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Boyle superintendent gets an A+ from school board

Normally students get grades, but Thursday night, it was Boyle County Superintendent Mike LaFavers’ turn to be graded by his board of education. He passed with flying colors.

Superintendent Mike LaFavers “has exceeded expectations by continuing to promote high achievement and personal success in the classroom, in athletics and in extracurricular activities, thus bringing well-deserved recognition and greater visibility from around the state to the district, its staff and classroom successes,” reads LaFavers’ annual “summative evaluation,” approved by the school board last week. “… his strategies intentionally overlap each other to meet the ever-changing needs of our district and its student population. For this, we have given him an exemplary rating.”

Board Chair Jennifer Newby said she appreciates everything LaFavers does.

“Any time I’ve had a question about anything in the school system, I know I can come to you and get that straight,” Newby said. “I just really appreciate your availability to others and then answering parents’ questions and things, too, when there’s an issue that arises.”

Vice Chair Julie Jones said LaFavers does a good job of managing all the many moving parts of the district and keeping important things on the school board’s radar.

After board approved the evaluation Thursday night, LaFavers credited staff at the central office and “great principals” and their staffs with doing a lot.

“The team who you see here in the room — they make me look good,” LaFavers said. “… We get to serve the best children there are. And we have a great board. … It’s a fortunate situation I find myself in.”

The evaluation specifically lists how LaFavers handled the teacher pensions issue from early this year as a “significant example of purposeful communication” that led to his high marks.

“LaFavers proactively engaged all district staff members by providing timely updates as rhetoric changed in Frankfort and he openly solicited their questions, concerns and input and respected their desire and right to have their voices heard,” the evaluation reads. “His handling of school closings at the height of the teacher rallies and protests was thoughtfully managed to consider the impact for staff and on instructional time.”

The evaluation was also happy with continued efforts on the Sophomore ACT, high-quality use of technology, “consistent and timely review of test data” and “effective use” of “response to intervention,” a method for addressing the educational needs of students when they haven’t mastered a concept.

And the evaluation noted LaFavers’ leadership in breaking ground for the new Boyle County Middle School building and implementation of the district’s new Safety Strategic Plan, which has, among other things, led to an increase in school resource officers in the district.

“As mentioned in previous evaluations, the board strongly agrees that Superintendent LaFavers’ attention to sound fiscal management, evidenced by our year-to-year strong cash position and growth and validated by our auditor, has directly given our district the capability to ‘dream big yet realistically encourage modesty,’” the evaluation reads.

As for “improvement and goal-setting,” the evaluation asks LaFavers to focus on improving the district’s “once robust dual credit offerings.”

“With skyrocketing costs of college eliminating options for some students, we feel our students are missing out on a significant opportunity to enter college with multiple credit hours, thereby reducing some financial burdens,” the evaluation reads.

LaFavers has been asked to “re-energize” dialogues with area universities and colleges about dual credit offerings, add “opportunities for credits geared toward higher tech vocations” and increase the use of school counselors to help students prepare for the transition to college.