Janay Futrell

Janay Futrell, Trigg County High School guidance counselor, explains to the school board Thursday night the benefits of rescheduling graduation to May 17. Futrell said the extra time will enable her to tally all of the Class of 2021 grades to determine honor graduates.

Trigg County High School students in the Class of 2021 will now don their caps and gowns for graduation on May 17.

The Trigg County School Board voted Thursday to change the ceremony date to allow time to calculate final grades and determine honor graduates.

Several students are enrolled in classes at Hopkinsville Community College; however, HCC does not have to have final grades turned in until May 11, explained Janay Futrell, TCHS guidance counselor.

“The time factor to get all of those inputted (into the system) and to figure out who all the graduates are is just too tight,” Superintendent Bill Thorpe told the board. “They have requested us to look at an alternative date for graduation.”

The board had originally set graduation for May 13.

“I generally have a two to five-day turnaround,” Futrell said. “I’ve got over 100 students with multiple enrollments. Once we get the grades, I have to hand-enter all of those.”

Futrell said it takes her several days to review each transcript to verify all 28 credits.

“We could do a graduation ceremony (on May 13), but we wouldn’t have any honor graduates (because) we wouldn’t know who they are,” she told the board.

Futrell said moving graduation to May 17 would give her enough time to enter grades into the system and to analyze all of the transcripts.

Futrell noted that there are more than 50 Class of 2020 graduates who have confirmed they want to participate in their own in-person graduation ceremony. Last year’s in-person milestone event fell victim to COVID-19.

The board voted for back-to-back graduations for both classes on May 17. The Class of 2020’s graduation will begin at 6 p.m., followed by this year’s class at 8 p.m. Futrell estimated that two-hour time spread would give organizers time to clean in between each event per COVID-19 safety precautions.

For those who do not attend in person, the ceremonies will be broadcast on the school website.

The Class of 2021 has set Baccalaureate services for May 12. Scholarship day is set for May 13.

In other business, the board also:

•Heard a report from Brian Futrell, Trigg County Intermediate School principal, about the school’s January second round of STAR testing for reading and math.

Futrell said about 55% of the students achieved mastery in reading, with 50% in third grade and 65% in fourth and 50% in fifth.

“Math assessment, we had 60% as a school that achieved mastery,” he said.

Futrell said third grade had a high score with 63%, fourth grade — 60% and 56% in fifth grade.

He noted that math results are usually lower than reading scores, but said many students are not in school reading book series they normally use, interacting one-on-one with teachers and small groups.

“STAR is given all across the nation so it’s a pretty reliable assessment,” he said.

Futrell said students who are educated virtually were instructed to take the test at home. About 100 students are enrolled in virtual instruction.

“The virtual teachers worked that out with them and their parents to set that up,” he said.

Since mid-February, Futrell noted that there have been seven teachers who offer after school tutoring for 36 students divided into small groups on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The students who needed extra help with reading and math were selected by the staff.

“Our kids are coming. The kids love it,” he said.

With COVID, Futrell said 2020-21 has been a challenging school year.

“It’s my 18th year in administration and I can say this, I’ve never had a year like this,” he said. “It’s been a challenge, but we made it happen. We’re down to 30 days.”

•Heard a COVID case report from Thorpe, noting that the Trigg County Primary School has been hit hard. He said the school’s count has dropped from 90 to 75 in quarantine.

•Heard comments from Thorpe about Kentucky Senate Bill 128, which was signed into law by Gov. Andy Beshear.

The bill would allow public and private high school students currently enrolled to request to use the 2021-2022 school year as a supplemental school year to retake and supplement coursework already completed. It requires local boards of education to either approve or deny all requests.

Thorpe explained that any student who is not 19 before Aug. 1 and in any grade can request to do this supplemental school year, in order to play sports.

“We have to decide by June 1 as a board if we want to do it or not,” he said. “Any student that wants to participate in this must inform us by May 1.”

The bill also allows for Kentucky High School Athletic Association student-athletes a fifth year of eligibility.

“The KHSAA and written into law said they cannot move and play sports,” Thorpe said. “That is one positive.”

Thorpe said Trigg County is not obligated to participate.

“We do not have to do it,” he said. “We can decide as a board not to do that in the Trigg County district.”

The school board plans to discuss Senate Bill 128 at a future meeting.

•Heard comments from Thorpe about Kentucky House Bill 563, which provides tax credits for educational opportunities and opens district boundaries.

“Public money for private schools,” Thorpe told the board. “This (bill) is not good for public education.”

The bill was vetoed by Gov. Beshear, however, state lawmakers voted on Monday to override the veto.

Board attorney Jack Lackey said if the state legislature is going to create school choice this way and allow public money to go to private schools, changes need to be made.

“They need to allow the public school systems some flexibility operationally that private schools have,” he said. “Like the crazy limitations on how you can affect who you pay what. That’s got to be part of the equation because public schools can’t compete. We’re hamstrung.”

•Voted to approve renewing the student insurance through K&K Insurance Group.

•Voted to approve the 2021-22 salary schedule which includes a 1% pay raise across the board. Holly Greene, chief financial officer, said no raise was given in 2020-21. Greene noted that some changes have been made to the Rank 3 salary table to bring it more in line with other school districts.

•Voted to waive the attendance requirements for the Work Ready Seal and Honor Graduates. There were 37 honor graduates in 2020-21 and officials expect around the same this year.

•Voted to cancel the April 8 board meeting because of spring break.

•Voted to cancel its May 13 meeting.

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