For both Madison County Schools and Berea Independent, 2019 was a big year. As the calendar as flipped to 2020, Berea Independent Superintendent Diane Hatchett and Madison County Schools Superintendent David Gilliam talk about the highlights of last year and look toward the future.

Berea Independent

Berea Independent has been located on Pirate Parkway for 50 years and 2019 was a year of celebration, according to Hatchett.

She explained that, in order to mark the special occasion, the Alumni group planned a homecoming event, which featured more than 250 people coming together for a nice dinner to catch up and talk about old times.

“That started off 2019 in an amazing way,” Hatchett said.

The superintendent explained Berea Independent was one of 69 schools in the nation to be granted the School Climate Transformation Grant in 2019.

She added the high school and middle school have now split and each has their own principals. Berea Independent also created a new site based council to give more voice to students, parents and teachers, Hatchett said.

“Team work makes the dream work,” she said.

Hatchett hopes to keep that mentality going into the new year. She said they are mindful of the past and all of the accomplishments they have made, but are looking forward to the future and all the possibility it brings.

One thing Hatchett is looking forward to in the new year is Berea Independent’s continued work on “profiling the graduate.”

Hatchett explained “it takes all of us to promote students success” and they want to look at what elementary, middle and high schoolers need in order to be prepared when going to the next level of education. She said they also wanted to look at students holistically and find out what life and communication skills they might need in the 21st century.

“It’s not all about literacy and numbers,” she explained.

Hatchett said they want to help create well rounded students with soft skills, technological skills, skills in making global relationships and more. One relationship Berea Independent is working with right now is their relationship with Madison County Schools, which they now share facilities with.

“The only time we compete is when we’re out on the court or the field,” Hatchett said. Otherwise, she explained, we’re all just trying to produce the best and the brightest.

Madison County Schools

Gilliam said 2019 was a great year for the district.

One big highlight Gilliam mentioned was the Madison County Board of Education approved the initial plans to build two career centers, one in Richmond and one in Berea. Gilliam called this the biggest news that Madison County Schools had for 2019.

Madison County Schools came in second in the state, out of 172 regions, in terms of administrative and operational expenses compared to instructions. Gilliam explained this as dollars going into classrooms instead of using it on other things.

He spoke highly of how the Madison Central marching band had played in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The district has also done well financially, according to Gilliam. They were able to stay within their budget and not raise taxes, he added.

Gilliam looks forward to being able to begin construction on the career centers in 2020. He also is looking forward to teachers in Madison County continuing to improve the experience that students get within the classroom.

The district will also continue to partner with outside agencies to address students needs beyond academics, such as mental health and economic. Gilliam said the district also plans to partner with Eastern Kentucky University to expand career pathway options for students in their career pathway programs.

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