell Independent

Christian County

Kenton County

Russellville Independent

Clark County

Knox County

Scott County

Clay County

LaRue County

Shelby County

Cloverport Independent

Lawrence County

Simpson County

Corbin Independent

Lee County

Somerset Independent

Covington Independent

Leslie County

Spencer County

Cumberland County

Lewis County

Taylor County

Danville Independent

Lincoln County

Trigg County

Dawson Springs Independent

Livingston County

Union County

Dayton Independent

Logan County

Warren County

Edmonson County

Ludlow Independent

Washington County

Elizabethtown Independent

Madison County

Whitley County

Elliott County

Marion County

Williamsburg Independent

Eminence Independent

Marshall County

Wolfe County

Erlanger-Elsmere Independent

Martin County

Woodford County


More information about Graduate Kentucky and resources available to school districts is available at www.graduate.ky.gov.

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