Fort Thomas Independent Schools Employee Newsletter

Volume 3 Issue 6

February 2016


Dear Staff,

As you may be aware, the legislative session which is currently going on in Frankfort is extremely important for public education. Never before has there been more political traction around charter schools or tax exemptions for individuals wanting to opt out of public schools. KTRS is in serious need of an influx of money in order to ensure its long term stability.

Governor Bevin has proposed a two-year budget which would lead to cuts in education funding of 4.5% in the current year and 9.0% in each of the next two years. Finally, if passed, Senate Bill 1 could lead to a major overhaul of K-12 education in Kentucky including revised standards and changes to our assessment and accountability system.

While I agree with much of what is included in this bill, it is very important that we continue to monitor it as the political process plays out. Sometimes legislation can be altered significantly as a result of compromise.

The following information will be helpful in building awareness on the issues:

Governor’s Budget Proposal



Senate Bill 1

While the above-mentioned issues are getting most of the attention, a number of other education bills have been proposed. It is extremely important that each of us is an active participant in the political process as the legislative session moves forward. That means studying the issues and letting our elected senators and representatives know our opinions. For those of you who live in Kentucky, it is imperative that you know who represents your legislative district and that you contact them directly. You can find contact information, as well as references to any proposed bills at

I am hopeful that this legislative session will result in laws and a budget that both support public education. However, the only way to ensure that this will be the case is for Kentucky educators to let their voices be heard.



Bits and Bytes


Every Kentucky school district must develop a technology plan and have that plan approved each year by the local Board of Education. One of the components of our current technology plan states that the technology department will “publish periodic electronic reminders of acceptable use, its provisions and how and where to report abuse of the policy”. In the next few issues of Forward Focus, we will publish reminders. Please contact Diana McGhee if you have questions about these reminders.

Reminder #4: Board policy 03.13214, approved by the Board in July 2015, states: Due to privacy concerns, and except for emergency situations, employees shall use discretion when using personally owned recording devices to create video or audio recordings or to take pictures while on duty or working with students except with prior permission from the Principal/designee. Any such recordings/pictures shall only be used for instructional and/or professional usage, be deleted from the device as soon as it is downloaded to a school device but no later than twenty-four (24) hours after being recorded, and never posted to personal social media pages including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

Internet Connections

Science and Space

This website shows students how a river is used and how humans’ interaction with the river changes as it progresses through its watershed.

Follow NASA’s Orion on the journey to Mars and learn all about the new spacecraft at this site.

Under His Hat: Discovering Lincoln's Story from Primary Sources is the home of the Lincoln Collection Digitization Project, a thematic online-education resource about the United States' 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.


Technology PD Session for February

This year, we are going to introduce a new form of technology PD sessions. Sessions will be held during evening hours and will be held online using Skype for Business. All participants will be asked to register in advance through PD Express. Reminders will be sent.

Collaboration with Microsoft OneNote

Monday, February 22 - 8pm

Collaboration and organization are two critical 21st century skills. Microsoft OneNote 2010 gives you and students the ideal place to store resources and materials in a single, easy-to-organize location.

Educational Study Seminars

All Educational Study Seminars will be held from 3:30 – 5pm in the Central Office Conference Room. Please register for each module online via PD Express.

Module V: High-Quality Classroom Practices
Recommended Reading: Danielson FfT, Madeline Hunter, Rick Stiggins
Presenters: Dawn Laber, Keith Faust, Jamee Flaherty and Norma Lawless

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 OR Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Module VI: Utilizing Technology to Transform Student Learning
Presenters: Diana McGhee, Jody Johnson and Brian Mercer

Thursday, March 17, 2016 OR Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Upcoming February Calendar Events

February 9 - Board Meeting
February 15 - Presidents' Day - No School
February 24 - Late Arrival Day

Aesop Reminders

Please remember to enter your absence into Aesop before your start time! If it’s even one minute after your start time, Aesop will not let you enter your absence for that day. If this happens, only your school secretary, principal, Lisa Biltz or Mary Turner will be able to enter your absence.

Also, for any absence that is entered into Aesop less than 14 hours before the start time, Aesop will send the notification out to all available subs. We have determined that we cannot wait any later than that to ensure absences are filled. So, your favorites will receive advance notice of your absence only if the absence is entered into Aesop more than 14 hours in advance.

Extra/Co-Curricular Openings

Coaches are needed for the following positions:
  • Golf Coach - Girls
  • Tennis Coach - Assistant Girls

Contact HHS athletic director Matt Haskamp at 815.2607 for more information.


Congratulations to...

HMS social studies teacher Rick Rafferty who was selected as the WLW-T Teacher of the Week!
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Our Sympathies to...

Trinity Walsh (HHS) on the loss of her father-in-law, Henry Bang, on January 5.

Mike and Dawn Hils (HHS/WES) on the loss of his father, Martin "Mote" Hils, on January 8.

Diana McGhee (CO) on the loss of her mother-in-law, Hiroko McGhee, on January 15.

John Warford (HMS) on the loss of his mother, Helen Warford, on January 22.


Congratulations to...

the following HHS Art students who received an “honorable mention” and will be exhibiting their work at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in the regional scholastic exhibit.

  • Libby Birkley
  • Susan Kremer (2 pieces)
  • Emma Schutte
  • Paul Tully

the following HHS students who were selected to perform in the NKU Tristate Band Symposium:
  • Larken Laur
  • Hannah Winstel
  • Dalton Powell
  • Landon Schweitzer
  • Colin Seith
  • Dante Cata
  • Adrian Mester
  • Will Burnham
  • Michael Buschle
  • Tony DeRosa

the following HHS students who were selected to perform in the Northern Kentucky Select Band:

  • Michael Buschle
  • Eric Vennemann
  • Tony DeRosa
  • Noah Cooley
  • Dante Cata

HHS senior Adrian Mester who was selected to perform in the Kentucky All-State Percussion Ensemble!

the following HMS students who were selected to perform in the Northern Kentucky Select Band:
  • Peter Laskey
  • Maggie Cayton
  • Austin Hyder
  • Elliott Gillum
  • Braxton Broering
  • Gabby Foster

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