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Kentucky Innovative Learning Network exhibition showcases student-centered learning

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Kentucky Innovative Learning Network exhibition showcases student-centered learning


Nikki Jolly, an art teacher at Metcalfe County Middle School and a 2024 Kentucky Innovative Teacher Fellowship member, presents her work on project-based learning in her classroom during the Kentucky Innovative Learning Network Exhibition and Learning on June 7 at the Hardin County Early College and Career Center. Photo by Joe Ragusa, Kentucky Department of Education, June 7, 2024

(ELIZABETHTOWN, KY) – The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) hosted the second-annual Kentucky Innovative Learning Network (KY ILN) Exhibition of Innovation and Learning at the Hardin County Early College and Career Center on June 7.

The event, sponsored by KDE’s Division of Innovation, showcased the work of educators in 18 districts.

KY ILN is a partnership between local school districts and KDE, providing a shared professional learning space for education leaders dedicated to furthering the United We Learn vision: creating vibrant learning experiences, accelerating innovation and building a bold new future with communities.

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Rob Collins, innovative programs consultant in the KDE Division of Innovation, said the exhibition was the culmination of a year’s worth of work and effort.

“There’s something about the atmosphere that’s electric; seeing folks who really care about the future of education and making it more student-centered,” he said. “When they get together and they get to collaborate and improve one another’s work and you can see them making connections that they’re going to pull on later, it’s really special.”

District leaders and teachers showcased the work they’ve done through poster displays and formal presentations with school leaders from other districts.

“(The KY ILN is) really offering feedback on those efforts so that they can improve right into the next year,” said Collins.

Nikki Jolly, a member of the 2024 KY ILN Innovative Teacher Fellowship program from Metcalfe County Middle School, worked on project-based learning in her art class, directing students to create an art piece that helped tell the story of Metcalfe County.

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“The students were just immersed into all different things Metcalfe County,” she said. “They came up with an interest and then researched it, created an art piece with it, an artist statement, and then they were able to present it at their exhibition.”

Jolly said she had been working as a special education teacher for 12 years before teaching art at the middle school this past school year. She pursued the KY ILN Innovative Teacher Fellowship to connect and collaborate with other teachers.

“It really did pay off,” said Jolly. “I had a lot of good people that I worked with, colleagues that were able to help me.”

The day started with student-led tours of the Hardin County Early College and Career Center, which serves students in the county by giving them the opportunity to explore their interests and get hands-on, in-depth instruction in several career and technical education (CTE) pathways.

“We’re very excited about what we’re able to do here in this building,” said Dan Robbins, principal of the center. “And our big focus here is all around postsecondary readiness.”

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Hardin County district leaders work with Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, Western Kentucky University, Sullivan University and many local businesses to bolster the center’s offerings.

Interim Commissioner of Education Robin Fields Kinney toured the career center and opened the exhibition, thanking the educators who participate in the KY ILN for their efforts.

“We are so fortunate that we have people that are working in this space: being innovative, being creative and being good examples for others,” she said. “We are looking for each and every child in the Commonwealth to have the opportunities that you all are already providing in some form or fashion.”

The Kentucky Student Voice Team (KSVT) also joined the exhibition and led the group in an interactive keynote activity.

Part of the activity involved asking teachers how much they felt like they were heard as students, with most indicating some level of being overlooked as a student. Other activities exemplified the work of the KSVT, which aims to bolster the role of students and young people in education research, policy and storytelling.

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Collins said work being done in the districts and the feedback provided through the KY ILN will continue to strengthen education in Kentucky.

“We are an innovative network, so we’re always reinventing,” he said.



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Kentucky

Jim Caldwell's Forecast | Steam keeps Heat Index high across Kentucky

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Jim Caldwell's Forecast | Steam keeps Heat Index high across Kentucky


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – Another sticky day for folks across Kentucky.

A familiar summer pattern will continue to affect Kentucky, bringing heat and humidity to the region. While the temperatures themselves are not extraordinary, the humidity will make it feel significantly hotter.

Temperature Outlook

  • Highs will hover around 90°, slightly above the normal mid-80s (29°C) for this time of year.
  • The heat index, which takes into account the humidity, will make it feel like 95-100°.

Precipitation and Storms

  • Scattered showers and storms may develop, particularly during the first part of the weekend.
  • These storms can produce quick, heavy rain and gusty winds similar to those experienced yesterday.

Relief in Sight

  • A cold front is expected to move through early next week, bringing a return to normal temperatures and humidity levels.
  • However, another surge of heat is likely to follow, continuing the typical summer pattern.

Stay Cool and Hydrated!

Remember to take necessary precautions to stay safe in the heat: stay hydrated, seek shade or air conditioning when needed, and check on vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and young children.

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Mark Pope shares his approach to continuing Kentucky's success in the NBA Draft

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Mark Pope shares his approach to continuing Kentucky's success in the NBA Draft


49 Kentucky players were drafted into the NBA during the John Calipari era. Despite having a couple of guards in Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham expected to hear their names called early later this summer — has the Wildcats’ NBA Draft tradition left with Calipari to Arkansas?

According to new head coach Mark Pope, he doesn’t think so.

“It’s been a mainstay of Kentucky basketball since the beginning of time,” Pope told local reporters. “I mean, my senior season (1996) we won a national championship and we had nine guys for that team going into play at least seven years in the NBA. Nine — that’s 75 percent if my math is right, so this brilliant relationship between Kentucky basketball and the NBA is something that’s been long-standing and I think it’s vital and important.”

Calipari had a first-round draft choice in every year that he was head coach in Lexington. Before that, Kentucky produced just six draft choices from 2000-2009. That group included legends of the program in Jodie Meeks, Rajon Rondo and Tayshaun Prince, but pales in comparison to what came after.

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However, the NBA was very kind to UK in the 80s and 90s, seeing 29 Wildcats — including Pope in 1996 — hear their name called in the draft over those two decades.

“For us, it’s a manifestation of the success that we have here,” Pope continued, alluding to the eight national titles UK has won under five different head coaches across all eras of college basketball. “When you see teams win, and win at the highest level — it’s because they have good players and those players become great. Players that become great have a chance to play.

“Our relationship with the NBA — if we do well and our guys do well — it will continue in massive earnest, clearly like it did with Cal. Like it did with Tubby [Smith], with coach [Rick Pitino, Joe B. [Hall]. Hopefully we will continue down that road because it’s a really important part of what we do.”

It will be tough to surpass the 50+ former Kentucky players that Calipari will ultimately have drafted by the beginning of next season.

Mark Pope will look to keep the tradition going as Kentucky moves forward with its new head coach. As for year one, he has put together a team full of college veterans. Whether their game will carry over to the NBA isn’t as easy to predict as one of Calipari’s five-star recruits, but Pope’s squad will likely still get looks from NBA scouts simply from the name on the front of the jersey alone.

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Federal crackdown on silica dust begins as mining experts highlight impact to Kentucky workers

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Federal crackdown on silica dust begins as mining experts highlight impact to Kentucky workers


After a years-long rule-making process at the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), coal mines will have to keep workers safe from toxic silica dust by lowering the legal exposure limit from 100 micrograms to 50 micrograms over an 8-hour work shift.

Experts have long-known that silica dust is causing a surge in the incurable black lung disease among central Appalachian coal miners. It’s caused as miners inhale bits of the rock that’s being pulverized to get to harder-to-reach coal seams.

“You want to know what it’s like to have black lung?” John Robinson, a former miner battling the disease asked at a roundtable discussion in Louisville on Monday. “Grab your pillow off your bed, go outside, and get your push mower going in your yard.”

Other industries who extract things like metal, sand and gravel will also need to comply with the silica standards. For the first time ever, they’ll also be required to X-ray workers’ lungs. Those X-rays will be stored in a database managed by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

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Those industries have said they don’t see the same epidemic coal has with black lung, but regulators hypothesize that’s because they don’t look.

“My guess is, that when we go looking for a problem, when we go looking at these miners and their chest films, we’re probably going to see silica in those lungs,” NIOSH researcher Scott Laney said.

U.S. Representative Morgan McGarvey hosted Monday’s roundtable in Louisville with federal experts discussing the impact of the rule. There are no active coal mines in his district, but he is the only Democrat in Kentucky’s congressional delegation.

Officials have lauded the Biden administration for the measure, which was promised but undelivered in multiple previous administrations.

“I’ve always considered myself, yes, representing my district, but also being a representative of our state,” McGarvey said. “When you talk about the safety of our workers, to me, that’s never been a political issue.”

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McGarvey’s office said the lawmaker wanted to learn from federal experts about what is needed “to ensure effective implementation and enforcement of this rule.”

One thing that might make it difficult to implement and enforce? A flat budget at the federal mine agency. Congress recently denied a $50 million budget increase for more mine inspections and more silica dust sampling.

“We just need to help get MSHA more money to help enforce this,” National Black Lung Association Vice President Vonda Robinson said. “They need more guys to go out and help, to be able to enforce this.”

MSHA Assistant Secretary Chris Williamson speaks at a press conference on Monday in Louisville.

“MSHA has had flat budgets for, I don’t know how many years now,” MSHA Assistant Secretary Chris Williamson said at a panel earlier in June. “You’re talking about people because in almost every federal agency, the cost driver is personnel. We will do the best we can with what we’re given to work with, but it will remain a priority.”

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Appalachian advocacy groups have criticized the measure for largely relying on companies to accurately self-report high silica dust samples. They say it gives companies “every incentive to continue cheating and hiding dangers” and compared it to letting a “fox guard the hen house.”

Williamson has repeatedly promised that any companies caught cheating on the silica testing and reporting requirements will be dealt with severely.

Meanwhile, the silica rule is facing two separate legal challenges from mining industry associations. They’re asking federal judges to analyze the rule for its legality.

“Worker safety and health is a core value of our association, but unfortunately, this rule has missed the mark,” National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association CEO & President Michael Johnson said in a written statement. “MSHA’s crystalline silica rule includes provisions that were not included in the proposed rule, for which we were not provided the opportunity to comment, as required by law.”

Although companies are expected to begin lower silica dust levels now, enforcement will begin in April 2025 for coal companies and 2026 for non-coal.

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State government and politics reporting is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.





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