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Attendees could earn up to 12 free hours of professional development or a credit under the Effect Instruction Leadership Act, which rewards educators who attend educational conferences. The event was divided into two days.
Trent Lovett, the superintendent of Marshall County Schools and one of the keynote speakers, spoke on Tuesday about the shooting at Marshall County High School in January 2018 and the role he played in assisting students, teachers, and parents.
“We had one student who had to be flown away,” Lovett said. “We had four more who were flown in later after being admitted to the hospital… We had a crime scene on our hands. Every parent in the Marshall County School system was eager to pick up their child – and I don’t blame them – but they couldn’t do so because they couldn’t enter the Marshall County campus. We couldn’t reunite them with their children because there was a crime scene.”
In order to reunite the parents with their children, Lovett said that the high school staff had to assist in the relocation of the students to a safer location so that the children and parents could be reunited in a timely manner.
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Gerry Brooks, the principal at Liberty Elementary, is seen in the video shredding layers of his clothing to raise awareness about the fact that many children in our community do not have the winter clothing they need to stay warm when the weather turns cold.
“So my point was that I absolutely love the cold, and I said ‘But,’ and then I took off all my outerwear and put on a thin sweatshirt,” Brooks explained. And I removed my insulated boots and replaced them with normal shoes, saying, “That’s what most of our kids have.”
“I’ve seen kids with paper towels in their shoes because their shoes were holey and they were cold. Since they didn’t have gloves, I’ve seen kids come in with towels wrapped around their hands,” Brooks says. “If we hadn’t been out, there would have been a lot of kids out in the cold without adequate cold-weather protection.”
“So it’s frustrating because people are challenging us because we’re the experts and we’re doing our hardest to make sure what we’re doing is best for students, best for families, and best overall.”
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Gerry Brooks, a Kentucky principal, admitted that “sometimes it’s hard – really hard…” for teachers in an online post that has reached over four million people. Thousands of teachers in Kentucky and Oklahoma marched in protest of salary increases, limited healthcare, and insufficient school funding on Monday, including the dedicated educator who works at Liberty Elementary School in Lexington. The rallies in Republican-dominated states were said to be sparked by a teacher strike in West Virginia earlier this year, with many speculating that Arizona educators would soon follow suit.
The protests continued Tuesday, with at least 234,000 students out of school in Oklahoma, as educators in the state fought for a higher pay rise than the 5% raise granted to West Virginia teachers last month.
Teachers in Kentucky are protesting during their spring break because they are not eligible for Social Security payments and will face dramatic changes if Gov. Matt Bevin signs a pension reform bill. The atmosphere surrounding the protests is said to be more energizing than in previous years. Andrew Beaver, a middle school math teacher, told The New York Times, “What I’m finding in Louisville is teachers are a lot more politically active than they were in 2015 or 2016.” “It’s a raging inferno.”
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On social media, Gerry Brooks, principal of Liberty Elementary School in Lexington, Kentucky, has over 850,000 fans. His videos about the realities of school life are hilarious, and educators can’t get enough of them. He discusses burnout, research, and unicorns in this video.
It’s because we’re going through similar experiences. What I’m seeing in Kentucky is identical to what’s occurring in Arkansas, Arizona, and Colorado. As a result, when I have a mad parent and we joke about it, the same parent is in a different school. At my events, I still paraphrase this C.S. Lewis quote: “True friendship is when you look at someone and say, “What are you talking about? Are you one of them? I figured I was the only one who felt this way.”
That is what makes us happy: When you have a student who is dreaming about their grandma getting six toes on one foot, or who wants to talk to you about unicorns, or who is excited about the tooth fairy, or something like that. Then there are the serious relationship-building talks you have with them in the upper grades. It seems ridiculous to us when they are stressed over a boyfriend breaking up with them that they thought they were going to marry, but when you’re 14, that’s your life.