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 - Education

November 19, 2014;

Music Mentor Program at Blaine aims to inspire youth; 

Local musicians share their talents with those in attendance. Left to right, John Thompson, Rick May and Kenny Chaney. Local musicians share their talents with those in attendance. Left to right, John Thompson, Rick May and Kenny Chaney.


By Jennifer Ferguson

Embracing local talent and inspiring youth interested in music was the goal of a music mentor event that took place at the Blaine Community Center this past Friday night hosted by the Kentucky Community of Sharing. 

Will Skaggs, 15, of Martha strums his guitar as people from the crowd sang along. Will Skaggs, 15, of Martha strums his guitar as people from the crowd sang along. As local musicians such as Rick May, Kenny Chaney and John Thompson performed local youth admired and asked questions about ways to become involved in the arts and improve their own musical skills. Though attendance for the event was lower than originally expected, Community Builder Angie Chaney says the group hopes that over time the interest will grow and the events will keep getting larger. 

Songs were performed by local youth who have an interest in pursuing an interest in music. Left to right: Braley Skaggs, age 8; Angel Dixon, age 13; Brooklyn Skaggs, age 6. Songs were performed by local youth who have an interest in pursuing an interest in music. Left to right: Braley Skaggs, age 8; Angel Dixon, age 13; Brooklyn Skaggs, age 6. “The goal of the mentor program is to eventually host a weekend camp where kids that are interested in music can join with professional musicians to learn more,” said Chaney. “I know there’s lots of talent in this area!”

The group says they hope to be able to host the camp during the summer of 2015 at no cost to those involved. Though a location has not yet been confirmed, Chaney said they are hoping to be able to use the facilities at Camp Caleb for the event. However, they are looking for volunteers to help implement the ideas. 

“It will take lots and lots of volunteers to help make this possible,” said Chaney. “From helping coordinate, feeding people, musicians…just lots of help.” 

Kentucky Community of Sharing is a nonprofit group that focuses on bringing communities together by celebrating gifts and talents. Anyone interested in participating or volunteering can contact the group director, Tina Jackson via email:

November 18, 2014;

Board Approves “Pathway to Proficiency,” Recognizes All-District Band, and Recognizes Teacher Leadership...


LOUISA – In the regular November meeting of the Lawrence County Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Robbie Fletcher laid out the “Pathway to Proficiency” for each school in the district, the Board voted to apply for various grants, approved the renovation of security entrances for schools and recognized all-district band performers.

The “Pathway to Proficiency” was detailed to the Board members by Dr. Fletcher and Chief Academic Officer Cassandra Webb and demonstrated a breakdown of goals in achievement data over the span of two years, which would lead each school to reaching the goal of proficiency as defined by KPREP and other assessment data.

Dr. Fletcher summarized the intent by saying, the Pathway basically takes two years’ worth of data and breaks it down into increments that show where we are school by school and where we need to be. It gives an accurate picture of the present and sets an expectation that by 2016 we will be proficient school by school.

“Mrs. Webb’s work illustrates how the MAP testing data could be used three times each year and then a fourth set of data would be the KPREP itself and that gives principals, teachers, students, Board members and parents and community a clear indication of performance,” Fletcher noted.

LCHS English Teacher, Joe Harris,is recognized for being spotlighted in KDE's November Teacher PGES Newsletter. Lazer photo by Catrina VargoLCHS English Teacher, Joe Harris,is recognized for being spotlighted in KDE's November Teacher PGES Newsletter. Lazer photo by Catrina VargoLawrence County High School English Teacher Joe Harris was recognized for being spotlighted in the November Teacher PGES Newsletter by KDE and in Kentucky Teacher for his work and article on promoting student voice in the classroom.

Harris explained to the Board that he had written a recent article about how he had actively sought to increase student engagement by promoting student voice, giving them a more active role in the classroom and thereby gaining a greater level of engagement. The article became a feature in the KDE Newsletter and Kentucky Teacher Magazine. It can be found at:

The Board approved the district to apply for grants in Energy Engineering and Biomedical Engineering for each school to use to fund these programs to feed into the Lawrence County High School programs in the same area.

The Superintendent also brought the performance of Lawrence County Band members, from the middle school to high school level, to the attention of the Board via a discussion with Miss Emily McCreary.

Superintendent Dr. Robbie Fletcher presents Emily McCreary with certificate of recognition for making All District Band. Lazer photo by Catrina VargoSuperintendent Dr. Robbie Fletcher presents Emily McCreary with certificate of recognition for making All District Band. Lazer photo by Catrina VargoEmily was named all-district recently for her performance on the flute and she joined 22 other musicians in being recognized. She told the Board that 40 Lawrence County students auditioned and an astonishing 23 earned the distinction.

The following were recognized from LCHS: Tori Henson, flute; Chad Robinson, flute; Isabella Handley, clarinet; Tessa Cisco, trombone. From Fallsburg: Destiny LaFlesh, flute; Emily Vance, clarinet.

From Louisa Middle School: Jessalyn Osborn, flute; Emily McCreary, flute; Emilee Ford, clarinet; Lena Molleyy, clarinet; Hollie York, tenor sax; McKenzie Methax, trumpet; Breanna Hoose, trumpet.

From Blaine: Shelby Hughes, flute; Tannelle Shook, flute; Jacob Dillon, clarinet; Brooklin Routt, alto sax; Angel Keeton, bass clarinet; Kayla Jordan, trumpet; Kayla Perkins, trumpet; Oliver Stafford, trumpet; Austin Ratliff, euphonium (first chair). Dr. Fletcher commended the work of Ms. Jessica Crittenden, the Lawrence County Band Director who travels to instruct at each school.

The next Board of Education meeting will be December 15th.


Superintendent’s Personnel Action/Update

November 17, 2014


Katina Ward - Guidance Counselor at Blaine Elementary School
Kayla Dillon - Preschool Teacher at Louisa West Elementary School
Peggy Fisher - FMD Teacher at Lawrence County High School
Gilbert Shelton - Custodian at Lawrence County High School

Substitute Instructional Assistant
Jennifer Ferguson

Substitute Custodian
Michelle Workman

Substitute Bus Driver
Michael Webb

Substitute Bus Monitor
Jessica Johnson

Change of Position
April Tucker - From District Special Needs Nurse to District School Health Nurse

Kristy Tackett - Physical/Occupational Therapist (effective December 5, 2014)
Georgia Davis - Instructional Assistant at Fallsburg Elementary School
(effective December 31, 2014)

Request to the Lawrence County Board of Education for Abolishment and Creation and Changes regarding Positions

Request the following position be abolished:

(1) District Special Needs Nurse

Request the following positions be created:

(1) Instructional Assistant at Lawrence County High School (1-Year—if needed)
(1) Instructional Assistant at Louisa West Elementary School (1-Year—if needed)
(1) Part-Time Credit Recovery Teacher (45 days)
(1) Part-Time IDEA Achievement Test Trainer (6 days)

Request the following positions be changed:

(1) District School Health Nurse (1-Year) to (1) District School Health Nurse (1) From Part-Time  (15 hrs/week)

Preschool Instructional Assistant at Louisa West Elementary School (1-Year) to Part-Time (28 hrs/week)

Preschool Instructional Assistant at Louisa West Elementary School (1-Year)

Why Health Insurance is Important

Three Rivers Medical Center seeks to educate and enroll uninsured community members

As part of the Affordable Care Act, most U.S. citizens were required to have health insurance beginning in 2014. In 2015, there is a penalty if you’re not excluded for a particular reason. Wondering why health insurance is so important, please see the commonly asked questions and answers below to find out.

Q: What is health insurance?

A: Health insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company. When you buy a plan or policy, you pay a monthly fee and in return, the company agrees to pay part of your medical expenses when you get sick or hurt.

Q: Why is it important that citizens have health insurance?

A: While no one plans to get sick or hurt, most people need medical care at some point. Did you know the average cost of a three-day hospital stay is $30,000? Or that fixing a broken leg can cost up to $7,500? Having health insurance helps protect you from unexpected costs like these. Your insurance policy will outline what types of care, treatments and services are covered, including how much the insurance company will pay for different treatments in different situations.

Q: Is having health insurance mandatory?

A: Yes, with few exceptions, most U.S. citizens are required to have health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in 2010. Those who do not have minimum essential health coverage – like through an employer – and don’t qualify for an exemption, will have to pay a penalty fee if they don’t get health insurance.

Q: What is that penalty?

A: If you can afford health insurance coverage in 2015, but don’t sign up, you will have to pay a penalty ($325 per adult, $162.40 per child – up to $975 per family or 2% of income whichever is higher). And without insurance, you’ll be financially responsible for all of your medical costs.

Q: Who is exempt from having to get health insurance?

A: The list is long, but here are a few reasons why a person might be exempt:

Coverage is unaffordable coverage (more than 8% of household income)

You are a member of federally recognized tribe

You are below tax filing threshold and not required to file taxes

You have been uninsured for less than three consecutive months during the year

Q: When can a person purchase health insurance?

A: For the Health Insurance Marketplace, enrollment periods are only for a specified time during the year. The next enrollment period is from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015. You can only purchase insurance outside of that time period if you have a qualifying life event, such as a marriage, divorce, new baby, and change of income, to name a few.

You are considered covered if you have Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, any job-based plan, any plan you’ve purchased yourself, COBRA, retiree coverage, Tricare, VA health coverage.

Q: How much does health insurance cost?

A: Each plan varies in terms of overall cost and depends on the amount of premium and deductible you choose. The premium is the amount of money charged for a certain amount of insurance coverage each year. You may also have an annual deductible. This is the amount you must pay out of your pocket before the insurance company will pay any expenses. For example, let's say you have a plan with a $200 deductible. You go to the doctor and the total cost is $250. You pay the first $200 to cover the deductible, and then your insurance pays its share. How much you pay for your premium and deductible depends on the type of insurance you have and whether you’re purchasing individual or family coverage.

Q: What types of plans are there?

A: There are four levels of qualified health plans on the Health Insurance Marketplace: platinum, gold, silver, and bronze. Each category has a different monthly premium costs, as well as deductible. There are a lot of affordable options on the Health Insurance Marketplace and you can compare each plan side by side so you can find the plan that meets you and/or your family’s needs.

Q: Is there any help available if you can’t afford health insurance?

A: The federal government can assist some individuals and families with their premiums costs by providing subsidies to those who qualify based on their income.

For example, if a family of four had an income of about $40,000 in 2014, they may be eligible for subsidy assistance on premium costs that exceed 5% of their income.  If that same family of four purchases a Silver plan that might cost them around $9,400 per year, they could eligible to receive subsidy assistance of up to almost $7,400; which means they would only be responsible for about $2,000 of the insurance premium costs themselves.

Q: What if you have a preexisting condition like a previous cancer, a diabetes diagnosis or are pregnant?

A: You cannot be excluded from coverage for any preexisting condition. And, equally important, parents can cover their children up to age 26 on their insurance plan.

Q: What do I need to do if I enrolled last year and have coverage?

A: The federal government has announced that for those consumers who are already enrolled in a Marketplace plan in 2014, they will have an automatic enrollment option to select the same health plan coverage in 2015. Of course, these individuals and families have the option to shop for other coverage choices, as well.  The Marketplace enrollment tools spell out the steps consumers will need to take for either the option to auto-enroll in the same health insurance coverage, or to shop for other choices.

Q: What else does a health insurance cover?

A: In addition to pre-existing conditions, all qualified health plans must offer:

Ambulatory patient services

Hospitalization and emergency services

Maternity and newborn care

Mental Health and substance use disorder

Prescription drugs

Lab services

Preventative and wellness services

Chronic disease management

Pediatric services, including dental and vision care

Of course, you have to meet your deductible before insurance pays.

Q: I’ve also heard that qualified health plans cover preventive care services at no charge.

A: Yes, qualified plans cover many preventive care screenings, tests and services such as vaccinations that can help adults and children stay healthy. And the best news is, they’re free – no copays or deductibles. Depending on your age, gender and other risk factors, your doctor may tell you it’s time for a mammogram, colonoscopy or other screening that can detect cancer or disease in its earliest, most treatable stages. Or, it may be time to screen for high blood pressure or high cholesterol to give your doctor information that can help prevent a stroke or heart attack.

For women, many preventive care screenings, tests and supplies that can help with family planning and pregnancy are now covered, along with services such as these:

Well-woman checkups

Contraceptives and birth control counseling

Screenings during pregnancy for a variety of conditions

Breastfeeding supplies, support and counseling

Q: Besides a health insurance plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace, what other types of health insurance are available?

A: Many families with limited income will qualify for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and they can enroll any time of the year. Medicaid provides health coverage for some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. In some states the program covers all low-income adults below a certain income level. CHIP provides low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid. In some states, CHIP covers parents and pregnant women. Each state offers CHIP coverage, and works closely with its state Medicaid program.

Q: How can local, uninsured residents find help with enrollment?

A: As a service to our community Three Rivers Medical Center can help uninsured residents review coverage options on the Health Insurance Marketplace, or determine eligibility for Medicaid. We can also assist with re-enrollment, or with special enrollment if someone has had a life change, such as a marriage, divorce, job loss, etc.

All they need to do is schedule an appointment with one of our application coordinators by calling 638-7494.

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