New Fayette superintendent advocates school-day waiver

The Fayette County Board of Education will consider action Monday night designed to foster innovative learning programs, such as a new academy at Crawford Middle School.

Superintendent Tom Shelton said he would ask board members to authorize a request to the Kentucky Department of Education that would free Fayette County schools from regulations that generally limit school learning opportunities to the regular school day.

"With the current school calendar structure, learning and credit really are based on what happens during the school day," Shelton said. "But with this waiver, we wouldn't be bound to the constraints of the calendar."

Daviess County Schools, where Shelton was superintendent before coming to Lexington, was one of the first six districts in Kentucky to obtain such a waiver.

Now, Shelton wants Fayette to do the same.

Shelton said it would open the way for more "third-generation learning" programs that could provide educational experiences for students outside the classroom, after hours or possibly even on snow days.

Among other things, officials say, it would benefit the planned Carter G. Woodson Academy, scheduled to open at Crawford Middle School next August. It will feature challenging academic classes in language, math, science and other subjects; individual mentoring; after-school tutoring; and hands-on enrichment in various fields.

Patterned after the successful Black Males Working program at First Baptist Church Bracktown, the Woodson Academy is planned as a joint community/school-district effort.

Its namesake, Carter G. Woodson, was a black historian, author, journalist and educator who received a bachelor's degree from Berea College. He was the second African-American to earn a doctorate from Harvard University.