Communication between administrators and parents is an issue at Lincoln County High School that everyone seems to agree needs improving.
At a public forum Monday night, Principal Tim Godbey said there is a definite need for a communication plan, among other improvements.
“Number one is the mission and vision, number two is putting a face with the data and number three is developing a communication plan," he said.
Jennifer Campbell works as a special education consultant for preschool and is a parent of a freshman. Campbell and her husband had a hard time trying to find out when the awards ceremony would be held this year and school staff informed her that they don’t invite parents and that she didn’t need to attend the ceremony.
In the end, Campbell and her husband were the only parents to attend the awards ceremony. Campbell said she knew of other parents who would attend these types of school functions, if only they knew about them. The lack of parent participation, to an extent, can be blamed on the fact that parents aren’t informed about what’s going on, she said.
Parent Joanie House concurred.
“A letter or something should be sent home so that parents and the community can get involved,” House said. “There is no communication.”
Along with the lack of communication, it was also agreed that staff need to get to know students better.
Godbey admitted that with 1200 students, it can be a task to know all of them by name.
“We’ve got to start putting a face and name with the data,” Godbey said.
He said no student should be walking the hallways without at least one adult who knows them and what they’re doing. Some success has been seen with an advisory program, but Godbey would like to see it improved.
Parents also demanded to know why some younger teachers received pink slips when they were so energetic and full of spirit. The teachers in question were liked by the students and were able to connect with them, one parent said. These teachers were let go while other less desirable teachers were allowed to stay, according to some at the forum.
Godbey said it was a matter of employment laws, which he could do nothing about. Superintendent Karen Hatter instructed parents to call the Kentucky Association of School Administrators and ask to speak with Executive Director Wayne Young about any concerns they have about the removal of teachers.
The public meeting was held in an effort to include the community in establishing beliefs that would be used to create a vision and mission statement for the school. Parents felt the school needs to begin recognizing students as individuals and encouraging them to meet their individual goals.
Some parents said school pride and spirit attributes to the overall success of individual students. Parent Vance Mitchell said there seems to be a "fostering" of an apathetic attitude throughout the community. Mitchell said students have the mindset of “oh well, it doesn’t matter…I’ll just go to Fort Logan” and that teachers have a similar thought process; they receive the same pay whether they go the extra mile to help a student or not.
“Apathy needs to be removed from the school system,” Mitchell said.
Tim Jackson, the only school board member to attend the meeting, said it was going to take time to correct the problems.
“It was ten to fifteen years in the coming. It’s not gonna be fixed overnight,” Jackson said. “We have to put our nose to the grindstone.”
Jackson said he thinks people are asking a lot from the school system.
“I’m not expecting you to raise my child,” Mitchell said. “But I am expecting you to educate my child in ways I can’t.”