United Communities to Advance our Neighborhoods, (UCAN) Inc.

"YOU CAN Change the World!"

Events and News Articles  (Scroll down to Advocacy Links)

Upcoming or Recent Education or Community Events/Issues


Congratulations to our president, Brenda Martin, who says, "I'm so honored of being inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. "So proud of Jim, Kayla and Caleb Martin by my side in Louisville and Jocelyn,  Cameron, Raydia and family who couldn't make it."

Congratulations to Kentucky Conference NAACP President, Raoul Cunningham, on receiving the prestigious Georgia Powers Award! — with Caleb Martin at Kentucky Center for African American Heritage




 CONGRATULATIONS to the Nuckolls family on Mr. CB Nuckolls being inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights HALL of FAME who served over 40 years as Principal of BTWS!  Proud of his family including his brother,his wife and pictured here with his granddaughter-Tonya Nuckolls Smith​, her husband-Nick, and child! :)





BTWS MURAL in Ashland, KY 

(Principal CB Nuckolls on left)


   Join the

Booker T. Washington School

Mural Ribbon Cutting

And More!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 5:30p

at Ashland Depot (Transportation Center)

99 15th Street in Ashland, KY

Hosted by Ashland In Motion

All are Welcome!!


Read Daily Independent article BTWS MURAL Debuted 


ATTENTION: Here is some information I gathered from calling around and researching- Bren:

National Suicide Prevention

For #MentalHealth #SuicidePrevention in our Tri-State:
Walk-in for Assessment (Minor (usually) needs legal guardian)

KY: Pathways Crisis Center
201 22nd St Ashland, KY 41101

WV: Riverpark Hospital
1230 6th Avenue 25701
http://www.riverparkhospital.net/ in Huntington, WV

OH: Shawnee Family Health Center
901 Washington Street Portsmouth, OH 45662


Training on Suicide Prevention 

Sources of Strength is an evidence-based, mental health wellness program that utilizes the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture to ultimately prevent suicide, bullying, violence, and substance abuse.

If  you have questions not answered on referenced web links or provided on this flyer, please contact cathy.prothro@ky.gov
Wednesday, August 30 Somerset
Campbellsville University/Somerset Campus
Thursday, Sept 7 Madisonville
Baptist Health Hospital
Medical Park II Bldg 8th floor
Monday, Sept 11 Louisville
CENTERSTONE/Linn Station Road
Wednesday, Sept 13 Lexington
Lexington-Fayette County Health Department
Thursday, Sept 14 Morehead
111 E First St, Morehead, KY 40351 
 (Last Training above)


 April 11th in Covington

for a discussion on childhood poverty & .

Terry Brooks is the longtime director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. Mr. Brooks will discuss childhood poverty in our region, the state, and the nation. He’ll be joined by a reflection panel of local experts.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.



Kentucky Legislation Passed for Kids-

Thank your Legislators!


National Poetry Month-April

Write/Share a POEM for a loved one.....


Every Student Succeeds Act (2017):

Under the as yet unnamed system, schools would be evaluated on how well they perform on five indicators: Proficiency, Achievement Gap Closure, Student Growth (elementary and middle school only), Transition Readiness and Opportunity and Access. Each indicator includes multiple measures. Some will be reported only; others will figure into a school’s overall accountability rating. Data will be reported online in a dashboard format that better illustrates school/district progress or deficits than a single number. Data will be reported by student group where available to create more transparency on where gaps may exist.

Because it is important that this new system continues to be developed with the input of all​ shareholders,  Commissioner Pruitt once again will be hosting a series of Education Town Hall Meetings across the state to determine what Kentuckians think about various aspects of the system.



Kentucky Superintendent Tours 

(Click here for full list.)


Monday, April 17, 2017 6:30-8:00pm est.  

Rowan County Senior High School -- Performing Arts Center

499  Viking Drive   Morehead, KY    


                                         Monday, May 1, 2017  6:30-8:00pm est.                                            

Henderson County Schools Professional Development Center
       631 North Green Street   Henderson, KY   

To read Brenda Martin's blog on the previous tour, click here.



 The U.S. Department of Education released a new guide for states to use while developing their education plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). While ESSA requires meaningful stakeholder engagement, the new guide does not compel states to include a description of how they are engaging stakeholders while developing their plans. National PTA is extremely disappointed that stakeholder engagement is no longer prioritized in the new guide.



National PTA


Kentucky Parent Info 


President's Budget Impact on Rural Areas/Education


Apr 1

Mom Congress Rep (KY) Brenda Martin Importance of Quality Childcare and Other Aspects of Education


IDEA FESTIVAL at ACTC March 10, 2017


Diversity Forum at ACTC February 10, 2017

with Keynote Dr. Roger Cleveland

Students from Ashland, Boyd County and Greenup County, etc.  Also, pictured are ACTC Diversity Director, Al Baker; OUSC Diversity Director, Robert Pleasant; ACTC Student President Multicultural Affairs; Ashland Independent Schools Chief Accountant, Kristen Martin; et.al.




Opinion on Charter Schools Possibility in Kentucky

National PTA Position Statement



  1. In order to prevent any service reductions and maintain equity for all students, public charter schools must not divert funding from existing non-charter public schools.
  2. Charter Schools must ensure access for all children, be free of tuition and be reflective of district population.
  3. Charter schools must be subject to the same assessment, accountability standards, and certification as non-charter public schools, in order to ensure high quality education for all children.
  4. Charter schools must adhere to the service standards for students with special needs (IEP, 504 plans), including which entity is to be the local education agency (LEA) responsible for providing these services and how they are to be funded.
  5. Charter schools must meaningfully engage parents in transparent authorizing, review, and any decision making processes, including the involvement of at least two parents on all levels of charter boards.

 NAACP Position:

We are calling for a moratorium on the expansion of the charter schools at least until such time as:
(1) Charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools
(2) Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system
(3) Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate and
(4) Charter schools cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.

Historically the NAACP has been in strong support of public education and has denounced movements toward privatization that divert public funds to support non-public school choices.

“We are moving forward to require that charter schools receive the same level of oversight, civil rights protections and provide the same level of transparency, and we require the same of traditional public schools,” Chairman Brock said. “Our decision today is driven by a long held principle and policy of the NAACP that high quality, free, public education should be afforded to all children.”

The NAACP is open to learning about the nuances of charter schools across the nation.

President's Support:

President Donald Trump supports school choice programs such as charter schools and tuition vouchers that allow families to spend taxpayer money to send their children to private schools. Michigan’s Betsy DeVos, a proponent of both, is Secretary of Education.


UCAN is proud to be a partner with Kentucky Youth Advocates


Join us on Children's Advocacy Day

at the Capitol in Frankfort

February 9, 2017 9:00-2:00pm

Visit here for the KY Blueprint of Issues:

Fact Sheets


Church Mural Fundraisers


 Help us to Raise "Moe Money Moe Money!"


 NAACP and UCAN, Inc

Voter Registration

at Greenup County Main Library 508 Main St.

September 30, 2016  4:00pm-6pm



In order to be eligible to vote in the November 8, 2016, general election, you must submit your voter registration application by 4 p.m., local time, on October 11, 2016 in Kentucky.



If you have questions concerning registration deadlines to vote in upcoming local option elections, please contact your county clerk.



Mr. Webb teaching Social Studies with Emancipation Legacies Trifold Exhibit

at RMS May 2016 sponsored by UCAN, Inc.

Russell Middle School acknowledges UCAN, Inc provision of Historic Exhibit

This is a Gilder Lehrman exhibit in partnership

with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center..


Principal Moore of Russell Middle School with 8th grader Jocelyn and mother, Brenda Martin, UCAN, Inc President. Thanks to RMS, RIS and ALL they do on behalf of students!! Congratulations to RUSSELL's victories in Governors' Cup, Science Olympiad, History Team, KUNA, Dance Team, Soccer and so much more!

Special Thanks to UCAN, Inc. Board members, Robert Pleasant, Diversity Chair of  Ohio University; Former Missionary Presidents: Jackie Helem (Ashland) and Gaynell Drummer (Chicago)

Education Town Hall with Ed Commissioner

Dr. Stephen Pruitt at KEDC in Ashland during 11 school tour:

 "This listening tour will be an opportunity for all education shareholders to provide input to the Kentucky Department of Education on the design of a new education accountability system that will be used as the basis to improve our schools and celebrate their educational progress. The goal is to produce a system that is fair, reliable, valid and easier to understand."

I was glad  to make the following points (Click here to see my blogs)

1. Resources must be better allocated to fulfill the needs of our students, staff and school. We must establish a better way of correlating money spent to outcome to better ascertain some of our Return on Investment. This would help as we continuously strive to create and measure school success.

2. I expect more support for Parent/Family Engagement. "Characteristics" that we value must be better defined so that we know when we have achieved it.  For example, we seek measures and processes that have "reliability".  What percentage of reliability must exist before we can label something as "reliable"? Realistically,  100% is too high and 50% is too low. How is it achieved?  When parents & staff can better understand our goals, challenges and accomplishments, we can better support our children and better measure student success.

3. Most teachers do a wonderful job!  However,  they must alternate their teaching strategies to adjust or better identify students' best learning stylesThis must be done before students resign thinking they just are not smart enough when they might understand more when taught and study differently. (However, teachers must also discern when more focus, flexibility, or more pushing away from one's comfort zone is needed for students and teachers.) This can better ensure that all students are successful.

4. Even though "inclusion" is important in the classroom, we must devise a fairer way of assessing tests and labeling test outcomes that includes recognition of student challenges.  Ie., Is it fair to compare two students the same who run in a race and one student has two legs and another has one? I know it is not easy, as we want fair methods that include everyone and allow them all to feel a sense of pride for their individual situations and results. (We must also ensure that funding is available to execute mandatory 504 Plans under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - which requires states to provide a “free appropriate public education” to all students with disabilities and IEPs for specific kinds of disabilities; other requirements under IDEA; as well as ample funding for gifted education.) This can also help to ensure that all students are successful and we can celebrate all students inclusively!

I am grateful our new state education commissioner is taking time to visit different area and not only talk to various constituents but "to listen."   I was very inspired by the comments by the elementary and high school students, teachers, administrators and community partners who shared good ideas for making our schools better for our children.  As our Russell Independent Schools Superintendent, Sean Horne, states, "It's about kids." 

I look forward to seeing our input become a part of the new accountability system and providing feedback on it in November.  (See timeline below.) It would be even more awesome to have a seat at the table as a stakeholder in the process of making our children, schools and communities more successful and accountable. I love advocating for children and I too enjoy watching Frasier. You see, "I'm listening" also.

  (For more comments and pictures from this event, follow #KyEdListens and (@kydeptofed) on Twitter or facebook.) 

Additionally, those who are unable to attend the
meetings, will still have the opportunity to submit their
suggestions and comments at: KyEdListens@education.ky.gov

(Also in the photo above is Kathy Sutterman of the Kentucky Arts Council. Photo by Becky Blessings, KDE Director of Communications.)



April 18th is deadline to

#Register to Vote‬ in Kentucky

to vote in May 17th Primary Election!

You can Now Register ONLINE!!


Click here to Check your Registration Status 



We (UCAN, Inc) will help register people

to vote Mon, April 18th at Noon

(14th College Drive)

in the newly dedicated

Wendell Banks Student Lounge

Click here for more information on Who Can Vote!



The deadline to register for West Virginia’s May 10 primary is Tuesday. You must register to vote by close of business April 19, 2016 in order to vote in the May 10, 2016 Primary. This deadline also applies to a change of address or party change.

Go to West Virginia’s online voter registration site.


VOTER Registration information by STATE


 So proud of our Museum and all supporters of

Dancing with Our Stars for raising over $80,000!!

February 6-Dancing with Our Stars

You can support our founder in this Museum Fundraiser by clicking below 

$1=1 vote for Couple#10

martin_brenda martinpayne_rick official
Celebrity: Brenda Martin, National PTA Social Media Ambassador and former member of the

National PTA Communication Committee
Pro: Rick Payne, dancer and performer for the Paramount Arts Center
Donate to vote for Couple #10-Brenda Martin and Rick Payne




Thanks to Ashland Community and Technical College (ACTC), Highlands Museum

Ex. Dir Carol Allen, the BHM Committee, patrons and supporters for all you do! 

 February 18-Gospel Night
February 20-Apollo Night at Ashland Community and Technical College
February 28-Super Sunday at Ashland Community and Technical College

Please share ideas for celebrities you would like to see highlighted during Apollo Night or future Black History Month programs. Email Brenda Martin -UCAN Change on Facebook, ucanhelp@windstream.net Subject:"Apollo Night", 606-571-0917or contact Al Baker at ACTC, 606-326-2000! Also visit UCAN's website at http://ucanchange.webs.com.




Selected Articles by or related to Brenda Martin:

Civil Rights Leaders 

_ Mental Health, Suicide and School Support-

- Shooting Down Violence

- Emerging Minority Leadership

- Family Engagement in Education Act of 2013

- Bulllying Attacked at National PTA Convention and Youth Summit

   with U. S. Sec. of Ed, Arne Duncan

 - First African American Male President of National PTA

 - Challenges for Veterans & Military Families and Support

- Today's Relevance of Angela Davis 


- School to Prison Pipeline


- Brenda Martin, Panelist NBC's EDUCATION NATION 2011 

 "Stepping Up: The Power of a Parent Advocate"


WhiteHouse.gov is the official web site for the White House and President Barack Obama, the
44th President of the United States. This site is a source for information about the President,
White House news and policies, White House history, and the federal government.
At the end of last year KinderCare (a division of Knowledge Universe) ran a contest on the
Mom Congress site to honor a mom for her involvement in advocating for better education in her
local schools.

PTA official seeks to 'win future'

Hopes to use ideas from Mom Congress to aid area students

FLATWOODS — Education advocate Brenda Drummer Martin can be excused if she has been bubbling over in recent days with enthusiasm and new ideas for improving schools.

After all, she has just returned from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where she was Kentucky’s lone delegate at the second annual Mom Congress sponsored by Parenting magazine.

While in the nation’s capital, Martin — president of District 26 PTA, which includes all of northeastern Kentucky, and vice president of membership at the Russell Primary School PTA — met and talked to such people as U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Soraya Gage, executive producer of NBC Learn, and Byron Garrett of Life Works International and shared ideas with the other 50 delegates representing each state and the District of Columbia.

“It was a wonderful, wonderful conference and I feel so fortunate to be able to attend,” said Martin. “I just can’t wait to implement some of the ideas I picked up. I learned so much.”

While in Washington, Martin, the mother of four, also was selected by the White House communication staff and the U.S. Department of Education to participate in a national forum called “Winning the Future.” Her comments at the forum may be viewed at Whitehouse.gov/champion.

Parenting magazine launched the Mom Congress in 2010 “to celebrate and connect moms fighting for better schools.” Myrdin Thompson, Kentucky’s delegate to the first Mom Congress last May, participated in a panel discussion on arts education at last week’s event.

Martin said she was selected as Kentucky’s delegate through a competition sponsored by the magazine and based on involvement in community and school activities and an essay she wrote.

At the end of last year, KinderCare, a division of Knowledge University, had a contest on the Mom Congress website to honor “a mom for her involvement in advocating for better education in her local schools.”

“Brenda Drummer Martin won a book station from KinderCare after submitting an essay about how she serves her community, everything from reading to her children to chairing major events and leading local educational organizations,” Kaythryn Young Thompson wrote in the magazine. “She is amazing.”

 Martin is the founder of United Communities to Advance our Neighborhoods Inc. at ucanchange.webs.com or facebook.com/neky.pta. Among other things, that organization has sponsored summer camps for children.

Martin’s oldest son, Cameron James, is a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta. Another son, Jim Martin II, is a student at the University of Louisville, and a third son, Caleb, is a ninth-grader. Her only daughter, Jocelyn, is a (3rd grade) student.

“I am a firm believer that parents need to be actively involved in their children’s schools,” Martin said. “All good schools have active parent organizations. In fact, an active parent group often is the difference between a really good school and an average one. Parents need to get involved and stay involved in their children’s schools.”

While a number of area schools have PTOs instead of PTAs, Martin is a firm believer PTAs are more effective.

“The problem with a PTO is that no matter how good it is, it only speaks for one school,” Martin said. “Because it unites parents from many different schools, a strong PTA can be an effective voice on education issues in Congress and in state legislatures.”

One thing Martin said she hopes will come out of her involvement in Mom Congress is a (NEKY) Youth Advocacy and Leadership Event, which she has dubbed (NEKY) YALE.

“I see it as a way to encourage youth to become advocates for their schools,” she said. “We need to listen to the ideas of young people and let them know that what they think is important to us.”

At the Mom Congress, Martin said she also was particularly interested in a panel discussion on school nutrition that included Seth Nicholson, U.S. field director for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Margo Wooten, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Kelly Chapman Meyer, founder of the Teaching Garden.

“I learned that it is possible for schools to prepare meals that are delicious and nutritious and don’t break the budget,” Martin said. “That’s the kind of meals we need to be serving in our schools.”

 Martin, a native of Chicago who moved to Russell some 20 years ago when her husband, accepted a position at (here), also has been active in the Northeast Kentucky Association for Gifted Education.

“I can’t say enough about my husband,” Martin said of Dr. James H. Martin Jr. “I could not do all that I do without his support. He both encourages and enables me.”

JOHN CANNON can be reached at jcannon@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2649.


  "Math, Science and the Future of Our Nation"

Simultaneous “viewing parties” are also being planned in 16 TWC markets, including one in Rochester, NY where more than 200 area students and local STEM luminaries will gather to view and interact with the online town hall, and then engage in follow up discussions that focus on local solutions for generating better student outcomes in STEM subjects. Northeast luminaries include Michal Lipson, Cornell University Associate Professor and winner of the ‘no strings attached grant’ from the MacArthur Foundation and David Hartney, President, First Hand Learning in Buffalo, NY. Doktor Kaboom will serve as the local event moderator. The Rochester event will be held at the Strasenburgh Planetarium beginning at 11:45 AM ET on November 17. TWC-sponsored live events in the US will collectively gather more than 1000 students to participate.

“In today’s increasingly global economy, America cannot afford to continue to fall behind the world in the very subjects that are going to drive economic growth and development in the coming decades,” said Gore, who is appearing courtesy of Current TV, where he serves as Chairman. “By creating a dialogue that includes not only experts on the subject matter, but the kids who are ultimately affected by this issue, Time Warner Cable’s Global Online Town Hall is likely to provide tremendous insights into the issue and provide a jumping off point for action.”

Members of the public can join the town hall at connectamillionminds.com, where – using a new online broadcasting platform from Vokle - they can submit live video questions and comments from anywhere in the world in real time.

“We want to put a human face on a very sobering statistic – the U.S. ranks 35th in math and 29th in science worldwide - to spark a new level of interest among our kids so they are prepared for what lies ahead,” stated Terence Rafferty, Regional VP of Operations; Upstate NY. “As parents, educators, elected officials and business leaders, we need to do all we can to encourage our youth to take an active, enthusiastic interest in STEM and connect them to opportunities that stoke this passion.”

For more information about Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds program or the global online town hall event, please visit http://www.connectamillionminds.com.


Murals to celebrate black history

Booker T. Washington, local churches to be featured

ASHLAND — Two murals honoring black heritage will get a spot on Ashland’s flood wall this coming spring.

Jerry Johnson, a local artist, got permission from the Ashland City Commission last Thursday to paint the murals on the flood wall behind the bus station. One mural will depict Booker T. Washington School, the all-black school that existed in Ashland before mandated integration. It will feature faculty members, the graduating class of 1947, the basketball team and the marching band.

The other mural will honor historic black churches in Ashland and the surrounding area, Johnson said. The churches are New Hope Baptist Church, Johnson Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Christ Temple Church and St. James and an African Methodist Episcopal church in Greenup County.

“I like to preserve the history,” Johnson said. “I want our kids to grow up and see this is where we come from.”

Johnson, who worked as a cartoonist for Disney and an artist along the West Coast before returning to his home in Flatwoods, said he often works on pieces that reference history.

Johnson said the murals will cost $10,000 each to produce, and the fundraising process is just beginning. He hopes to begin work on the murals in the spring when the weather gets warmer and expects them to take him three months to complete.

He said a first important step was to make sure the wall space would be available for the murals.

City officials have been supportive of the project so far, he said.

Brenda Martin, founder of United Communities to Advance our Neighborhoods Inc., is helping Johnson raise the money he needs to produce the murals. She spoke in support of the projects at the commission meeting last Thursday.

Martin said the mural will help bring people to Ashland in the future as cultural tourism continues to grow.

The mural will be a legacy for both elders and children in Ashland’s black community, she said.

Bishop Elzy Thomas, of Christ Temple Church, graduated from Booker T. Washington School in the 1950s.

“I went there my entire 12 years, so it’s really close to my heart,” he said.

Thomas said that, though the school was limited in terms of supplies, it was an important part of the black community in Ashland.

“Our school to us was really kind of the heart of everything,” he said.

The school was a place for children to learn and socialize as well as for the community to gather, Thomas said. In addition to classes everyday, the school building was also a place to put on shows and activities in the evening.

Right now a small plaque is all that commemorates the school. Young children hear their parents and grandparents tell stories about the school but often don’t know what it looked like, he said.

The mural will help to change that, Thomas said.

Johnson, who also attended Booker T. Washington School until the third grade, said it’s important for children in the black community to have a reminder of the places that were important for their parents and grandparents when they were growing up.

The churches and the school were both important aspects of their lives and journey, and the mural will help to lay that journey out for the children in visual form.

“That is like a pattern for the kids to see,” he said.

Those who would like to donate to the project can do so through UCAN, Inc. a non-profit 501(c)(3). Donations are tax deductible. Checks can be mailed to UCAN at P.O. Box 104 Russell, KY 41169-0104. Those who send checks should note that the donation is for the mural project. For more information, e-mail Brenda Martin at ucanhelp@windstream.net.

KATIE BRANDENBURG can be reached at kbrandenburg@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.


Real-world science

Youth attend Camp Revamp at Russell Area Technology Center

The Independent


Students at Camp Revamp watch a plasma welder cut out a license plate that they had designed in a welding/drafting session of Camp Revamp, at Russell Area Technology Center, Tuesday. Kevin Goldy/The Independent (Click for larger image)

Leah Motimaya,10, holds up the license plate she designed showing instructor Bill Runyon the results from a computer controlled plasma welder. Kevin Goldy/The Independent (Click for larger image)

Zach Klinger, wears his saftey glasses while at Camp Revamp watching a plasma welder cut out a license plate. Kevin Goldy/The Independent (Click for larger image)

 RUSSELL A shower of sparks cascaded to the floor under the white-hot flame of the robotic cutting torch.

Perched behind a yellow safety line, a gaggle of goggled youths watched the cutter.

Like a giant Etch-A-Sketch, it burned a precise path through a sheet of heavy-gauge steel, cutting out a license plate shaped plaque with Zach Klingler’s name on it.

“We’re learning how the plasma cutter works,” said Klingler, who will be in eighth grade this fall. “It’s science and engineering ... science rocks.”

Klingler and the other children had designed the words they wanted burned onto the plates on a dingy but a powerful computer mounted beside the cutter did the work. In so doing, they were combining disciplines that are ubiquitous in the work world, said Shawn Parsons, a computer aided design instructor at the Russell Area Technology Center.

“Computers and robots are everywhere we look now,” Parsons said. “A lot of these kids are math and science students. They’re getting to see some of the real-world applications of what they’ve learned.”

The children in the shop Tuesday were among 21 who signed up for a science-oriented day camp called Camp Revamp at the center. For the rest of the week they will be taking apart and reassembling computers, learning graphics and games, and using software such as Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint.

“We want to get the kids excited about technology and how it all goes together,” camp director Brenda Martin said.

Computers are so integral to daily life that children need some familiarity with their inner workings, she said. That way, they won’t be intimidated when a system crashes or a component malfunctions.

“They will develop an early confidence in technology,” Martin said.

The camp drew children in two age brackets: kindergarten through fourth grade and fifth through eighth grades.

The younger ones, who got their chance with the plasma cutter later in the afternoon, spent the morning discussing finance and designing PowerPoint presentations, said Keri Renfroe, an office technology instructor.

“What really amazes us is that they know so much more about technology than we give them credit for,” Renfroe said.

Even the kindergartners can manipulate PowerPoint without prompting, she said.
It also keeps their minds sharp during the summer doldrums. “It keeps them focused on education.”

The camp is sponsored by the Northeastern Kentucky Association for Gifted Education (www.nekage.webs.com) and United Communities to Advance our Neighborhoods (www.ucanchange.webs.com).

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2652.

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Technology Camp Attracts Some Bright Young Students




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Scholarship dinner slated

Event will also honor educator, artist

Mike James/The Independent
Ashland — A Saturday benefit will serve up dinner as well as tributes to a retiring school superintendent and noted Tri-State artist. The event will also raise money for scholarships.

The Rosa Parks Scholarship Formal Tribute Dinner will honor Phil Eason, who is leaving Ashland after stepping down as superintendent of city schools, and painter Jerry Johnson, whose works are displayed at several area churches, Greenbo Lake State Resort Park and King’s Daughters Medical Center.

The dinner will raise scholarship money for United Communities to Advance Our Neighborhoods, said founder Brenda Martin, a longtime parent activist who is president of the Northeast Kentucky Association for Gifted Education and a regional PTA president.

UCAN is a nonprofit organization that offers job re-entry and family-oriented seminars, youth advocacy and senior citizen support.

The 7:30 p.m. dinner at Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital’s Bellefonte Center campus will be preceded by a reception from 6 to 7 p.m., with music by the Boyer family. Tickets are $75, with a $10 discount for school employees and military personnel.

Sponsorships and corporate tables are available. For details and pricing, call Martin at (606) 571-0917.

Proceeds will allow UCAN to offer need-based scholarships to students primarily in Boyd and Greenup counties, Martin said. Other scholarships will be offered through speaking and writing contests, she said.

UCAN also can provide guidance to students on finding and applying for other scholarships, Martin said. “There’s a lot of scholarship money out there if you know where to find it and are motivated.”

The honorees are two role models for area youth, said Martin. “Phil’s legacy will continue to touch many lives in Ashland long after his resignation and departure,” she said. “Jerry Johnson has graced this community with visions of beauty, emotion and history.”

For more information about UCAN, visit www.ucanchange.webs.com.


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Words of Thanks


How many have attended a community meeting about math that drew teachers, administrators, parents and students? On Jan. 17, I heard Dr. Linda Jensen Sheffield tell how to “Mentor Creative Mathematical Minds.”

Mayor Steve Gilmore welcomed her and ACTC President Greg Adkins introduced her. Dr. Sheffield informed and challenged her audience. 

I thank Dr. Sheffield for bringing her important message to this community; ACTC for partnering with the Northeastern Kentucky Association for Gifted and Talented Education to provide publicity and a special venue for the evening; Brenda Martin, NEKAGE president, for her efforts in making sure as many as possible attended.

We appreciated the solar cell demonstration of Adam Walters and Brian Bailey, students of Russell teacher Jon Aldrich. Special thanks to Ashland, Russell, and Boyd County schools for providing PD credit for teachers, who along with student teachers, parents and interested citizens provided the enthusiastic audience for this event.

Trish Hall, Arts Council of Northeastern Kentucky


Published: January 14, 2008 11:16 pm    print this story   email this story   comment on this story  

Expert: Children's mastery of math vital

NKU professor to speak Thursday at ACTC

Mike James/The Independent


Ashland — Research shows math to be a top indicator of future success from early childhood through high school, an internationally known math educator says.

“At the prekindergarten and kindergarten level, math success is a stronger predictor of school success than reading,” said Linda Sheffield, regents professor of mathematics education at Northern Kentucky University and visiting professor at the University of Kentucky.

“The number of math courses taken in high school is the greatest predictor of the money they’ll make the rest of their lives.”

Sheffield has some ideas for parents and teachers to help children develop their math ability; she’ll present them at 6 p.m. Thursday at Ashland Community and Technical College’s Teleconference Room at the Ashland campus.

“Mentoring Creative Mathematical Minds” will examine how critical math is and the kinds of questions parents can ask their children, Sheffield said.

“We’ll be looking at how math can be fun and some activities parents and teachers can use,” she said.

For educators in attendance, Sheffield will examine the degree of international competition in math education, particularly in Asian countries where math performance surpasses that in the United States and she’ll look at how those results can be achieved here.

Contrary to common belief, the human brain is naturally suited to understand math, Sheffield said. “The brain is much more set up for math than for reading.”

Russell High School physics students will join Sheffield to explain the role math plays in a class project.

The presentation is co-sponsored by ACTC’s Professional Development Committee and the Northeastern Chapter of the Kentucky Association for Gifted Education, and is free to teachers, parents, education students and others.

“It’s important for kids to see for themselves how useful math is and how much fun it can be,” said NEKAGE President Brenda Martin.

“Math is a mystery waiting to be solved, a tool to sharpen us and a treasure that’s most valuable when it’s shared,” she said.

NEKAGE was interested in Sheffield’s presentation because the association wants to see the discipline supported with the same enthusiasm as football games, Martin said.

The association’s goal is to expose the community to the needs of gifted students and to help them get the support they need, she said.

Membership in the association isn’t limited to the parents of students in gifted education programs at school, she said.

Gifted education sometimes receives lackluster support because of the perception that talented children don’t need support, Martin said.

In reality, gifted children often underachieve and suffer more than their share of problems in school and are prone to dropping out, she said.

For more information, call Martin at (606) 571-0917 or e-mail her at bdrumartin@hotmail.com.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.



Links & Resources

Action for Healthy Kids

ACT Scores

AACLD -National Assoc. for the Education of African Americans with Learning Disabilities

African American Historical Exhibits for School Rental

American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)

America's Promise Alliance

American Council of Engineering Companies


American Red Cross

Arts Council of NEKY

Arts in Education

Ashland Community and Technical College

Ashland Police Department Reports

Auburn-Gresham Safety Network-IL

Blueprint for Kentucky's Children

Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Career Builder

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CDC-Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Action Institute: Impacting Change at State and Local Levels

CDF Freedom  Schools Summer Programs Closest to You

Census Bureau (U.S.)

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Children's Defense Fund

Collins Career Center

Color Me Good - Cultural Coloring Activities

Common Core State Standards Initiative

Community Anti-Drug Coalition Institute

Congressional Black Caucus

Connect a Million Minds

Corporation for National and Community Service

Council on Post-secondary Education

Creative Path

Daily Independent Newpaper

DC Central Kitchen

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Diversity Trends Predicted in Workforce 

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Duke University TIP Gifted Letter

Early Standards Initiative

Education Nation

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Faith-Based Community Initiatives-Center

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IDEA -Institute of Democratic Education in America

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation


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Kentucky Arts Council 

Kentucky Association for Gifted Education( KAGE)

Kentucky Governor's Website

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Kentucky State University Land Grant-COLTS (March Deadline)

Kentucky Technical System

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Let's Move

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Motivation Tool Chest

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NASA  (Grants, Kid's Club...)

National Association of Charter School Authorizers

National Bone Marrow Donor Campaign

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National Kids Count Data Book

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National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

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Occupational Outlook Handbook

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Science Technology Engineering Math-STEM Task Force Report

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Smarter Measure-Online Student Readiness Assessment 

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Susan Komen  (Research for Cancer Cure)

Swimming Safety Statistics

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UK Fine Arts Extension Agent Greenup County Cooperative Extension Service

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Workforce Development Resource Center

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