Should local boards of education approve the program, students will have until May 1 to submit a request to use the 2021-22 school year as a supplemental year to retake courses, and the Kentucky Department of Education has released new guidance on the program.

The Supplemental School Year Program was created through Senate Bill 128, which Gov. Andy Beshear signed into law on March 24. It’s an emergency legislation that will allow any K-12 student that was enrolled in the 2020-21 school year to essentially retake courses, if needed.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Max Wise, a Campbellsville Republican, who said previously that some students have struggled with unconventional learning that schools adopted by necessity during the pandemic, and allowing a supplemental year would help those students.

Boards of education have until June 1 to decide to either accept or deny all of those requests.

Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent Matthew Constant said the city school board is scheduled to discuss the program at its April 22 board meeting.

Daviess County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Jana Beth Francis said the district will be sending out information about the program to families and an application in the weeks to come.

Francis said it’s important to remember that if educators felt like retention would be beneficial for a student, they would already be in contact with families. A lot of students may be struggling, or families may be concerned that their child seems to be behind, but educators are working hard to provide supports and fill in those gaps.

Educators are doing what Francis called “just in time teaching,” which means they are meeting students where they are.

She also urged families to be aware of the lasting impact of their child repeating a school year.

“Retention as intervention is not a very successful one, and we want families to really consider this,” Francis said.

According to the Kentucky Department of Education, who released guidance on the Supplemental School Year Program on Monday, students have until May 1 to submit a request to their local board of education. The local board must submit its implementation plan, along with any requests received, to the state by June 16. Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass said the COVID-19 pandemic impacted education in ways never before seen, but it also altered the education landscape from this point forward.

“This bill is an example of that,” Glass said. “We want to ensure our districts have all the necessary resources to provide students, families and school officials with relevant information as they make these significant decisions.”

The new guidance on the Supplemental School Year Program is available for viewing at https://education.ky.gov/districts/Documents/SB%20128%20Guidance.pdf.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

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