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Special guest salutes Liberty for hard work over summer break

At Liberty Elementary, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman praised students and staff for their extra efforts during summer break. “I really do love watching these kids learn and grow,” Coleman said. “They are essentially putting in overtime during the summer, and our teachers are showing up and working just as hard whether it’s July or January.”

Principal Lisa Kear escorted Coleman to three classrooms, where they stopped in briefly to see what the groups were doing in Summer Ignite – a program customized by each school to stoke their students’ passion for learning. Districtwide, schools planned three sessions: June 8-25, July 6-23, and July 26-30. (Schools have reserved the final week as an orientation week for their incoming kindergarteners, sixth graders, and ninth graders.) 

“It’s going great. We strived to have 90 kids for each session, and we’re pretty close to it,” said Alaina Bailey, Liberty’s co-coordinator along with colleague Melissa Flannery. The connecting thread is “The Important Book,” which students use as a type of journal to distill key points and internalize new concepts. “Every day we want them to write about what they’re learning – they’ve got to be able to write about it, talk about it, apply it,” said Kear, who gave Coleman a copy during her July 7 visit.

Grouped by grade level, the students delve into reading, math, science, social-emotional skills, art, library, and drama. Liberty has also invited a few guest speakers, such as officers from the sheriff’s department who spoke about bullying. “Each rotation focuses on writing skills, and we’re using the book to show how they can write a paragraph,” Bailey said, noting how the children practice reviewing new material and summarizing the day’s lesson. “A lot of students regress academically over the summer, so hopefully this will help.”

Kear credited the Fayette County Board of Education for providing broad-based support for Summer Ignite, including transportation, meals, and generous stipends for teachers. “You’ve removed every barrier,” she said, “and you’ve given us the autonomy to do what our kids need.” She also thanked board members Tyler Murphy and Amy Green, who welcomed the lieutenant governor.

“If you need a dose of energy, come visit an elementary school! Anytime I get to go into a classroom, it’s the highlight of my day,” Coleman said. “It was amazing to see how hard these kids are working in the summer, and that these teachers have committed even more of their time and energy to helping the kids they see every day. That is ultimately what is going to help us build a brighter Kentucky.”

(Posted July 8, 2021) 

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