Making a Difference:
KET Education Services

We make sure every minute matters, and our test scores are showing it.

Tonya Bentley-Williams

Media Resources Coordinator, May Valley Elementary School

Tucked away among the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Kentucky, May Valley Elementary School has achieved something that even schools in wealthier districts have not: a rise in test scores that exceeds the state’s goal a full seven years ahead of schedule.

“Our scores have jumped in the past two years—and that’s in the two years we’ve used KET EncycloMedia religiously,” said May Valley library media resources coordinator Tonya Bentley-Williams. “The great thing about it is, [teachers] can pull the clips they need that illustrate the point they’re trying to make.

“We make sure every minute matters,” she added, “and our test scores are showing it.”

Such a climb in scores may seem just shy of a miracle. Ten years ago, the district was under state management, and the school’s test composites hovered around the 50-point mark.

Today? May Valley’s total academic index for school year 2007 was 121.9.

“The goal is to have all schools at 100 by 2014,” said Kentucky Department of Education spokesperson Lisa Gross. “They have made pretty remarkable progress.”

A lot of effort has been poured into that achievement, from the district leadership on down. The board has instituted sound new policies and procedures, with a firm emphasis on instruction. And Bentley-Williams, a Knott County native and graduate of Morehead State University, also attributes much of it to the school’s extensive use of KET’s educational services.

“I can say KET EncycloMedia is truly an integral part in what has helped us become [a] number one school in the state,” Bentley-Williams said of the 350-student school, 75 percent of whom participate in the free or reduced-cost lunch program.

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KET EncycloMedia is just one of the many KET educational programs and services used at May Valley. Required to teach dance by state standards, Bentley-Williams, like teachers all over the state who haven’t been schooled in dance instruction, turns to the Dance Toolkit and the instructional series DanceSense for reliable, standards-based materials.

Floyd County Schools Superintendent Henry Webb compliments the May Valley teachers for being quick to utilize KET resources and instructional technology.

“From just basic instructional tools to the arts and humanities toolkits, KET has just really been a huge asset to the educational growth in our county,” he said. “I think many of our teachers will tell you that.”

Social studies teachers at May Valley regularly use the KET-produced Electronic Field Trips, particularly those to the Mountain Homeplace and Forts Harrod and Boonesborough. For geography instruction, there’s KET’s series Kentucky GeoQuest.

Bentley-Williams has also turned to PBS for supplemental materials in instruction, citing her use of the Arthur series and its accompanying web site for help in illustrating a 3rd-grade lesson on the differences between fact and opinion.

Science and social studies teachers use KET EncycloMedia on a daily basis, and there’s not a classroom in the school that hasn’t used it or another of KET’s elementary instructional programs or services.

“I can tell you that [KET EncycloMedia] has been very successful in helping our teachers reach a lot of our kids in our classrooms—as well as other KET training and opportunities for professional development,” added Superintendent Webb.

“I know our arts and humanities teachers really like those toolkits. And of course all the programs—the numerous things KET does—have been significant in helping us get to where we need to be.”