Harlan County School Board hears Gear Up update

Published 10:54 am Wednesday, April 5, 2023

The Harlan County School Board addressed multiple business items, including the impact of a Gear Up grant on the district during the panel’s monthly meeting for March.

Board Chairman Gary Farmer called on Superintendent Brent Roark to bring the board up to speed on the Gear Up grant.

“I’d like to start by asking Lisa Lewis if she would introduce our friends from Gear Up,” Roark said. “We have Christian Callahan with us. He’s going to be doing the presentation. Ms. Lewis is over Gear up for us, and she’s going to do a quick overview of the program.”

Roark told the board Gear Up has helped provide resources and personnel at the district.

“With Gear Up combined with Save the Children, I don’t know that our children have ever had more resources in Harlan County Schools provided to them,” Roark said.

Lewis advised the Gear Up program is in its second year.

“This is the second year of our Gear Up grant,” Lewis said. “This particular grant, we have five academic interventionalists. They work with math, reading and the students directly. We also have seven career and college navigators; they provide opportunities for our students to go on college visits. They also do a lot of work with the families doing college fairs and providing different opportunities.”

Lewis explained Gear Up has provided many materials for students before turning the podium over to Callahan.

“I want to thank you all for allowing me to present tonight,” Callahan said. “We are in year two, and we will be moving out of year two in September, and we will continue serving your students.”

According to Callahan, since Aug. 1, 2022, 844 families have received assistance from Gear Up, and 1,691 activities have been provided to those families. Over 3,000 Harlan County Schools students have benefited from Gear Up.

“The most important number I want to highlight today is that 37,996 total hours from Aug. 1, 2022, until now have been provided in tutoring and homework assistance,” Callahan said.

Callahan wrapped up by recognizing Academic Interventionalist Bobby Dixon and Program Manager Edna Burkhart.

“That’s all I have for tonight. I’d like to thank you again for allowing me to speak,” Callahan said.

The board then moved on to the Superintendent’s Report, which included an update on a musical event scheduled at Harlan County High School.

“The Louisville Orchestra is coming to the high school in May,” Roark said. “This is a very big deal.”

Roark said this is one of three stops the Louisville Orchestra will be making in eastern Kentucky.

In other board activity:

• The 2022-2023 school calendar was amended with the last day of school for students set on Tuesday, May 23.

• The 2023 Harlan County High School graduation ceremony was set for May 21.

• The board approved the school calendar for 2023-2024.