Each October, the Lyon County Board of Education holds a joint meeting with the elementary, middle, and high school Site Based Decision Making (SBDM) councils to get an update on each school, and make the board aware of any needs or concerns the schools have. This year's meeting was held Monday night, prior to the Board of Education's regular monthly meeting.

Each SBDM council is made up of that school's principal and a group of teachers and parents.

The first to report at the joint meeting was high school Principal Tom Radivonyk. He told the board he recently spent a school day shadowing a student, and it opened up his eyes to some needs in the high school he hadn't before seen.

One of the issues he discovered was the need for more focus on teaching students digital literacy; including things like email, keyboarding, and other technology basics. With the school's one-to-one Chromebook initiative that began this year, each middle and high schooler now has access to their own laptop, but he said the students' immense experience with handheld devices hasn't completely translated to the computers' use.

While they are exploring ways to introduce more digital literacy into their curriculum, Radivonyk said one immediate step they are going to take is hosting mini-lessons on the subject on some of the school's club days.

He also said the school is continuing their literacy push to ensure all students are meeting reading and writing standards. To help with this, they have implemented a reading buddy program, where some high school students go read to elementary schoolers, and are continuing their "Drop Everything and Read" initiative, among other things.

Radivonyk said many of the high school's current needs are facility-based. He stated the building's windows present safety and efficiency concerns, and also referenced issues with heating and air, lockers, and the safety of the area near the Ag shop. While beautification work on the school's entryway and the entrance area to the gym are on his wishlist, he expressed the safety-related concerns needed the most attention.

Middle school Principal Drew Taylor began his report by agreeing with Radivonyk that there needs to be a push to increase students' digital literacy, both for the purpose of helping them be more effective with the Chromebooks, and for their future.

Taylor also spoke about the middle school's five-star score under Kentucky's new school rating system, and discussed some of the ways the school has worked to target students who need more help than others. He said the flexibility of their eight-period day allows them more room to move students around and tweak their schedules to provide academic intervention in subject areas where each child struggles.

He also credited the school's success in-part to the "phenomenal" culture in the building, and touted the teachers' contribution to their high scores.

"Credit goes to where the rubber meets the road," Taylor said, "and that's in the classroom."

Elementary school Pincipal Amy Perdue discussed the growth the school showed in their K-PREP scores from the previous year, and the ways they're working to keep those scores moving in the right direction.

One of the biggest areas of growth they've seen has been in kindergarten readiness. Perdue said in prior years, only about half of new kindergarteners would come to them on level. This year, however, that score jumped to 80 percent.

On that topic, parent SBDM representative Rebecca Pagan, who approached the board last year and expressed the community's need for more childcare when Rivers Bend daycare closed, said she believes the Lyon Cubs Daycare program has influenced the bump in kindergarten readiness.

Lyon Cubs, which the school began about a year ago, offers care for half-day preschoolers, after-school care for students through fifth grade, and has a summer program, as well.

Other things that have been implemented in the elementary school to encourage growth include reading and math interventionists, a new guided reading program, and tweaks to math and writing curriculum.

The regular Board of Education meeting, which followed the SBDM joint meeting, began with the recognition of the LCMS baseball team, who were the regular season one-seed and tournament runners-up, and the LCHS girls soccer team, who were this year's Fifth District champions.

Superintendent Russ Tilford also recognized freshman golfer Cathryn Brown for her school-record 12th place finish at the All-A Classic and KHSAA State Golf Tournament.

Robin Hurst reviewed the schools' assessment results with the board before handing the floor over to Radivonyk for the principal's report.

Radivonyk introduced Lyon County High School students Allye Culp and Nellie Walker, who shared their experience attending the FCCLA Capital Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., September 27 through October 2.

Culp and Walker recounted their tour of the White House and trips to D.C. monuments and museums, and shared a PowerPoint of photos, before discussing the conference itself. During the conference, they had the chance to meet with government officials to encourage their support of Perkins Funding (U.S. government grant funding that is allocated for career and technical programs), Family and Consumer Sciences, and Career and Technical education.

The Lyon County Board of Education meets the third Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the District Conference Center. Their next regular meeting will be November 18.