Exciting Happenings in the NKCES Grants Consortium!


Literacy Grants will support improvements in preschool-grade 12 literacy programming at NKCES Grants Consortium schools in Bellevue Independent, Southgate Independent, and Williamstown Independent Schools, thanks to $1.3 million in Striving Readers grants for those schools announced this week. Congratulations to the grants teams in these districts. Watch for big things happening there over the next couple years!

Students who are homeless in NKCES Grants Consortium schools in Covington, Newport, Dayton, Bellevue, and Southgate will benefit from more than $725,000 in funding over the next three years to provide supports that will help them succeed in school. Congratulations to these districts and their great grants teams! Congrats to Campbell County Schools for their grant, too!

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Voices from the Classroom: Reflecting on a teacher’s role- I find meaning in “To Kill a Mockingbird” (Ludlow High School)

Voices from the Classroom: Reflecting on a teacher’s role — I find meaning in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird

By Chris Wright
Ludlow High School

Lately there has been a national debate regarding what roles our teachers ultimately play in our schools. It is difficult to turn on the television and not find a hot button issue regarding our schools being dissected from virtually all angles. One common theme that continually arises: What is the teacher’s role beyond that of a deliverer of the curriculum?

To truly understand the answer to this question, we must understand what our curriculum is.  As a high school English teacher, my curriculum starts with an understanding of state standards designed to equip students with skills needed for college and career readiness in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  What does this mean exactly?  It means that we read, write, speak, and listen our way through an incredibly broad variety of text types.

In my view, educators cannot be great at what they do without being constantly reflective regarding their profession. With this in mind, I am continuously evaluating and re-evaluating what types of texts are most appropriate to my students and their particular needs.  One such text that I have recently found myself evaluating is Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

“Mockingbird” has recently been panned by some critics for being out of touch and no longer relevant to the students in our schools. Taking a page from my own teaching standards, I’ve decided to examine some of the “Key Ideas and Details” of the novel, particularly some of the important quotations.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

It has occurred to me that there are those who would scoff at the idea that one of the primary sets of standards an English teacher would be charged with teaching would be listening.  The ability to listen, it would seem, should come as natural and involuntary to us as being able to breathe. Turn on one of the television shows I mentioned earlier where men and women “debate” the important issues.  Analyze the way the debate unfolds. Generally, are the participants truly listening to each other or are they rushing to get a rebuttal that fits with their own world view and what they believe to be right?

When we live in a society where it is generally accepted that we don’t legitimately listen to each other, we will never develop the empathy required to truly understand worldviews different than our own.  Working together to come up with creative solutions to our problems will become increasingly difficult. Students must be taught to listen. They must be trained to consider that we all have different points of view. They must realize that everyone is entitled to their point of view, and that they should never dismiss another’s view as invalid because it is different.

Students do not need to be forced to waffle in their conviction; on the contrary, students should learn to have their conviction shaped through a true understanding of other viewpoints, an appreciation that is acceptable and necessary to fully understand where others are coming from and why they think the way that they do.

“Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.”

Considering the digital age that we live in, there are a far greater number of sources of information available to us than at any other point in human history.  One particular phrase has played to many people’s insecurities regarding how we delineate facts from our news.  While this has come more and more to the forefront in recent years, English teaching standards have long called for students to be able to identify false statements and fallacious reasoning in informational texts.

In my class, we always have a discussion about what Atticus’ idea of deleting adjectives means.  We evaluate ways that a writer might use hyperbole in an attempt to strengthen his or her case.  We also discuss ways that this may be detrimental to the author’s own cause as they potentially discredit their own points by spreading false and exaggerated information.  Atticus was teaching his daughter to be mindful of confusing commentary with fact, a lesson that is as important as ever as students learn to decipher information and move toward voting age.

“I wanted you to see what real courage is….It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.  You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

In evaluating this particular quotation, I often wonder if this is the most important idea that I teach. Regardless of where you stand on a teacher’s role in any number of issues, there is a truth to the fact that teachers only have a finite amount of time with our students before they move on. We all face a day when we will no longer be considered students and are forced to face the “real world”.  What is the “real world”? From one point of view, the “real world” is a series of successes and adversities that we must deal with.

To offer full confession, I often find myself hoping that I have done my part to help students develop the skills needed to deal with these adversities. These are the moments that I truly appreciate what my role is as a teacher. I understand how critical it is to use the teaching standards to help students learn the skills necessary to find success in whatever they choose to do after they have left the classroom, left the title of student behind.

How do I do this this?  By not only connecting with them, but by connecting them with the texts that demonstrate what those life skills are.  As I evaluated To Kill a Mockingbird I realized that the book, for my classroom and my students’ needs, is far from irrelevant; in fact, my students need the lessons of a text like this now more than ever.

Chris Wright is a teacher at Ludlow High School.

Highlands High School Student Earns Perfect Score on ACT

Highlands Student Earns Perfect Score on ACT

Highlands High School junior William B. earned a perfect score of 36 on the ACT exam. Nationally, less than one-tenth of 1% of all students who take the ACT earn a score of 36.

Will initially took the ACT in April 2016, at the end of his sophomore year, and earned a score of 35. Although happy with that score, he stated that “the perfectionist in me wouldn’t be satisfied until I reached the perfect score.” Taking the test again last December, Will achieved his goal of scoring a 36 on the ACT, with perfect scores on all sections of the test.

The ACT is required for all high school juniors as part of the annual state assessment, so even though Will has “aced” the ACT, he is required take it again this spring.

Will’s thirst for academic challenge is evident throughout his high school career as his schedule in both his freshman and sophomore years included an early bird class that added an extra class period to his school day. Additionally, his schedules have included Advanced Placement (AP) classes, beginning with one his freshman year, two his sophomore year and four this year, as well as a dual credit (DC) class.

As for his senior year at Highlands this coming fall, Will’s requested schedule of classes includes early bird AP literature, AP statistics, AP physics, AP calculus BC, AP biology, AP government, and AP Spanish – and he plans to add DC Japanese as an 8th period on his own time outside of the school day.

Though currently undecided on a specific career field or university, Will says he is “fairly certain that it will have to do with science, be it physics, genetic engineering, chemical engineering, or something else.”

“We are very proud of Will and his performance on the ACT,” said Laura Schnitzler, Highlands High School guidance counselor. “He works hard every day and is a model student.  Will’s work ethic and desire to learn are exemplary.”

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1–36, and a student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores. Some students also take the optional ACT writing test, but the score for that test is reported separately and is not included within the ACT Composite score.

ACT test scores are accepted by all major US colleges. Exceptional scores of 36 provide colleges with evidence of student readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.

Ludlow Welcomes XU Coach Chris Mack!


We are proud to announce that Mary A. Goetz Elementary is the first NKY recipient of a Coach Mack Reading Corner!  Xavier University Basketball Coach Chris Mack, and his family run The Mack Family Foundation.  The foundation is installing this awesome reading corner in the elementary library for students to enjoy!  The corner will be decorated with large wall coverings, new carpet, bookshelves, benches, chairs, beanbags — and best of all — 600 new books for students to read!  Coach Mack, and his wife, Christi, will be at Ludlow on Tuesday, February 27th for the ribbon cutting of Coach Mack’s Reading Corner!

Special thank to Ludlow Alumnus, Eric Redfield, and his wife, Amy, from Camporosso Pizza, who generously fundraised for this special literacy project for the Mack Family Foundation.  We also appreciate the support of Cintas, who will give a special item to each student on Tuesday to make their day extra special.  Thanks also to Houghton-Mifflin and Prolanthropy for their help with Coach Mack’s Reading Corner!

Thank you to all for this wonderful gift for the children of Ludlow!  Kudos to you for giving back to your community!


FREE EVENT: School Safety- A Sandy Hook Perspective

School Safety – A Sandy Hook Perspective

February 21, 2018

8:30 am – 11:30 am

Newport High School Auditorium 

900 East 6th Street
Newport, KY 41071

Come hear from Alissa Parker as she shares her story and inspires you toward practical ways to improve school safety.

Also hear from NaviGate Prepared and learn how school districts are using technology to streamline safety tasks and enhance preparedness.

To register visit www.nkces.org/events-pd/


NKCES Welcomes Mr. Joe Bertucci

Press Release:

Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services (NKCES) would like to welcome Mr. Joe Bertucci.


Mr. Joe Bertucci, Arts Integration Manager

Northern Kentucky Institute for Arts Education will bring teachers together to collaborate, across the curriculum and with community arts providers, on the design and implementation of arts-integrated lessons.

The research is clear: integrating the arts with other subject areas results in engaging, dynamic lessons that reach and challenge all students. Successful arts integration begins with professional development, bringing teachers of the arts and teachers of other content areas together to collaborate.


With the launch of the Northern Kentucky Institute for Arts Education, that collaboration begins for 120 teachers in our region.

Funded by a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, NKIAE will provide professional development, and a comprehensive system of support, to guide educators in arts integration and encourage interdisciplinary leaders in Northern Kentucky schools.

“Teachers of arts and other disciplines will work together each year to develop units that combine content from the arts and other subject areas, creating lessons that meet the needs of students, validate the arts, and build high-order thinking skills in our classrooms,” said Joe Bertucci, Project Manager for NKIAE.

This new collaborative effort will be managed by the Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services’ Grants Consortium, working together with the Ludlow Independent School District, to implement the project. Significant support will also come from community arts partners, including: The Carnegie, Greater Cincinnati Alliance for Arts Education, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Arts Association, NKU School of the Arts, and the Contemporary Arts Center.

Reaching students in need, the Federal program is extended to teachers at schools with 50% or more students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. Additional school district partners may come from Bellevue Independent Schools, Boone County Schools, Bracken County Schools, Covington Independent Public Schools, Dayton Independent Schools, Erlanger-Elsmere Schools, Newport Independent Schools, Pendleton County Schools, Silver Grove Independent Schools, Southgate Independent Schools, and Williamstown Independent Schools.

For more information, contact:

Joe Bertucci, Arts Integration Manager

Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services




February Board of Directors Meeting

Just a reminder there is no Board of Directors Meeting for the month of February.  The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 14th at 10:00 AM.

Please call NKCES at 859-442-8600 with any further questions!

Carter Beck, a future Beechwood Tiger, a big citizen in Ft. Mitchell where he has ideas on safety

Carter Beck may just be 5-years-old, but he’s a big citizen in Ft. Mitchell where he has ideas on safety

By Vicki Prichard
NKyTribune reporter

Next fall, five-year-old Carter Beck will attend Beechwood Elementary, and when he does he wants to make sure that he and his classmates are walking along a safe road to school.

“I’m going to Beechwood next year, so I came up with an idea: Can we make a tunnel?” says Carter.

Carter’s parents, Acena and Aaron Beck, say that the subject of street safety became a topic of conversation in their home after a child was struck while crossing the street near Beechwood Elementary last fall. The child wasn’t hurt, but the accident alerted city officials and residents to examine traffic and safety along the road.








“Carter and Acena were discussing the Beechwood Elementary student that was hit by a car in late fall,” says Aaron Beck. “Acena was bringing his attention to the need to be cautious of cars and crossing streets. Carter thought the solution would be to put a tunnel under Beechwood Road, similar to the tunnel under Dixie Highway to Blessed Sacrament, to ensure the safety of students crossing the road to school. She told Carter he should tell the mayor his plan.”

Carter, who currently attends Northern Kentucky Montessori Academy, shared his idea with his neighbor, a Fort Mitchell City Councilman.

“A few weeks ago, Mike Stoeckle was walking his dog and stopped to talk to us,” says Acena Beck. “I told Carter Mike knew the mayor and he should tell Mike his plan so Mike could tell the Mayor. Mike said he would get Carter on the agenda to speak to Council.”

The thought of going in front of city council might seem daunting to some, but Carter was no stranger to civic engagement.

Beck says their family has always been involved in community, political, and civic engagements, and Carter has attended events since he was a baby. He thoughtfully presented his ideas for safe traffic solutions to the Fort Mitchell City Council.

“Carter charmed the City Council and all guests present with his presentation of his idea to make the intersection of Beechwood Road and the railroad safer, by having one go over or under the other,” says Carter’s neighbor and friend, Col Owens. “Amazingly, he answered the Mayor’s questions in a straightforward fashion, without hesitation. I’ve seen many presentations to policy-making bodies like the City Council, and Carter’s was as comprehensible as most of them, if not more so.”

Carter sat next to Fort Mitchell Mayor, Jude Hehman, as he gave his presentation.

“He owns the city,” says Carter.

Hehman was impressed with the civic-minded young man, and his effort to find solutions to a very real issue.

“It’s not very often we have someone that young and ambitious attend and approach council,” says Hehman. “To recognize that Carter sees that there’s an issue with safety and pedestrians along our city streets is a lesson that we can learn from. This is an area that is near and dear to the heart of Mary Burns who is a current City Council Member. I’ve been helping Mary by applying for grants to offset some costs in the area that Carter is identifying near the railroad tracks.”

Aaron Beck says his son also has a plan for other sections of Beechwood Road.

“Carter also has a plan for the train tracks to raise up on a bridge on Beechwood Road just past Grandview Drive to allow cars drive through the intersection.”

Carter says someday he’ll run for political office, but for now he’ll focus on helping his city council find solutions in the community, and he looks forward to campaigning for his friend, Owens, who is making a bid for the Kentucky House of Representatives 69th District seat.

“I’m going to walk for Col,” says Carter, who plans to go door-to-door and walk in summer parades on behalf of Owens.

Daily News Show Produced by 5th Grade Student Teams- Williamstown Elementary