LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — The nonprofit Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) will honor Jane Beshear, the First Lady of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, at the 24th annual SREB High Schools That Work Staff Development Conference this week in Louisville, Kentucky, for her dedication to improving graduation rates in Kentucky and ensuring more students are prepared for college and careers.
Through her "GRADUATE KENTUCKY" initiative, First Lady Beshear has drawn attention to the importance of graduating more Kentucky students and preparing them for college, advanced training and careers. The initiative is raising awareness of the dropout problem as a community issue, instigates community discussions of the issue and helps to develop action plans to address it.
GRADUATE KENTUCKY is a first-of-its-kind comprehensive statewide conversation not only understand to why students are contemplating dropping out of school, but also to share ideas and best practices of how communities and schools can play a pivotal role in reducing the dropout rate and creating a strategic vision for keeping children engaged in school.
"First Lady’s Beshear’s efforts to reduce the high school dropout rate, along with her long history of striving to improve adolescent literacy, are closely aligned with two of SREB’s major initiatives," said SREB Senior Vice President Gene Bottoms. "We commend Mrs. Beshear for the great progress she is making in improving education in Kentucky. "
First Lady Beshear has a long history of striving to improve education, with a particular focus on improving adolescent literacy. She is a Scholastic Reading Ambassador, encouraging children to read during their summer vacations. Mrs. Beshear began her own Reading Recommendations initiative in 2009 by releasing a list of 10 recommended books for children each season.
A graduate of the University of Kentucky and a former career/technical educator, Mrs. Beshear taught business education at Woodford County High School, which was a HSTW site for more than 10 years.
SREB’s single largest program, HSTW is a national, comprehensive school improvement design based on the premise that most students can master rigorous academic and career/technical studies if school leaders and teachers create a school environment that motivates all students to make the effort to succeed. More than 1,100 high schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia participate in the HSTW school improvement initiative. Nearly 6,000 teachers, principals and other educators are expected to attend this week’s conference in Louisville.
SREB, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, advises state education leaders on ways to improve education. SREB was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislatures to help leaders in education and government work cooperatively to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region. SREB has 16 member states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Each is represented by its governor and four gubernatorial appointees. For more information, visit www.sreb.org.