The Richmond Register


September 15, 2012

Middle College students’ ACT scores exceed those of high schools

Lackey: ‘We need to figure out why it works, not just applaud the results’

RICHMOND — Students from the county’s Middle College program achieved ACT scores almost three points higher than their peers at Madison Southern and Madison Central high schools.

The Middle College composite ACT score was 22.3, Central’s was 19.5 and Southern’s was 18.3.

Speculations about the reason for this difference became the subject of conversation during an instructional report by Chief Academic Officer Randy Peffer at Thursday’s school board meeting.

The Middle College at Eastern Kentucky University is entering its second year and was intended to help high school juniors and seniors who are academically capable but at risk of dropping out of school.

The program currently enrolls 39 students and costs the district $115,000 a year, according to Peffer.

About $100,000 of the yearly cost is funded by the Kentucky Department of Education. EKU does not charge for the use of its facilities, he said.

Middle College was expected to double in enrollment the second year to about 60 students, said board member John Lackey.

But, around half of last year’s Middle College juniors returned to their sitting high school this year to participate in athletics and senior-year activities, Peffer said.

Considering the current enrollment of 39, Lackey said class size and teacher-to-student ratio at Middle College could have had a major affect on the high scores.

“These students were not particularly brilliant kids a year ago — they were doing very ordinary work, and now they have suddenly blossomed,” Lackey said.   

However, Peffer pointed out there are only two teachers at Middle College and that class size is not much different from the high schools. One teacher is required per every 23 students, he said.

Lackey offered another theory.

“These kids don’t have stretch limousines to go to the prom with, they’re not distracted with athletics, there’s not drama there to fit in socially, and that’s the reason they’re doing so well,” he said. “I think our experiment with Middle College is showing a lot about how we raise scores across the board.”

Peffer agreed that one difference is the focus on academics in a college setting, along with the demand for high-quality work from their teachers.

“I think those kids do realize it’s a privilege to be there, and they had to go through an entire process to be a candidate at Middle College,” he said.

Board member Chris Hager said he visited Middle College and was “thoroughly impressed” with the students and hired one to work in his business.

“I think we’ll see a lot more interest in Middle College next year with the increase in ACT scores over Central and Southern — they’re bright, sharp and they got it together,” Hager said.

Board member Mona Isaacs said one of the differences she has noticed is the “collegial relationships” Middle College students have developed with one another.

“They are truly a family-type organization,” she said. “They are bonded to each other and supported in ways many of them didn’t experience in high school.”

Peffer said, in his opinion, public education would be more beneficial if the school-size model was turned upside down — with larger and fewer elementary schools, smaller middle schools and a greater number of small high schools.

“If you think about it, for an elementary student, their classroom is like their school, so what would it matter if you had 1,800 students in an elementary school?” he said.

Smaller high schools “where everybody knows everybody” give teachers an opportunity to become more personable with their students, he said.

“But, I know that is not the way the education system is set up — I have no idea if that would make a difference,” Peffer said.

“I think you’re right,” said Lackey, who went on to say Middle College is “an experiment for us and the whole state. We need to figure out why it works, not just applaud the results that we’re getting — and see if we can duplicate it in Southern and Central.”

Construction update

All construction projects for the district — Foley Middle’s roof, Madison Central’s roof and athletic complex and Farristown Middle’s athletic complex — are complete, reported project architect Tony Thomas of Clotfelter-Samokar Architects.

However, after running into unforeseen problems with Central’s roof in June, which required a change order for up to additional $175,000, another unforeseen problem was discovered that required a second change order of around $23,000.

As workers began to secure the existing roof deck to bring it up to structural standards (unforeseen problem No. 1), they discovered that the structural sub-support near the edge of the roof, facing the north parking lot, was rotted (unforeseen problem No. 2).

The all-wood fascia was rotten around 40 feet down. It had to be removed and then replaced with new structure and fascia.

“Really, we had no choice. We couldn’t even attach the roof to it,” Thomas said.

The first roof change order was calculated at around $172,000, $3,000 less than projected. But with the second change order, the total additional cost of the roof project was around $198,000.

Although every construction project is required to set aside funds for contingencies, Thomas said, “the contingencies on this particular project were no where near covering what we ran into.”

The additional funds for the roof project were pulled from the Glenn Marshall Elementary School account, he said, which had funds leftover from the construction of the school built six years ago.  

“Where you were fiscally responsible before, you had ‘rainy-day’ funds available that don’t require selling bonds or borrowing money — it’s money sitting there that can only be used for construction,” Thomas said.

Lackey asked if there were “any other pots (of money) like Glenn Marshall that we can go after later on.”

“They are dwindling, because we’ve used them for some of these projects,” said Debbie Frazier, the district’s chief financial officer.

A report on the amount that is left in the “other pots” was not available Friday afternoon.

Crystal Wylie can be reached at or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.

Text Only
  • Kitcarson1.jpg Elementary schools built in ‘60s getting upgrades

    Renovation of three Madison County elementary schools built in Richmond during the 1960s will start this summer.
    The county school board voted Thursday to continue with the second phase of state paperwork required for the projects.
    With a target completion date of August 2015, renovations and alterations at Daniel Boone, Kit Carson and White Hall elementary schools are estimated to cost almost $12 million.

    April 20, 2014 9 Photos

  • May 30 last school day for students

    After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-19 TechExtra1.jpg Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza

    Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.

    April 19, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-19 SchoolBoardJesseWard.jpg Ward honored for service; tech center named after him

    Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-16 CMMShealthfair5.jpg Health fairs cover contemporary teenage topics

    Berea Community High School health students coordinated their first all-day health fair in November that was catered to elementary students.

    But their spring fair Monday handled more mature issues that targeted the middle and high school crowd, said health teacher Cathy Jones.

    April 16, 2014 13 Photos

  • Regents approve smoke-free campus policy

    The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents on Monday approved a tobacco-free campus policy and set 2014-15 rates for tuition, housing and meal plans.

    Effective June 1, the use of tobacco on all property that is owned, leased, occupied or controlled by the university will be prohibited.

    April 14, 2014

  • 4-10 EKUDanceTheatre1.jpg EKU Dance Theatre tonight

    Performances are 8 p.m. tonight, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building.
    Tickets are available at the Whitlock Building ticket window or by calling 622-2171 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.
    Tickets are $5 for students, $10 general admission and free for children under the age of 12. Tickets also may be purchased at the door.
    This semester’s concert offers a variety of dance forms including modern/contemporary, hip hop, Middle Eastern, musical theater and Latin jazz.

    April 10, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-11 ChildAbusePrevPinwheels.jpg Pinwheels for prevention

    Madison Central High School CIA, or Central in Action club, placed 473 silver and blue pinwheels in the flower beds in front of the school, each representing a substantiated child abuse case reported in Madison County in 2013 to show support for Child Abuse Prevention Month.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-10 TibetanMonks1.jpg Tibetan monks provide week of cultural experiences

    Berea College has had a special relationship with the Tibetan government-in-exile dating back to the 1990s. That is when the late John Stephenson, then Berea’s president, befriended the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, according to Jeff Richey, chair of Asian Studies at the college.

    April 10, 2014 13 Photos

  • 4-10 RedCedar4.jpg Open for learning

    While some may not have known all of the words or the exact notes to sing, parents and children in the Red Cedar Learning Cooperative enjoyed an afternoon jam session together Tuesday, complete with guitars, a ukulele, drums and a harmonica.

    April 9, 2014 13 Photos

AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

     View Results