Daviess County Public Schools unveiled their new logo at Opening Day ceremony festivities yesterday. The logo, designed by Tanner+West, depicts the district’s commitment to put kids first in everything we do.

DCPS also announced recipients of the fifth annual Great Expectations Teacher of the Year, Customer Service and Office Professional Awards during the district’s Opening Day ceremony at the Sportscenter August 8, 2017.

During the spring, each site selected a school-level Teacher of the Year. These winners received an engraved crystal bowl, $200 for classroom use and a designated parking place for one year. Honorees were evaluated by representatives of the DCPS Office of Teaching and Learning on the basis of classroom observations and nomination materials, and one overall winner was selected for each of three levels – elementary, middle and high school. These winners were awarded a $1,000 purchase order for classroom use and will be nominated by the district as candidates for Kentucky Teacher of the Year honors.

The 2017 DCPS Great Expectations Elementary Teacher of the Year is Kelly Smith, a second-grade teacher at Tamarack Elementary School.

Kelly Smith was nominated by the parents of a student who attends TES, whose nomination essays describe their appreciation for this teacher’s dedication to students and families. The nomination commended Smith’s tireless efforts in striving to help each of her students attain the highest levels of personal and academic success. “She has created a community with open lines of communication between parents, students and herself, with all of us working for the same goal of success for the student,” the nomination said. “She is a fearless and tireless worker. She puts her all into each child. She empowers students to discover their passions and finds great books, newspapers and articles to use those passions as rewards and motivations. She impacts families on a personal level. When the father of one student was diagnosed with cancer, she told the mother, ‘You focus on your husband’s care. I’ve got your son.’ She stayed late and helped this child with homework so that would be one less thing for the mother to do at home. She opened a line of communication by inviting this child to have lunch with her and talk about life and the things he was feeling in regards to his dad’s cancer. She has not only taught lessons that matter with education, but she has also taught great lessons of caring and friendship.”

 

The 2017 DCPS Great Expectations Middle School Teacher of the Year is Christina O’Bryan Howard, a math teacher at College View Middle School.

Christina O’Bryan Howard was nominated by a colleague who expressed admiration for the way in which Howard exhibits leadership, attention to detail, clear planning and rigorous assessment designs. “She teaches a class that gives eligible students the opportunity to earn high school credit. She does not spoon-feed her students; they have to do the work in order to make progress,” the nomination said. “She holds math study sessions in the morning for her algebra students so they have extra time to work on difficult concepts. This is not just a study hall; she uses her personal time to help with instruction for her students. Every seat is full in these sessions; she loves what she does and it shows in her love for all students. She uses different teaching methods like direct instruction, modeling, mastery learning and concept attainment and incorporates appropriate technology into her classroom. She understands that not every student is visual or auditory; kinesthetic students learn by movement in her classroom. Her ‘YMCA’ song for teaching slope (Y=MX+B) is just one of her many great variations for teaching math. She is the true model of a teacher leader.”

The 2017 DCPS Great Expectations High School Teacher of the Year is Steve Easley, a social studies teacher at Daviess County High School.

In a nomination submitted by a student at DCHS, Steve Easley was recognized for his “unmatched empathy and dedication to his students. The way he presents information in more than one way ensures that everyone understands the information, even when it is difficult. He creates an atmosphere of community within his classroom. When he is teaching, it seems more like a conversation instead of a lecture; this helps students understand the material, especially when they know it is okay for them to ask any question they have. In nominating his teacher for this award, one of his students noted that Steve “causes learning to happen by using more than just his voice and a PowerPoint to teach. He uses Crash Course videos, games and demonstrations. These outside sources elaborate on the topic and give us a chance to have fun while learning important material. He uses Guided Readings to further conversations. He will send home a packet for us to read, analyze and answer questions; the next day, we will take what we learned in those packets and expand on it, ask questions and further our knowledge rather than spend time on him lecturing the material. This lets us move along quickly while still learning the material. He works so hard and is an amazing teacher and an incredible person. If you ask anyone on the academic team or in Y-Club, they will honestly tell you that what he has done has changed them for the better.”

DCPS Great Expectations Customer Service and Office Professional honorees

Candidates for Customer Service and Office Professional Awards were submitted to a district-level committee last spring and evaluated on the basis of modeling and supporting Great Expectations as they fulfill the important roles that keep our district running so smoothly. Winners will receive a $1,000 purchase order for professional use; designated parking place for one year; and will represent the district as nominees for statewide honors sponsored by the Kentucky Association of School Administrators.

The 2017 DCPS Great Expectations Customer Service Award was presented to Jessica Roark, a software specialist and member of the district’s Computer Operations department who essentially took it upon herself to develop a service to benefit every family of every student attending DCPS schools. Roark will be nominated by the district for the 2018 KASA “Fred” Award. A nomination submitted by a professional colleague said, “Since joining the DCPS Computer Operations team, Jessica Roark has continuously gone above and beyond to find ways to provide service and support to our staff members and our families. She has worked to learn and implement our new digital records storage solution. She arrives early, stays late and even while managing her own family, she also enrolled in college courses to learn the SQL database system in order to be the best she can be in her job. Daviess County Public Schools led the state in the area of online registration, and that is a direct tribute to Jessica Roark. Even though she is not scheduled to work during the summer, she volunteered to attend Open Lab events at all of our schools and across the community to provide guidance and assistance for parents who do not have access to computers or who are not confident in their skills, and also made herself available over the phone and by email to assist parents and staff with the process. Jessica’s willingness to help extends beyond Daviess County as she has also helped more than 150 other school districts with implementing online registration.”

 

Holly Ebelhar, an instructional assistant at Heritage Park High School, was named 2017 DCPS Great Expectations Office Professional and will be nominated by the district for the KASA Wanda Luttrell Office Professional Award. Essays submitted by administrators, faculty and staff stated, “Holly Ebelhar has filled many roles in the history of Heritage Park High School, and before that, Beacon Central High School. When the staff of our non-traditional high school was asked to describe Holly, the words and phrases they shared included ‘unconditional love, encouraging, trustworthy, student-centered, positive, friendly, hard worker, effective, second mom, keeps it real.’ In her role as a support professional, Holly leads by example with a servant’s heart to take care of students, their families and the staff – whatever they need, whatever it takes. She is the first person people see or talk to when they contact Heritage Park and she treats everyone with gracious service and makes them feel welcome. She has mastered the art of working with non-traditional students in a way that makes them feel safe, valued and affirmed, while also grounding them in reality in a way that only she can do. Every student who crosses her path is treated like the most important person in her life at that moment. The level of trust and connection that Holly establishes with students and families is amazing – because it is sincere. When the students talk to Holly, she is honest and real with them. They know she loves them, but it’s a tough love that holds them accountable for their actions. She takes the initiative to help others without being asked and always stays focused on the big picture. She is resourceful and creative in responding to every situation. Holly is a positive role model for all. She is a true friend who supports the staff and the mission of Heritage Park High School.”