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Calloway County Preschool will receive $290,000 in July from the Kentucky Department of Education as a part of the Preschool Quality Partnership Grant. This highly competitive grant was open statewide, and Calloway County was one of fifteen districts in the state to receive the grant.

The grant will fund a full day classroom as a part of Little Laker Harbour for two fiscal years, including the teacher, assistants, bus drivers, and bus monitors.

The grant was written by Lynsey Smith (left), the district's director of special education, and Leisha Barlow (right, Calloway County Preschool principal.

Calloway County Schools has named Josh McKeel the May Laker Champion for Kids. McKeel is the district's director of pupil personnel and deputy superintendent.

The Laker Champion for Kids is awarded each month to a Laker staff member who goes above and beyond for students and colleagues. 

McKeel was nominated by seventeen different faculty and staff members in the school district.

“He is a true example of a Laker for Life,” said CCMS bookkeeper Renee Lax. “He truly does whatever it takes to make our district a great place. I have seen him directing traffic in the pouring rain, picking up trash outside, and stopping to help others if he sees they need help.”

North principal Melinda Hendley said McKeel is “a true servant and always looking for ways to help those he comes in contact with. It’s not uncommon to see him wearing multiple hats and fulfilling all of those expectations that come with them. He is filled with compassion and kindness and has a passion to help our students become as successful as they can.”

Southwest principal Mark Mallory stated, “He is one of the most professional, helpful, and supportive colleagues I've had the privilege of working with over the years. He always has an open door and goes out of his way to assist staff in any way he can. There is no one more deserving and fitting of this recognition than him.”

Calloway County teacher Rhonda Wicker has been named the 2023-24 Challenger Learning Center Outstanding Educator. Wicker received her award as a part of the President's Awards during the Regional Educators Awards and Scholarship Program held at West Kentucky Technical College on March 28.

Wicker is the district's gifted and talented teacher, and works with students in all three elementary schools, Calloway County Middle School, and Calloway County High School.  Wicker works closely with The Challenger Learning Center in Paducah to provide enrichment opportunities for the district's gifted and talented students.

"We are very proud of Ms. Wicker for winning this award," said Calloway County Superintendent Tres Settle. "She is a phenomenal asset to our district and does an excellent job pushing and accelerating her students. We are thrilled she is receiving this recognition so others in our region can see how impactful she is for our students."

As a leader in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, Challenger Center and its international network of more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers use space-themed simulated learning environments to engage students in dynamic, hands-on opportunities. The Challenger Learning Center at Paducah is a result of a partnership between Paducah Junior College, Inc. and West Kentucky Community and Technical College. The center opened in 2002 and has flown thousands of "missions" through school visits, summer camps, after school programs, and professional development for teachers. 

Pictured (L to R) are WKCTC President's Awards recipients: Wicker, Shirley Massie, retired Paducah educator, Casey Henderson, Carlisle County Superintendent, Linette Hamilton, retired McCracken County educator, and WKCTC President Anton Reece.

 

 

Four Calloway County schools have been recognized as “America’s Healthiest Schools” by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, one of the nation’s preeminent children’s health organizations. East Calloway Elementary, North Calloway Elementary, Southwest Calloway Elementary, and Calloway County High School all received this honor.

For the 2022-23 school year, 781 schools across 36 states earned this designation. Each school was recognized for implementing best practices in one of nine topic areas, based on criteria in Healthier Generation’s Thriving Schools Integrated Assessment. Southwest Calloway Elementary was recognized in four of these topic areas.

Healthier Generation’s signature recognition program honors schools’ extraordinary efforts to advance the cycle of achievement in whole child health equity for students, staff, and families while grappling with pandemic-related learning loss, high rates of vaping and nicotine addiction, a youth mental health crisis, and other challenges. As honorees of the recognition program, schools reinforce their central role as powerful agents of impact and change for their community at-large. 

On October 13 and 14, Healthier Generation will gather school representatives in Washington, D.C. for the America’s Healthiest Schools Leaders Summit to honor awardees and this year’s Corporate Hero, Kohl’s, for prioritizing the whole health needs of staff and students. More than 450 teachers, administrators, and thought leaders in health will come together to network, share best practices, and recognize the achievements of these distinguished schools. 

“We are proud of our schools for receiving this honor,” said Superintendent Tres Settle. “Our staff works hard to make our schools healthy and safe places for students to thrive, and I am excited to see them recognized for their hard work.”

Calloway County Schools has recognized Laura Crouse as its August Laker Champion for Kids.  Crouse is a district-wide counselor assisting schools and families of students with disabilities. The Laker Champion for Kids is awarded each month to a Laker staff member who goes above and beyond for students and colleagues.

This month’s champion was nominated by Director of Special Education Lynsey Smith.

“She goes above and beyond in all areas across our district," said Smith. "Most days, she will be found taking notes during ARCs, guiding and mentoring teachers, and helping students and parents navigate postsecondary decisions. Outside of her daily tasks, she also voluntarily helped at Southwest after the passing of Ms. Murdock. She has counseled students, kept records straight, and conducted many meetings. She is an advocate for our students and an asset to Calloway County Schools.”

CCHS principal Steve Smith has worked with Crouse for two decades in the district.

“A true Laker-4-Life," said Smith. "This person is what we all aspire to be in the field of education, a difference maker who puts kids first. With a positive attitude and a generous spirit, she has spent her entire career looking for ways to help teachers, students, parents, and our school in general.  She has served our district as a teacher, a guidance counselor, and an ARC chairperson.  As a counselor at CCHS, she filled many roles with the direct professionalism of a school official, while adding the personal touch of a surrogate mother figure to many students who needed it, showing compassion, understanding and even tough love when it was needed." 

"Anyone who has ever worked with her will certainly agree that you will not find a better coworker, mentor or friend.  We are so blessed to have her as a part of Laker Nation!”

 

Calloway County Schools are excited to welcome back our students for the 23-24 school year!

 

Calloway County Preschool

July 18 - 8am-4:30pm - Packet Pickup - Parents of accepted students need to attend.

August 1 - 5pm-7pm - Open House

August 9 - First Day of Little Laker Harbour

August 17 - First Day of Preschool

 

Calloway County Schools are excited to welcome back our students for the 23-24 school year!

 

North Calloway Elementary School

July 17 - 11am-6:30pm - Registration

July 18 - 7:30am-3:30pm - Registration

July 24-26 - 8:30am-11am - Kindergarten Camp - Registration deadline is July 17

July 31 - Times TBD - Back to School Night for 3rd, 4th, & 5th graders

August 1 - Times TBD - Back to School Night for 1st and 2nd graders

August 3 - Times TBD - Back to School Night for Kindergarten

August 9 - First Day of School

 

Southwest Calloway Elementary School

July 24 - 7am-2:30pm - Registration

July 25 - 11am-5:30pm - Registration

July 26-27 - 8:30am-11:30am - Kindergarten Camp - Registration deadline is July 21

July 31 - 5pm - Back to School Night for 3rd, 4th, & 5th graders

August 1 - 5pm - Back to School Night for 1st and 2nd graders

August 3 - 5pm - Back to School Night for Kindergarten

August 9 - First Day of School

 

East Calloway Elementary School

July 18 - 10:30am-6:30pm - Registration

July 31 - 5pm-6:30pm - Back to School Night for 3rd, 4th, & 5th graders

August 1 - 5pm-6:30pm - Back to School Night for 1st and 2nd graders

August 2 - 9am-12pm - Kindergarten Camp - Register by calling 762-7329

August 3 - 5pm-6:30pm - Back to School Night for Kindergarten

August 9 - First Day of School

Calloway County Conservation District recently held their awards banquet where numerous Laker students won several awards.

Writing Contest:

Kaylee Tharpe, 2nd at CCHS and 3rd in District

Hillary Bohannon, 1st at CCMS and 1st in District

Elizabeth Lanier, 1st at CCHS and 2nd in District

 

Art contest:

Emry Munoz, 1st place at Southwest Elementary

Cooper Wheatley, 1st place at North Elementary

Abbigail Christopher, 1st place at East Elementary

 

 

 

 

 

Calloway County Preschool cafeteria manager Christina Marvin was recognized as a School Breakfast Champion in a campaign between No Kid Hungry Kentucky and The Dairy Alliance. The effort celebrates and highlights leaders across the Commonwealth who go above and beyond to make breakfast happen for Kentucky students.

"She prides herself on her job," said Megan Adams, Calloway County Schools food service director. "She puts in extra effort and extra time when not even asked to better enhance her school and department."

"Christina works tirelessly every day to ensure not only that her preschool nutrition department is ran smoothly, but Christina is the first to always ask if help is needed anywhere in the district if schools are working short. Christina goes above and beyond keeping her meals relevant and meals that kids are interested in and enjoy. She is always up to date on SNA news and guidelines. She is always bringing new ideas, new info, and new products to the table to be discussed. She is diligent on every aspect of her job. She is very resourceful and very detail oriented. Christina leaves no rock unturned. Christina is a joy to work with and a joy to her little kiddos in the preschool. She is the most deserving person I know.”

Pictured (L to R) are Food Service assistant Tonya Williams, Calloway County Preschool principal Leisha Barlow, Calloway County Superintendent Tres Settle, Marvin, and Adams

Three Calloway County Laker faculty members were recently recognized by the Murray State Alumni Association as part of the "Top 22 Under 40" Class of 2023.

Ashley Fritsche is a four time graduate of Murray State with a B.S. in Marketing (‘06), a Teaching Certificate in Business and Marketing (‘08), a MA Teacher Leadership (‘12) and Ed.S. in Education (‘19). For the past 14 years Fritsche has served as one of the Business and Marketing teachers at Calloway County High School. In addition to being in the classroom, she also serves as a Site-Based Decision-Making Council member and secretary, is a prom sponsor, assists with the Interact club and is a sponsor for FBLA. Outside of the classroom, Fritsche seeks to help the Kentucky Department of Education enhance Business Education throughout the state by serving as communications publicist for the Kentucky Business Education Association, which is a group of 200 Business and Marketing teachers and stakeholders from Kentucky, and as a KDE-appointed NTI lead teacher, through which Fritsche helps to train new teachers both in the classroom and in their roles as FBLA advisors. Growing up as a Racer has impacted Fritsche throughout her own educational journey and helped to guide the education she provides for her students.

As a three time graduate of Murray State, Mark Mallory received a bachelors in English/Secondary Education ('08), a master’s in Secondary Education ('13) and another master’s in Education Administration ('15). He is currently the principal of Southwest Calloway Elementary School in Calloway County, Ky., where he has served for five years. Mallory serves as a member of Calloway County’s Playhouse in the Park board of directors and as a member of the education committee, as well as serving as a KASA ambassador for the Murray area. Mallory also stage-managed the production of the Penguin Project Presents: High School Musical. The Penguin Project is a program that pairs students with special needs with a mentor to put on a theatrical production. His wife, Heidi, is also a Murray State graduate and guidance counselor at Murray Middle School. They have two sons, Henry and Maxwell, who also attend Southwest Elementary.

Mary Grace Starks is a two-time graduate of Murray State University, earning a B.S. in Communication Disorders (‘12) and an M.S., in Speech-Language Pathology (‘14). Early in her professional career she found her passion for serving individuals with complex communication needs, while also educating families, teachers, and community stakeholders on how to best support those individual communication needs. Starks currently serves as Publications Chair for the Kentucky Speech-Language Hearing Association (KSHA) and is also a member of the KSHA social media committee. In each of those roles, Starks seeks to create content and notify KSHA members about the significant advocacy efforts to maintain and educate community members on communication development and a variety of communication disorders. Starks also currently serves as the speech-language pathologist for children and their families at the Calloway County Preschool/Head Start in Murray, KY.

Michael Haven has been named the February Laker Champion for Kids. Haven works as the network support manager district-wide in the technology department. The Laker Champion for Kids is awarded each month to a Laker staff member who goes above and beyond for students and colleagues. 

Haven was nominated by food service assistant Tonya Williams who wrote:

“He always goes above and beyond for the technology needs of the staff and students. He is always eager to help in a timely manner, is knowledgeable, positive, and uplifting in all situations. Technology is such a vital part of our daily operation in food service serving kids and when something doesn’t work, he is always our first call when we need help. We appreciate everything he does for us.”

Director of Technology Stephen Conner appreciates Haven's work within the schools and his department."

"In returning home to become the new IT Director for Calloway, he has been a valuable asset in the success of my transition," said Conner. "This award not only recognizes his outstanding contributions to the Calloway County Schools IT department, but his unwavering commitment of providing a safe and enriching online experience for all the students.  The Champion for Kids award shows his remarkable dedication and passion for his work and recognizes that one’s effort to go above and beyond to help our students achieve their academic goals does not go unnoticed.”

Pictured (L to R) are Conner, Haven, and Superintendent Tres Settle

 During a special presentation between games at the Crosstown Classic, The Murray Bank proudly presented each school superintendent with a donation in the amount of $16,400. These donations were made on behalf of all The Murray Bank Spirit Debit Card holders.

“At The Murray Bank, we are committed to making a meaningful and positive contribution to the individuals, families, businesses and schools within our community,” said Tim Stark, Vice-President of Marketing at The Murray Bank. “Our community loves to show their school spirit and we are happy to give them a way to do it. This year’s donation is the second largest in Spirit Card history!”

With this year’s donation, The Murray Bank Spirit Debit Card donation totals over $248,000, with over $124,000 going to each school since 2009 when the program started.

“On behalf of the stakeholders in the Murray Independent School District, I wish to express my gratitude to The Murray Bank for funds provided to our respective schools through their Spirit Card’s,” said Coy Sammons, Murray Independent School District Superintendent. “Financial assistance from community organizations and businesses, enable this school district to accomplish far more than it otherwise could have.”

“In these increasingly difficult financial times for Kentucky Schools, The Murray Bank Spirit Card donations allow Calloway County Schools to continue offering students both extra-curricular and co-curricular opportunities that would not be possible without this great partnership,” said Tres Settle, Calloway County School District Superintendent. “We are indeed blessed to have the support of The Murray Bank and remain honored by the investment that The Murray Bank customers and leadership continue to make in the children of this great community.”

The Murray Bank offers two Spirit Debit Cards, a Laker card and a Tiger card. Each Spirit Card features the logo of the school of choice on the face of the card. Customers of The Murray Bank can choose which school themed card they would like to carry and with each swipe of their Spirit Debit Card, The Murray Bank will make a donation directly to the school districts.

To get more information on how you can get a Spirit Debit Card and start helping your school, contact one of the Customer Service Representatives at The Murray Bank by calling (270) 753-5625, or by stopping by one of their three offices.

Carrie Duffy has been named the January Laker Champion for Kids. Duffy works as an instructional assistant at Calloway County Preschool. The Laker Champion for Kids is awarded each month to a Laker staff member who goes above and beyond for students and colleagues.

Duffy was nominated by CCPS principal Leisha Barlow, who wrote: 

“She is a tireless worker who goes above and beyond for the kids and parents at CCPS. She is always willing to help out and has a quiet, calm spirit about her. Besides her work in the classroom, she has subbed as a bus monitor and custodian for the school. Additionally, she translates for children and parents who speak Spanish which helps bridge the communication gap enabling us to meet the needs of all of our families."

CCPS teacher Gwenda Wilhelm is also impressed with Duffy's abilities at CCPS.

“It did not take long to know that we had found someone with a heart for educating students when she was hired," said Wilhelm. "When she walks into our classroom, each students face lights up knowing that she is going to make sure she acknowledges every single student in the room. She is constantly listening, learning, and observing teachers and students. She steps up to help without being asked and uses the teachable moment to help students learn and grow. She’s encouraging, always has a smile on her face, and a true Laker for Life. When we had an immediate need for a janitor in the building, she took over the job, keeping the building looking immaculate in just half the hours. Ms. Carrie takes pride in her work and will do anything assigned to her with a smile on her face.”

Pictured (L to R) are Director of PD/PR Ryan Marchetti, Superintendent Tres Settle, Duffy, Barlow, Wilhelm

 

Calloway County Board of Education member Mitch Ryan leads the non-profit group "Season's Readings" which gifts books to Kindergarten students at all Calloway County and Murray schools. Mr. Ryan's group lets students pick books of their own interest and gifts each student a bag with the books they have chosen. Mr. Ryan, along with CCHS students and Mr. Settle, visited East Calloway Elementary on December 9. Mr. Ryan plans to visit North on December 12 and Southwest on December 16.

Kady Arant was recently named the December Laker Champion for Kids. Arant works in payroll at the Calloway County BOE central office and is the head coach of CCHS softball and volleyball teams. The Laker Champion for Kids is awarded each month to a Laker staff member who goes above and beyond for students and colleagues.

Arant was nominated by Ryan Marchetti, who wrote:

"She is not only phenomenal in our finance department, but she is helpful to everyone in our office. She is an incredible softball coach and has led that team for many seasons. What especially makes her a champion was her willingness to take on the volleyball head coaching position this fall. She accepted the position, gathered support, and her kids had a great season when they really needed someone to step up. She took on this role only because she knew the kids and she wanted to make a great experience for them. And she did all of this while pregnant. Now, she is training someone else to do her job before she's out because she wants to keep things moving in our district. She is a rock star and deserves this recognition."

Pictured L to R: CCSD Director of Finance April Lax, Kady Arant, CCSD Assistant Superintendent Brian Wilmurth  

 

Fourteen members of the Calloway County Schools tech team were recognized with the Stilwell Award by the Kentucky Department of Education. Jody Rose from the Office of Education Technology presented the team with their awards at the board of education meeting on November 10.

The Stilwell Award is named after the late William "Bill" E. Stilwell, a longtime faculty member of the University of Kentucky’s College of Education who worked diligently throughout his career to improve Kentucky K-12 educators’ access to modern technology.

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is recognizing about 2,400 key education technology staff from Kentucky’s K-12 school districts and KDE's Office of Education Technology (OET) for their dedication and support of education technology during the COVID-19 pandemic from March 2020 to March 2022 by selecting them as recipients of the 2020-2022 Stilwell Award.

This award’s two-year time frame recognizes the unique circumstances that came from the pandemic and the crucial role technology staff and faculty played in supporting the Kentucky educational system.

“During those 24 months, Kentucky K-12 education technology staff not only survived but thrived in providing quality EdTech enabled products and services to Kentucky K-12 students, teachers and staff, across this entire state, amongst all the sudden demands, uncertainty and intensity going on during that timeframe,” said David Couch, associate commissioner in KDE’s Office of Education Technology.

Calloway County tech team members who received the award are: Melissa Spiceland, Emily Hearn, Mitch Hultman, Angie Jones, Aymee Herndon, Melissa Bouland, Laken Falwell, Stacy Jones, CJ Dial, Kim Barrett, Michael Haven, Pat Kilby, Eric Payton, and Stephen Conner.

Michelle Hansen was named the inaugural Laker Champion for Kids for August during a ceremony for all faculty and staff at CCHS on Opening Day. Hansen is the FRYSC coordinator at North and East. She is pictured with the Laker Championship Belt along with Superintendent Tres Settle.

The Champion for Kids award recognizes a Laker staff member that goes above and beyond for kids, is always willing to step up and help their colleagues, and someone we are always proud to call a Laker.

Hansen was nominated by East principal Monica Boggess who wrote, "Our students are blessed to have her. She is always willing to stop whatever she is doing to meet the needs of our students and families. Our families look to her for support and trust her intentions when it comes to their needs. She is invaluable to our schools."