Wednesday, July 15, 2015

WC schools celebrate Yarbrough’s first year

J-E Editor
Dr. Rachel Yarbrough, Superintendent of Webster County Schools, officially kicked-off her second year at the helm of her alma mater by holding the second annual District Leadership Summit Meeting on Monday.

“I’m really excited about 15-16,” the told gathered board members and administrators. “I didn’t think I could be more excited than I was in 14-15, but we’re ready to move forward. We’re ready to go from the foundation we’ve laid to what’s next.”

Monday night’s meeting was a combination of team building exercises and a celebration of what has been accomplished in Yarbrough’s first year as Superintendent. Those accomplishments include countless grants, which will help to fund new and exciting experiences for Webster County students.

The most recent accomplishment is the addition of new birth to pre-school day care programs at Providence and Sebree Elementary Schools. This program, being handled by the same Audubon Area Community Services organization that runs the district’s current head start programs at Providence and Sebree, will have spots for 16 children under the age of three and 18 between the ages of three and five. Those numbers will be split evenly between income eligible and private pay children.

“We are launching early childhood in a big way,” Yarbrough said. “Good early childhood education is the best dropout prevention for Webster County Schools.”

Yarbrough said that teen moms enrolled in Webster County Schools will be given the first opportunities at openings in hopes of keeping young mothers from dropping out of school.
Yarbrough also announced on Monday that the Capstone Learning Center would officially open for business on August 31. The grant funded program will offer after school courses in robotics, computers and aerospace to Webster County High School students, as well as provide ACT preparation.

The Webster County ‘Kids to College’ program that the district has been working on along with the Fiscal Court and both Madisonville and Henderson KYTCS campuses has now become a reality. Yarbrough said that incoming freshmen at WCHS will be the first eligible students to be a part of the program, which promises college tuition to any student who maintains a certain GPA.

“In Webster County Schools, we guarantee you there are no barriers between you and college,” Yarbrough said.

Kids to College will initially pay for the first year of community college courses at either Henderson or Madisonville for any student starting with the Class of 2019 who is not eligible for other scholarships. As the program grows the hope is to also be able to pay for the second year.

“People are paying attention to what we are doing in Webster County,” she said. “We are smart, more resourceful and will find a way. Webster County will no longer take a back seat to anybody.”

The meeting ended with leaders listing what they felt were the strengths, weaknesses and future opportunities for the district. One striking fact was that many of the things leaders listed as strengths were listed as weaknesses on the initial lists made in July of 2014.
“We still have a lot of growing to do, but we are so much further along today than we were a year ago,” said School Board chairman Jeff Pettit. “I credit this team for making that happen.”

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