Spencer County Public Schools hosted its first Supper with the Super event in the Spencer County High School gym on Nov. 17, at 6 p.m., and community involvement was requested by the school district to help with the development of its strategic plan.

Dinner, consisting of a pasta sampler of handmade lasagna, baked spaghetti, chicken alfredo, snickerdoodle cookies, lemon bars, and apple crisp, was provided by the SCHS Culinary Arts department.

Students from the Culinary Arts II class were present to serve the attendees, but the meal was prepared as a group project by all of the culinary classes. Those on hand were teacher April Roberts, and students Mikayla Le, Justin Moody, Nick Swope, Shelby Gregory and Brooke England.

The forum was presented by acting superintendent Chuck Abell, chief of student supports Steven Rucker, chief academic officer Amanda Butler, director of state and federal grants Mandy Howie. Director of special education Todd Russell was scheduled to be a part of the discussions, but was unavailable because of a loss in the family.

Abell introduced the staff involved in the creation of the dinner meeting and spoke about the reasoning of getting input from the community.

“Society has changed over the last couple years, and coming out of school is not the same it was. We feel like we as a school system really need to adjust where we’re able to provide greater opportunities for our kids, so that when they step out, they’re ready to be successful adults. In order to do that successfully, we feel like we need your input, and your guidance, on what we as a school system can do moving forward to better prepare our kids,” said Abell.

“Part of what you’ll do today is talk a little bit about what you think our kids truly need in order to be successful. I see business leaders, business owners, and government leaders. I see educated folks. You are the knowledge that we need to better prepare ourselves moving forward,” Abell added.

All of the schools in the district are at their max capacity. For the first time ever, the high school has over 1,000 students, meaning the district will have to expand.

“We need your involvement. We want you to be part of our team, and we’re so excited that you’re here with us tonight.,” said Abell in closing as Butler took over to guide those in attendance with the question and answer portion of the night.

Groups of up to six people were at each table, and were asked to discuss the six guiding questions asked by the district. Those questions were:

1. What are the strengths in our school system? How can we build on these strengths to provide additional opportunities for our students and community?

2. As we look to offer additional Career and Technical Education Pathways and plan for building and expansion, what types of pathways should we prioritize to impact our local economy and set students on the path for a debt free education? The Kentucky Work Ready Scholarship Program offers graduates up to 60 tuition free credit hours for students that specialize in one of the areas identified by the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet as Kentucky’s fastest growing economic sectors: Advanced Manufacturing, Business Information Technologies, Construction, Healthcare, and Transportation and Logistics.

3. We are looking at expanding our Dual Credit offerings at the high school. What subject offerings would best serve our students? The Kentucky Dual Credit Scholarship Program covers the cost for two, successfully completed, dual credit courses. These are free college credits students can take advantage of while in high school.

4. Students need proficient computer skills to be competitive in today’s job market. What suggestions/ideas do you have to ensure our students are getting the skills and knowledge they need to stand out when they enter the work force?

5. What are characteristics you would want to see in every graduate that carries a Spencer County Diploma? Spencer County Public Schools is currently updating the Profile of a Graduate: current characteristics that we have identified are: Core Knowledge, Ethical Global Citizen, Innovative Thinker, Digital Learner (Abell noted that this would probably be removed), Goal Driven and Resilient Individual, Effective Communicator, and Engaged Collaborator.

6. What other academic celebrations or concerns do you have about Spencer County Public Schools?

Each table had 10 minutes to discuss and write down their answers for each question. Once all the questions were answered, each person took one of the questions and joined the others in the room with that same question and wrote down the cumulative answers on a poster to be used for the creation of the Strategic Plan.

The second scheduled Supper with the Super will once again be held in the SCHS cafeteria, with dinner being provided by the culinary students, on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m. The focus of this meeting will be on Student Support, Facilities, and Safety.

To RSVP, or for more information, go to https://www.spencer.kyschools.us/.