WCHS class played host to special guest

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By Jesse Osbourne


Washington County High School’s Early College program played host to a special guest from Washington D.C. on Wednesday of last week. 

Dr. Mariana Haynes, a senior fellow at Alliance for Excellent Education, stopped by to learn about Kentucky’s secondary education intiatives, which included Washington County High School’s Early College program. 

Haynes was joined by Cindy Parker, a literacy coordinator with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). 

Parker, a former Washington County High School teacher, was there as the Gates grant project manager from KDE. She was visiting grant sites to meet with district personnel to discuss their work and needs pertaining to the grant. 

“What stood out about Washington County is the coordination by district and school leadership so that the multiple initiatives are coordinated and seamless, not disjointed or conflicting,” Parker said. “I was also impressed by Washington County High School’s focus on meeting the needs of students and desire to help them connect learning to their goals and aspirations.”

Haynes said in an email interview that she looked at how the school accelerated learning opportunities for underserved students, the nature of the teacher-student interaction and how learning was personalized to reflect students’ interests and aspirations, among many other things.

“The purpose of my visit to Washington County High School was to look at the design and implementation of literacy instruction aligned to the English language arts common core state standards,” Haynes said.

She and Parker visited Danielle Burke’s English class. 

“I observed an exemplary teacher—Danielle Burke—who facilitated peer-to-peer interaction and feedback regarding students’ identification of the central themes and sources of evidence from a range of literary text,” Haynes said. “What was noteworthy was that the students ‘got’ why this was important, and could verbalize with their peers the specific strategies that allowed them to become more self-directed and independent in reading for understanding.”

Robin Cochran, superintendent of Washington County Schools, was most impressed that one of the students was reading six books at one time, four of which were for school. 

Haynes left pleased with the foundation set at Washington County High School. 

“Their students’ success could be attributable to the improved technical competencies of groups of educators working together purposefully and relentlessly in the school, and across the district and state, as part of a broad set of initiatives to improve students’ literacy achievement,” she said.

Haynes and Parker also checked observed students in the Jessamine County school district.