All too often, we forget to say thanks for a job well done.
I want to remedy that by recognizing Floyd County’s schools. The hard work being done by our students and staff and the leadership from Superintendent Henry Webb are making a true difference that will pay dividends for decades to come.
As the district’s recent annual report shows, our schools have covered a tremendous amount of ground during Superintendent Webb’s tenure. In just the last year, the college and/or career readiness of our high school students has gone up dramatically, and our district’s rank among Kentucky’s 174 districts is on the verge of joining the top 50. That is well above where we were in 2005, when the district was 145th. Surely few districts, if any, have come so far so fast.
These gains are even more impressive in light of where our school district was years ago when the Department of Education saw fit to overtake its operations and provide us with a superintendent not of our choice. The result of this action was that the district continued to under-perform.
The lesson from this is clear: Great things can be achieved when we have a local and dedicated superintendent who loves living and working here.
I have always said that you don’t have to go out of Kentucky to run Kentucky’s institutions, and you obviously don’t have to go out of Floyd County to find someone to run our schools the way they should be run.
I think it speaks volumes about Superintendent Webb and our teachers that as far as they have come, they are not satisfied with the results. They are doing the planning and the work it takes to improve even more.
That dedication and foresight are crucial as our region looks ahead to the future. Like a magnet, a well-educated population will draw economic development and raise our quality of life. Our teachers are there on the front line to make sure that happens.
Just last week, state officials underscored the importance of doing well in school and pursuing a college degree. This report found that 60 percent of those graduating from high school in 2011, 2012 and 2013 – but who did not go on to college – earned only $8,000 in their first year in Kentucky’s workforce. That’s only about $150 a week.
Our community is fortunate to have great postsecondary opportunities, but I want to emphasize that I am still committed to bringing a public four-year university here in the mountains. That one move, which I think Kentucky can easily afford, would give our students the opportunity they deserve to pursue their bachelor’s degree close to home.
For now, that’s another challenge for another day. In the meantime, let us take a moment to look back with pride on what our teachers, administrators, staff and students have done as they ready for another school year. Don’t hesitate to thank them if you have the chance, because they deserve it.