Kentucky school districts win major federal grant


by Gene Kang

Posted on August 26, 2013 at 6:41 PM

SIMPSONVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It's not every day Governor Steve Beshear visits your school to talk about a multi-million dollar grant, while giving students high fives.

Simpsonville 5th grader, Lauren Owens, had an opportunity of a lifetime shaking hands with Governor Beshear.

"It was fun it was neat to shake his hand and say hi and thank you for coming," Owens said.

Owens dreams of being a teacher like her mother. A brighter future made possible by a $41 million grant to hire college/career counselors and teacher coaches while buying new technology.

"More than half of the almost 60,000 students in these 22 kid-friendly school districts live in these rural and sometimes impoverished areas. A third of these students demonstrate risk factors linked to academic failure," Governor Beshear said.

Simpsonville Elementary School in Shelby County hosted the meeting of the minds. 5th grade teacher Shelley Lagrange looks forward to improvements for kindergarten readiness.

"When they enter kindergarten and they're not ready then that just continues to compound as they get older and some of them never catch up," Lagrange said.

The U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top grant means 22 Kentucky school districts including Shelby, Spencer, Trimble and Henry counties will be armed with resources to improve grades and student achievement.

For these young minds, that means a higher percentage will graduate high school and college and enter professional life. But for today, meeting the governor was enough excitement to last a lifetime.

4th grader, Jamison Dattilo, said: "It was cool to have your governor come to your school to have a press conference. He picked out school out of all the schools in Shelby County."

3rd grader, Stella Wakeman, said: "It was awesome!"

These 22 Kentucky school districts were part of 61 finalists from across the country that won grants:

Adair County Schools

Campbellsville Independent Schools

Carroll County Schools

Caverna Independent Schools

Cloverport Independent Schools

Daviess County Schools

Green County Schools

Hart County Schools

Henry County Schools

Logan County Schools

Metcalfe County Schools

Monroe County Schools

Owen County Schools

Owensboro Independent Schools

Russell County Schools

Shelby County Schools

Simpson County Schools

Spencer County Schools

Taylor County Schools

Trimble County Schools

Union County Schools

West Point Independent Schools