Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In our family, we are privileged to have two opportunities to eat great food, reflect on our blessings, enjoy the company of our family and relax in our childhood surroundings. It contains nothing in the way of stress because we don’t do anything other than show up to our parents’ homes with a side dish of potatoes. Not a bad return on our investment! Going “home” always feels good and it naturally prompts me to reflect on my personal journey since leaving my small rural community some 30 years ago. This year, I was overcome with gratitude because of the business and university partners that have emphatically said “YES!” to our children through the Beechwood EDGE program.
I was hired five years ago and asked to do several things for our Board of Education, but the one thing that I desperately wanted was to create a program that could reshape education in Kentucky. After two years of working on facilities and getting staff in place, we started implementing seminar classes to pave the way for a much larger program. After years of planning, we started the process of EDGE implementation in 2018 with the creation of the IDEA Lab and moved forward with tying the new curriculum with the redesign of the old building. Therefore, we started a program on a belief that our students, and students across the state, do not need to be sitting in traditional classes all day. Our students are smart, amazing and passionate people. They are capable of so much more than we expect of them on a daily basis. The EDGE program stays true to our rich history at Beechwood while fostering career readiness in our students and graduates. It keeps all of the traditional structure (math, language arts, science and social studies), but redesigns our elective offerings. The only problem is that we did not have business and university support. We had an idea and a fervent belief in what we were doing and what we could become. A vision—both ambitious and attainable in equal measure--but no business or university support.
Until now. And it will make all the difference in the world.
Over the past year and a half, we have had more than thirty businesses and 6 universities agree to help with the design and implementation of the EDGE program. Their influence and expertise, along with our administration, students and teachers, have led to a design that is so much more than I ever anticipated. Our flagship partners St. Elizabeth, NKU, CVG and Amazon have been instrumental in the creation of content and the design of our programming. In short, they will let us know what kinds of 21st century job skills our teachers must be cultivating in their classrooms. Without their help, and the assistance of our other partners, we would not be as far along as we are in the development and implementation of our EDGE program.
What’s exciting for me, as a Superintendent, is that the possibilities are boundless. This is the beginning of an exciting journey to re-configure how school should prepare our students and graduates for life once they leave Beechwood Road. Therefore, this holiday season, I am grateful for our partners and their willingness to help design a new program for our community and our students. Anything we can do to help our kids have a more successful transition to college and the world is a win for every stakeholder.
Please accept my best wishes for a safe and prosperous holiday season that allows you to be grateful in your life as well.
Dr. Mike S. Stacy
Beechwood Independent Schools
Phone: (859) 331-3250
Fax: (859) 331-7528