KCHS Presents High School Musical JR

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Kelsi (Emily Spencer) helps Troy (Benji Price) and Gabriella (Allison Black) learn their music before callbacks.

It’s the first day after winter break at East High. The Jocks, Brainiacs, Thespians and Skater Dudes all find their cliques. Basketball team captain and resident jock, Troy (senior Benji Price), discovers that the brainy Gabriella (junior Alison Black), a girl he met singing karaoke on his ski trip, has just enrolled at East High. The couple causes an upheaval when they decide to audition for the high school musical. Although many students resent the threat posed to the “status quo,” Troy and Gabriella’s alliance might just open the door for others to shine as well.

The cast also includes Sharpay (senior Kayla Luhn), Ryan (junior Corey Robinson), Chad (senior Kyle Roderick), and Taylor (sophomore Lisa Robinson).

Performances are March 1 @ 10am, March 2 @ 7pm, and March 3 @ 2pm and 7pm. KCHS Auditorium 25301 Lambs Meadow Road, Worton MD 21678. Tickets are available at the door. General admission is $10.

An Evening with the Arts

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Director of Kent County Arts Council, John Schratwieser, with student artist at the Saturday evening gala.

The Kent County Arts community turned out in force for a gala auction to support the installation of a mural at Kent County High School. Held Saturday, Feb. 24, at the Sultana Center in Chestertown, the affair raised $7500 for the project – as well as giving attendees a good look at the amazing width and depth of artistic talent on tap in Kent County schools.

Sponsored by the John Ben Snow Memorial Trust, Arts in Motion, the Kent County Arts Council, and the Carla Massoni Gallery, the affair drew roughly 100 attendees. Art by students and community members – including Tom McHugh, coordinator of Arts in Motion – was available for bidders in the silent auction. Another half-dozen items were reserved for a live auction later in the evening. In addition to the visual arts, live music was provided by Kent County Middle School and Kent County High School students, by Karen and Leon Frison, and by Sombarkin. And for the taste buds, a sumptuous buffet including fresh oysters, a variety of veggies and sweets was available, along with an open bar.

Model of the ship Sultana surrounded by delicious nibbles

John Schratwieser, director of the Kent County Arts Council, acted as master of ceremonies. He thanked the sponsors, and recognized Tom McHugh, who took on the role of Arts Coordinator for Kent County in 2016. “Every county in Maryland has one, but ours is the best,” Schratwieser said. The position includes fundraising for supplies, student trips, and supporting the arts faculty of the public school system.

Stephanie Spencer of the Kent County High School arts faculty described the community mosaic mural the gala was raising funds for. The school has received some funding from the state of Maryland, And mural artist Sue Stockman of St. Michaels has signed on to help design the mural, which will include images created by students to reflect “the beauty of the community.” Spencer also recognized Noele Morris, a visual arts teacher at KCHS who is a candidate for Kent County Teacher of the Year.

Chester River Collaborative Map Print by Kent County High School students brought the highest bid in the live auction.

The gala also recognized several Kent County Arts “Graduates of Distinction.” Honorees were Anne Massoni, currently professor of photography at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia; Robbi Behr, who with her husband Matthew Swanson is the creative force behind a series of illustrated books; Kyle Hackett, an award-winning painter who lectures on art at American University in Washington; and the members of the a capella trio barkin: Karen Somerville, Lester Barrett Jr, and Jerome McKinney, who performed two numbers for the audience.

Art works by elementary school students were also on display.  One especially clever work of “recycled art” was Trash Guy: A Coastal Cleanup Sculpture created by Henry Martinez, Teo O’Brien, Aryan Sharma, and Tayvion Wilson.  The accomanying sign for Trash Guy read “Our sculpture was made from material we found at the Coastal Cleanup. We came up with an idea and glued it together. It’s a man on a skateboard.  We painted the wood to look like a skateboard with a lightning strike and used cans as the wheels.”

“Over and Under” the Chesapeake Bay  

Trash Guy 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following a duet, “Through the Storm,” with Leon Frison on flugelhorn and his wife Karen on vocal, Chris Cerino took over for the live auction, giving a lively performance that brought smiles – and enthusiastic bids – from the attendees.

Six items were auctioned off, five of them by student artists representing each of the schools in the county. A large collage by four Kent County High School students drawing on images inspired by a visit to the Sultana Center was the top draw, selling to school board president Trish McGee. The artists were all present, walking the piece around for the audience to admire and to give prospective bidders a close up look. The next highest bid, at $650, was for a fishing charter for a party of 10 on the Chesapeake Bay with captain Greg Jetton on his beautiful boat Blind Faith.

Art Graduate of Distinction, Karen Somverville, with Tom McHugh, director of Arts in Motion

Art Graduate of Distinction Kyle Hackett (center) KCHS class of 2007 with his  former KCHS art teacher, Stephanie Spencer (left) and his mother, Diana Hackett (right)

 

All told, the live auction garnered $2,390 for the cause. That along with ticket sales, donations, and the silent auction brought the total to around $7,500 for the schools arts program.  A program–that as this evening proved–is inspiring wonderful young artists in Kent County.

We let the art speak for itself in the photo gallery below.  The mural project will be completed this spring.  Look for pictures of it in the Spy soon!

Photo Gallery:  Art work and music by students in Kent County Public Schools. Photography by Jane Jewell and Peter Heck. 

“Over and Under” – a collaborative work by 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students, depicts various life-forms that live both above and below the water in and around the Chesapeake Bay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Weaving Wonder” by 5th grade students at HH Garnet Elementary School using eight different watercolor techniques on individual strips which were then woven together.

Kent County Music teachers Keith Wharton and Charles Thai. Their students performed at the Saturday evening gala.

KCHS Concert Band members

 

 

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21st Century Learning: The Future of Education in Kent County, Part I –by Al Hammond

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You still hear people in Kent County say “Our public schools are so awful!” Some people probably view the busing fiasco last fall or the recent, painful consolidation of elementary schools (shrinking from five to three) as further evidence of decline, even though consolidation is likely to improve educational quality. But what seems clear is that few if any of the critics have recently visited a school and observed a classroom in action, or they might have noticed that a remarkable transformation is underway.

Guided by Superintendent Dr. Karen Couch, the schools are now in the fourth year of transitioning to an entirely new educational model—one that treats each child as unique and prepares them for life and work in the 21st century far more effectively than traditional methods. The effort is positioning Kent County schools to become a leader in what is now a nationwide movement toward the use of digital learning platforms.

The old model of education is sometimes described as a teacher on one end of a log and a student on the other—or, for most of us, a teacher at the blackboard and students taking notes. In that model, it was easy for students to get bored and stop paying attention, or for slow students to get left behind. So a visit to Kent County public schools might be a bit dis-orienting at first, as if you had stumbled into a different century. Students start having “hands-on” experiences in pre-kindergarten (see video here)  They are issued simplified laptops in kindergarten, start learning to “code” (write software for computers), and to understand how the internet works in 2nd grade, graduate to tablets and eventually full laptops in higher grades, and work with interactive digital tools throughout their education. Textbooks have largely disappeared—content comes in digital form, adjusted to the capabilities and needs of each individual student, and includes videos and soon virtual reality experiences that can illustrate the workings of a beating heart or how galaxies form.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the digital tools is their ability to monitor and test each student’s progress in learning in real time—making it virtually impossible for any student to just drift along. The digital platform also notices when a student has difficulty in a particular math activity or a weakness in vocabulary and can immediately reinforce the student’s learning in that area. It also keeps the teacher aware of each student’s progress, and keeps records. The digital platform supports a wide range of interactive resources—math visualizations, digital maps, competitions—that enhance learning and animate class discussions. A typical class might include a group learning activity (watching and responding to a video), an exercise conducted in a team of three or four students competing with other teams, and an individual activity where each student works alone on material appropriate to their learning level. Lesson reviews might take the form of a quiz show game, where students compete to choose the right answer. Homework assignments are on-line, and students use vetted on-line resources to research assigned topics and create and upload portfolios of their work, usually after collaborating on it with other students. A teacher can also take a class on a virtual field trip to the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, or major art museums anywhere in the world—quite something for students who have never been off the Eastern Shore. The impact of all this on students is significant: boredom seems largely banished. Teachers report that the digital learning experience engages students like nothing they have ever seen.

What’s the Evidence that Kent County Schools are Getting Better?

Critics of the school system point out that Kent County student scores on statewide achievement tests haven’t yet markedly improved.  With a few exceptions (algebra, for example), they’re correct. But it’s also true that the school system is still in the early years of a transition to a dramatically different educational model—it will take another 8 years before graduating seniors will have used the digital platform throughout their school experience.

Another factor is the small size of the County’s student population—so even a few bad scores drag down the averages—combined with the unusual level of economic diversity in the county’s population. A recent statewide survey found that 40 percent of Kent County households have incomes below the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) level—a more accurate gauge of economic constraints than federal poverty levels—which is the second highest percentage of constrained households on the Eastern Shore. In addition, Kent County receives a relatively small amount of state education aid per student—a result of the county’s relatively high amount of income and real property wealth (all those waterfront estates) and the way that is reflected in the state funding formula.

Kent County school officials believe that tests scores will improve. They also point to the fact that teachers from outside the county, attracted by the digital platform, are increasingly applying for any vacancies—the Kent County public schools are becoming a magnet for educational talent, which will help under any educational model. Still another assessment comes from the founder of LearnLaunch in Boston—the country’s leading “Ed-Tech” accelerator—who told this reporter that “the Kent County schools are clearly among the top 10% of districts in the US in their adoption and use of these new educational tools.” In fact, Kent County is the lead county in Maryland in the use of a digital educational platform; Baltimore County has recently decided to begin a similar transition. Furthermore, the County’s recent acquisition of its own fiber network and its plans to ensure near-universal internet access to households with students means that students can take advantage of the digital platform and its growing universe of content evenings and weekends too.

But both administrators and teachers in the school system say that the best—and for now, the only way—to really gauge the difference is to see the new educational model in action: to sit in a classroom and watch how students are engaged in learning.  Many parents, wondering if and how this new educational model really works and what their child does all day, would probably like to do just that—but don’t have the opportunity. So this reporter has visited and observed three classrooms in action—3rd grade math, 6th grade science, and 12th grade Advanced Placement psychology—and will in a second article offer his observations, together with videos of classrooms in action.

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But beyond the technology, what is really going on is an educational process that is far more student-centered than anything most adults have experienced. In an advanced math lesson, each student proceeds at their own pace, checking that they have understood a concept before moving on to the next material. The teacher, freed from lecturing, can monitor each student’s progress and intervene when a student seems stuck. Imagine a 3rd grade class doing a social studies lesson, all reading the same material, but with the vocabulary adjusted to fit the reading level of each individual student—which in Kent County can mean, as one teacher explained, “some kids who can barely read and others reading at 8th-grade level, but all able to engage and discuss the lesson together.”  The technology, in effect, helps bridge learning gaps, so slower students are neither left behind nor slow down the entire class.  The technology also allows the teacher to respond to different areas of interest within a class—“six different videos going at once, or the ability to project a student’s just-submitted portfolio onto the screen so the whole class can discuss it.” One teacher said “I was dubious and a bit intimidated at first.  Now I wouldn’t want to teach without my tablet and the digital platform—it makes things so much easier, and the kids learn better.”

How did this come about? It began with the recruitment of a visionary educator—Dr. Couch—who had begun to use digital tools in her previous assignment and had seen their impact. When she arrived in Kent County, the Governor’s office was offering an educational innovation grant—large enough to finance the equipment, software tools, and services needed to start a digital makeoverhere. So Dr. Couch and her team applied and won. The transformation has also involved strong support from the School Board and the County Commissioners, who have supported Dr. Couch’s plans with additional budget.

A second factor depended on engaging and empowering teachers. Dr. Couch recruited 22 teachers who were interested in the new educational model and willing to become part of a “digital leader corps” to be trained as the initial users of the digital platform. It involved a three-year commitment by those teachers, with 15 days of off-site training as well as near constant mentoring by phone and email from an expert coach. Some of that initial corps were understandably a bit uncertain whether the extra effort would be worth it.  Within a year, however, the doubts disappeared: the teacher corps has become both advocates of the digital tools and a resource for other teachers, helping to spread expertise through the system. Teachers especially appreciate the intensive coaching, and say that even on a Sunday evening, struggling to prepare digital materials for class the next day, they could email their coach and get immediate help. A new corps—eight more teachers—entered the training process this school year. In two more years, when the current corps finishes their training, the majority of the district’s teachers will be highly skilled in the use of the digital platform and its interactive tools.

A third factor is the rise of what is now called the Ed Tech revolution—hundreds of companies developing digital tools and content that facilitate improved, individualized learning. One of the leaders in this new industry—and the source of the primary digital content for Kent County schools—is Discovery Education. Created in 2009 as a division of the Discovery Channel, the company began by selling classroom videotapes drawn from their successful nature and science cable channel. But they soon realized that kids interact with digital content in a different way than they do with books or simple video tapes. So they began to create a digital platform for schools and a unique kind of digital content: for social studies classes, material with vocabulary that could be adjusted to a child’s current reading level; for science and math classes, interactive content that kids found more engaging and helped them to visualize or understand concepts better.  The result is what are now digital “textbooks” spanning a wide range of content for k-12 classes and designed to enable students to learn in the way that suits them best. The Discovery educational materials can even read themselves out loud for students who can’t yet read, or provide content in another language such as Spanish for students still learning English. The Kent County digital educational platform also includes Google’s educational apps that include unlimited digital storage, Google Expeditions (the virtual fieldtrips), Google Cardboard (virtual reality tools), and Google Classroom, which tracks kids’ progress and handles administrative records for teachers, enabling almost paperless schools.

Discovery Education also provides the intensive off-site training for teachers as well as the coaches that help teachers with day-to-day use of the materials and tools. Teachers seem to love the tutorial sessions and they say that the company introduces them to a wide range of available tools (many new ones crop up every year), not just those made by Discovery Education. As a result, Discovery Education has become a clear leader in fostering the digital transformation of education—their content is now used in half of the k-12 classrooms in the U.S. and by some 50 million students overseas in more than 50 other countries. Tens of thousands of teachers across the U.S. are using these tools to prepare digital lesson plans, sharing them with each other online, and rating their effectiveness. Teachers in Kent County usually create their own digital lesson plans, but they can also—and do—choose from the best of those already on-line.

The aim of Kent County public school’s new education model is not only to teach traditional subjects—English, math, science, social studies—more effectively, but also to teach critical skills that will be needed in the 21st century workforce. These include skills in teamwork and collaboration, as well as the technical ability to use and program smart digital devices and interactive digital content (See Box below: Hands-On Training in IT Skills) and the intellectual ability to evaluate ideas and content critically. Such skills –both the teamwork and critical thinking skills, as well as the technical skills—are likely to become more and more essential for getting and keeping a job, especially as robots and artificial intelligence invades the workplace.  For that reason, there is now a renewed focus on teaching such skills across the U.S. as well as internationally. In Maryland alone there are currently more than 100,000 unfilled positions in such areas as cybersecurity, computer system maintenance, or IT application development. So Kent County’s 21st century approach to education is clearly going to be advantageous for the students, as well as for local businesses.

But the stakes go beyond equipping today’s students. Already the most valuable U.S. companies are so-called “platform businesses” that build and maintain vast IT-based networks connecting billions of users—think Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Uber. These companies are very profitable, highly efficient, and increasingly global in their reach. Many business analysts now believe that such companies will dominate nearly every sector of the economy. Although the U.S. now leads in digital education and Ed-Tech tool development, China is accelerating its investment in these areas as well, and it too has platform businesses with global ambitions.  So training an IT-savvy workforce is likely to be important for the future of U.S. economic competitiveness.

For Kent County, with its coming new high-speed internet infrastructure and a new industrial park in progress that hopes to attract sophisticated businesses and new residents, a high-quality public school system attuned to the skills that today’s job market increasingly needs is an essential requirement. Fortunately, that seems well on the way to becoming a reality.

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Hands On Training in IT Skills

Kent County public schools are unique in expecting students to complete both a college-prep curriculum and a Career Technical Training (CTE) curriculum focused on practical skills, which more than 80 percent of students complete. Now the latter is being expanded to include information technologies. The schools already teach coding (programming digital devices) because, as Dr. Laura Jacob—the new head of technology for the school system—says, “programming is the next literacy.” Dr. Jacob has only been here since the summer, but already she serves on a committee that is establishing Maryland K-12 computer science standards. She also applied for and won a Google grant for Kent County (the only Maryland school district to win one) that is enabling 6th – 8th graders to learn more advanced programming and app development in bi-weekly after-school sessions. The students then work with local businesses to put those skills to practical use—micro-coding the controls for a fan at Dixon Valve was one of the first projects. A comparable program for high school students will focus on “ethical hacking”, helping organizations test their on-line security systems. These will be part of a new K-12 digital skills CTE curriculum that Jacob is organizing and that will culminate with an Advanced Placement computer science course for high school seniors.

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Photography by Laura Jacob

 

Support Our Schools Starts Random Acts of Kindness Campaign

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The members of the Support Our Schools (SOS) initiative are pleased to announce the return of the Random Acts of Kindness campaign for Kent County Public Schools. Our goal is to raise $5,000 to help ensure every child gets to fully participate in school.

All of Kent County’s public schools are considered high poverty schools. Because of this, there are many times during the school year when school principals are faced with children that cannot afford lunch, field trip fees, school activities, or other regular expenses. Rather than exclude students from an activity, they cover the expense. The Random Acts of Kindness campaign aims to raise funds to cover these unexpected day-to-day expenses. Distribution of the funds is made by the school principals based on need.

Last year, SOS, completed its first “Random Acts of Kindness” campaign for Kent County Public Schools. The group set an ambitious goal of $5,000 and thanks to the generosity of the community, surpassed that goal by almost $1,000 for a total of $5,921.58. This amount was divided between the seven local public schools to offset unexpected year-end expenses.

February 11 – 16, 2018 is Random Acts of Kindness week. KCPS principals and teachers will be on the lookout for students performing acts of kindness this week. Each morning students will be reminded about spreading kindness and encouraged to reach out to their friends and classmates. Students will be recognized by their school for their kind acts.

SOS will be accepting donations for the Random Acts of Kindness campaign through the month of February. Donations can be made online using the following link – www.sosrandomactsofkindness.com. SOS have special sponsorship packages for Businesses and Organizations. More info can be found on their website.

The Support Our Schools (SOS) Initiative is a grassroots advocacy effort devoted to increasing awareness of and support for the needs, challenges, and untapped potential of our public school system—both for the sake of the current student population and for its opportunity to serve as a catalyst for economic development. For more information on the Support Our Schools initiative please visit our website www.kcpssos.com.

KCPS Early Childhood Education Investments Yield High Returns!

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Congratulations to Kent County Public Schools (KCPS) Kindergarteners for achieving the top ranking in Maryland on the 2017-18 Maryland Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA)! WAY TO GO!!!

On Monday, January 29th, the Maryland State Department of Education released Maryland KRA scores for the 2017-2018 school year. The statewide average for kindergarten students demonstrating readiness is 45% percent, up from 43% percent in 2016-2017. Kent County kindergarteners outperformed their peers to achieve the #1 Maryland ranking; 62% percent demonstrated readiness, up 18% percent from last year’s scores. Equitable access to Universal Pre-Kindergarten and enriched learning environments has provided Kent County kindergarteners with a solid foundation that helped them outperform students in other jurisdictions. Kent County was only one of nine school systems that demonstrated gains of more than 15%. KCPS continues to narrow the achievement gap and for the first time, African American students in kindergarten outperformed their peers by 2%.

This is the fifth year KCPS has offered full day Universal Pre-Kindergarten programs to every four-year-old who resides in Kent County. Despite tough economic times, the Kent County Board of Education and Superintendent Karen Couch has continued to invest in early childhood education. They recognize children who attend high quality preschool programs gain critical skills needed for future academic success and early interventions mean children are less likely to require special education services. Quality early learning instruction and Universal Pre-Kindergarten programs are offered at no cost to KCPS families and the investment is beginning to pay huge dividends. Eighty-nine percent (89%) of KCPS children enrolled in Kindergarten were enrolled in the KCPS Universal Pre-Kindergarten program, with fifty-two percent (52%) living in low-income households and eleven percent (11%) with identified
disabilities.

As evidenced by the KRA scores, KCPS teachers, principals, and support staff are doing an excellent job for the students in Kent County and achieving great results. Congratulations to KCPS for making early childhood and school readiness a top priority!

KCHS Seasonal Sensations Dinner and Concert Dec. 13

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Members of the KCHS Jazz Band in concert

Kent County High School Music presents the 10th annual Seasonal Sensations Dinner, Jazz Concert and Silent Auction,  6 p.m Dec. 13 at Kent County High School Cafeteria

Enjoy a meal prepared by skilled Kent County High School Culinary Arts students while seasonal music selections are performed by our talented Kent County High School Jazz Band and Chorus students. Purchase your tickets early, seating is limited!

Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children under the age of 12.  Tickets can be picked up at the door the evening of the event. Please R.S.V.P. to Marlayn at marlayn@atlanticbb.net to reserve your tickets.

 

Kent County Public Schools Strategic Planning Committee to Hold Special Meeting, Monday, Nov. 27

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The Kent County Public Schools Strategic Planning Committee of the Kent County Board of Education is holding a special meeting for the purpose of discussing long-term facilities planning.  The meeting will be held on Monday, November 27, 2017, at 4:30 pm.  The meeting will be held at the Kent County High School Media Center, 25301 Lambs Meadow Road, Worton, Maryland  21678

Members of the Kent County Board of Education are Trish McGee, president; A. Bryan Williams, vice president; Jeff Reed, member; Dr. Wendy Costa, member; and Joseph Goetz, member. Karen Couch is superintendent of schools.

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Help Our Student Radio – Support WKHS!

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Chris Lobely, senior at KCHS and member of the Trojans’ football team

It’s fundraiser time at WHKS radio, the on-air voice of Kent County High School. Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 14 and continuing through Friday, Nov. 17, the student disc jockeys and announcers will be seeking the community’s help to purchase equipment and perform needed upgrades to the station. The fundraiser runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. To make a pledge, call 410-778-4249 or 410-778-8100 or click here.

Station manager and instructor Chris Singleton said on Monday that the station seeks to raise $20,000 to $25,000 for structural renovations and to replace outmoded equipment. Needed renovations include upgrading the soundproofing of studios — including replacing the deteriorating foam on the walls — and bringing in new furniture to make them more “guest-friendly. The radio station has also expanded into the old photographic dark room where students used to develop their own pictures before digital cameras.

Vincent Wilson, KCHS senior and WKHS radio student announcer

Among the equipment needed is a new audio console, at about $10,000. Professional quality microphones can cost $400 each.With these upgrades, and others done this past summer, the station will have state-of-the-art equipment, comparable to that of many medium-market commercial stations, Singleton said.

On air for more than 43 years, WKHS is one of the most powerful student radio stations in the country, boasting 17,500 watts for a clear signal as far as sixty miles away. The station has been an educational platform for students and a labor of love for volunteers who provide on-air talent during the evening.

Alison Rameika, KCHS senior and WKHS radio student announcer

The student disc jockeys present an eclectic mix of music — pop and rock hits spanning 40 years, Singleton said.  Student announcers get the world, national, and state news from the Associated Press as well as local news adapted in part from Chestertown Spy stories.  The students get practice in writing through re-writing news stories in their own words.

In addition to the student hours, local adult volunteers conduct shows daily during evening hours, including the evening programming includes Bill Staples “Big Band,” “Honky Tonk Jukebox,” and “Bluegrass” shows on Wednesdays; Lain Hawkridge’s “Musicology” show, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays; Ron Lockwood’s “Thrill of the Night,” 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays, and Bill Wright’s “Road Trippin’,” 8 p,m. to midnight, Thursdays. The station simulcasts the University of Pennsylvania radio station, WXPN, during non-local broadcasting hours. See the station’s website for a complete schedule.

Between 35 and 50 students are involved in the station at any given time. Singleton estimated that some 1,200 to 1,500 students had taken part in the program over the years. Among them are June Fox, a 1982 grad now working with a high school station in Seattle, and Camri McKee, now the floor director at the WBAL TV (Channel 11) morning news show in Baltimore.

Any list of graduates of the program should include Singleton himself, who graduated from KCHS in the early 1980s. He returned to the station as a part time engineer while he was in college. Then beginning in 1989. Singleton became working part-time at the radio station. He stayed on as a part-time engineer until ten years ago, when he became full-time, adding on duties as an instructor. He described his current position as “instructor, station manager, engineer, chief cook and bottle washer – the whole nine yards.”

The last couple of years, WKHS has also had the services of Ken Collins, formerly of WCTR radio, as a part-time fundraiser.

While many students go on to study broadcasting and communications at college, Singleton said that the high school station gives them all the skills they need to get a job in broadcasting. Students also are taught the basics of marketing including branding, reaching an audience, and creating quality content, Singleton said.

But long-term and more importantly, these students are doing more than just having fun while learning career skills. They are gaining a deeper understanding of all communication media – from television, social media, movies, to broadcast news in all its myriad formats.  These students will not be as easily taken in by “fake” news or other scams, in whatever areas of their life they may meet them.  The Kent County High School radio program combines academic skills with hands-on experience that enriches their lives and provides a community service.

The school system pays the basic costs of operating the student radio station such as overhead, maintenance, and consumables but there is no extra budget — especially in these days of monetary constraints — for modernizing the studio and its equipment.  Some of the equipment is 30 years old.  There has been a lot of technological advances in the past 30 years!

B K Saunders, KCHS senior and WKHS radio student

WKHS is owned and operated by Kent County Public Schools. The studios and transmitter are located on the campus of Kent County High School, 25301 Lambs Meadow Road, Worton. The broadcasting program is a Kent County High School Career Technology Education pathway and is staffed with students in grades 10-12 during school operating hours.

 

WKHS Old Radio Equipment that the station hopes to replace with state-of-the-art audio equipment.

WKHS – The first of the new modern radio equipment. This industry-standard equipment was installed last summer just before the start of the new semester.

 

 

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School Board to Meet With Facilities Planning Committee

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The Kent County Board of Education is holding a work session with the Facilities Strategic Planning Committee on Monday, November 13 from 4 to 6 p.m.  The meeting will be held at the Kent County Board of Education Administration Building, 5608 Boundary Avenue, Rock Hall.

The regular November monthly Board of Education meeting is also scheduled for November 13, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. There will be a closed session meeting from 6 to 6:30 p.m.