Back to School!

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Local students return to classes Wednesday

By Zac Oakes


In less than one week, local students will return to their classrooms to begin the 2018-2019 school year. 

Classes begin at Campbellsville Independent Schools, Taylor County Schools, and Kentucky Christian Academy on Wednesday, Aug. 8. 

“We’re really excited and all of our teachers and staff are looking forward to seeing the kids on the first day,” Taylor County Schools Superintendent Charles Higdon Jr. said. “We’re excited for the school year to see these students achieve their goals and watch them grow.” 

Campbellsville Independent Schools Superintendent Kirby Smith said he is also excited for the upcoming school year. 

“I am very excited about the upcoming school year and look forward to the many wonderful things this new year will bring,” Smith said. 

KCA Administrator Alicia Riggs said she is excited to see students grow in her first year at KCA. 

“It will be an exciting year of academic and spiritual growth for our students,” Riggs said. 

Here are a few things families and the community should know as students return to the classroom. 


New Administrators

At Campbellsville Independent Schools, students at Campbellsville High School will see a new face roaming the halls as Weston Jones takes over as the school’s new principal. Campbellsville Elementary School Principal Elisha Rhodes and Campbellsville Middle School Principal Zach Lewis are entering their second year as principal of their schools. 

In the Taylor County School District, Charles Higdon Jr. is entering his first year as the district’s superintendent, but Higdon is no stranger to the district, previously serving as the principal at Taylor County High School and as assistant superintendent. 

One new face students at Taylor County High School will encounter is TCHS Principal Jon Hall, a newcomer to the school coming from the Barren County School District, where he previously served as Principal of Temple Hill Elementary School. 

Students at Taylor County Middle School became familiar with Principal Sara Tucker halfway through last year, when she was named the TCMS interim principal following the resignation of former principal Danita Johnson. The TCMS Site-Based Decision Making Council removed the interim tag from Tucker’s title, and named her the permanent principal at Taylor County Middle School. 

At Kentucky Christian Academy, students will see a new face in new administrator Alicia Riggs, who comes from St. Petersburg, Florida. She replaces former administrator Lori Eubank, who retired from her position over the summer.


Vaccine requirements

Students attending public schools in Kentucky this year must have the Hepatitis A vaccine. 

This is a new requirement for students in Kentucky’s public school systems. 

To get your child vaccinated, contact the Taylor County Health Department, your doctor’s office or your local pharmacy. Most insurance companies cover the vaccine. 

For entry into kindergarten, students must have the following vaccines: five doses of DTaP or DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) or combinations of the two vaccines; four doses of IPV or OPV (polio) or combinations of the two vaccines; three doses of hepatitis B; two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella); and two doses of varicella (chickenpox), unless a health-care provider states that the child has had a diagnosis of typical varicella disease or verification of a history of varicella disease by a health-care provider or a diagnosis of herpes zoster disease or verification of history of herpes zoster disease by a health-care provider.

For sixth grade entry, children ages 11, 12 and older, the following vaccines are required: one dose of Tdap (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) if it has been at least two years since the administration of the last dose of tetanus-containing vaccine; two doses of varicella, unless a health-care provider states that the child has had a diagnosis of typical varicella disease or verification of a history of varicella disease by a health-care provider or a diagnosis or herpes zoster disease or verification of a history of herpes zoster disease by a health-care provider; and one dose of MCV or MPSV (meningococcal vaccine).


Notable changes/safety measures

For the Taylor County Schools, there have been some changes to the morning drop-off procedures. 

Higdon said that through school safety meetings locally and with state officials, some changes have been made in order to increase school safety. 

“We’re not allowed to drop students off in the back of the building at the middle and intermediate school,” Higdon said. “Students shouldn’t flow through that traffic with the school buses. We don’t need to mix the students coming through with parent drop-offs with the school buses. That was recommended by the safety committee and the state of Kentucky.” 

Higdon said that doesn’t mean parents can’t walk their children into school on the first day, but he is asking for parents to be patient as they go through the proper procedure. 

“That is still totally fine,” Higdon said. “They just need to be patient… they can park at the board office, they can park in the spots in front of the elementary and primary, and there are about 30-40 additional parking spots on the middle school side.” 

Higdon also wanted to remind parents to walk their children through the front doors of the schools, which will allow for people to be checked in and avoid unaccounted for people flowing through the hallways. 

“I know these changes may irritate some people because they have to walk a little further, but these changes are made for student safety and that is our first priority,” Higdon said. 

As of press time, the CKNJ had not been notified of any notable changes to pick up and/or drop off procedures for the Campbellsville Independent School District.

One notable change for the Campbellsville Independent School District is the presence of a school resource officer. 

Campbellsville Police Officer Charlie Houk will soon become a common figure at the Campbellsville Independent Schools. Houk was selected this summer to be the district’s SRO, the first one the district has had in several years. 

Houk, an officer with CPD for 10 years, will have his office at the CHS campus, but he will provide safety and security at Campbellsville elementary, middle and high schools.

He will also attend after-school events, such as athletic games, as he is needed, making himself a well-known figure in the school district. 

“We are excited to have Houk as part of the Eagle family, and hope our students will see him as someone they can talk to,” CIS Superintendent Kirby Smith said in a press release about the hire. “Houk will help us ensure that our students are safe. That is our top priority, and having Houk with us is a large step in that direction.”

Smith said that the district has been working on school safety procedures in preparation for the upcoming school year.

“We have been working with Officer Houk to review each schools safety procedures and will have some changes in those procedures for our lockdown and fire drills,” Smith said. “That information will be shared with the students and staff during the first week of school.”

At KCA, Riggs said they are welcoming new teachers to the school who are excited to meet the students. Among them include Joan Leachman-Art and Library, Laura Mattingly- Music, and Morgan Wills-Technology Lab and Aftercare. 

Riggs said the school is also excited to bring back the Junior Beta program implemented last year. 

There are still openings in most grade levels, according to Riggs.


School Traffic

Local law enforcement and school administrators would like to remind drivers to be particularly vigilant in school zones as students head back to school next Wednesday. School being in session changes traffic flow around the schools, particularly during the mornings and afternoons as students are arriving and leaving local schools. 

Drivers are asked to pay close attention to pedestrians and slow down in school zones to ensure maximum safety. 


The Campbellsville Independent Schools Board of Education can be reached at 270-465-4162. The Taylor County Board of Education can be reached at 270-465-5371. Kentucky Christian Academy can be reached at 270-789-2462.