‘We’re just here to make it happen’: Big Sandy high schools recognized for college success rates

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Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 7:00 PM EDT
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EASTERN KENTUCKY (WYMT) - High Schools from across the region are being recognized for their role in helping students succeed in college.

“Whatever their dream is, we’re just here to make that happen,” said Floyd County Schools Superintendent Anna Shepherd.

More than 40 schools across the commonwealth were ranked on a national level by greatschools.org, with 11 of the schools located in Eastern Kentucky.

Superintendents in the Big Sandy region say students, staff, and support of the community are the biggest factors in their success.

“Having students in the setting where they realize we’re gonna be serious about educating them and and working hard toward meeting their goals, but then also in a setting where they’re going to enjoy and have experiences that that they can take with them as they move forward in life,” said Pikeville Independent Schools Superintendent David Trimble. “To help them to understand what success looks like. To help them understand that it looks different for every kid.”

Shepherd agreed that it is a different path for every kid, which is why the district offers different pathways to success. She said the college option is not for everyone, but making sure to support those who choose it is an important job for the district. she said it is all about supporting the students form an early age to build a foundation of success.

“Attendance, grades, what opportunities we have- you know, all of that starts when we enroll them in this school district,” said Shepherd.

Shepherd said the schools make a point to keep alumni connected, even after graduation, to help them succeed.

With Pikeville, Paintsville, Johnson Central, and Betsy Layne High Schools among those highlighted in the region, area superintendents say it is nice to see their students celebrated in this way.

“You don’t just spoon feed education to kids. You help to engage kids and help them to become problem solvers and individualized thinkers,” said Trimble.

The ratings are based on college enrollment, test scores, and the students returning to colleges and universities following their freshman year. The list has been released annually over the last five years.