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September 2022

Welcome to Connections, Hopkins County Schools' parent/community newsletter!

Congratulations to the Kentucky

Elementary Teacher of the Year!

Kelly Gates, a 5th grade teacher at Pride Elementary School, has been honored as the 2023 Kentucky Elementary School Teacher of the Year!

Gates, who is in her 26th year teaching, has made her home at Pride for her entire career. One way that she impacts her students is through Courtyard of Curiosity, an outdoor learning space at Pride. She has received numerous grants and has also taught her students to write grants themselves.

During the awards ceremony, a former student was quoted as saying the following: “What I do remember, even 10 years later, is the strong relationship I had that transcended reading and writing and math. I knew she cared about me and she made my thoughts, ideas, and interests feel important.”

To learn more:

KentuckyTeacher Feature Story

Parent Square Communications Platform

Hopkins County Schools has been excited to share our new communication platform, Parent Square, with parents. Parent Square is designed to keep parents informed and make communicating easy. This will streamline district communications and will be the only communication platform that is used by the district/schools. 

Parents are encouraged to create a Parent Square account to take full advantage of this communications tool. Also, please download the app from the App Store or Google Play for your cell phone/device. You can go into your settings to determine notifications and if you want to receive immediate messages or a digest at the end of the day.

For help logging in, contact your child’s school. For more information, go to Parent Square’s new Help page at

Advance Kentucky Outstanding District

The teachers involved in the middle school Access to Algebra program through Advance Kentucky were honored by the Board of Education at the Sept. 19 meeting.

Hopkins County Schools has been named an Outstanding District by Advance Kentucky because of our amazing success for our first year in the Access to Algebra program, with all four middle schools meeting their goals! Our schools increased student achievement and performance on the PSAT 8/9 in reaching the college readiness benchmark. This program seeks to increase the number of students on track to meet college readiness math benchmarks by the time they enter high school.

Teachers honored include Jeremy Gobin, Jolaine McNary and Christie DePriest of Browning Springs; Ryan Carver , Patty Baumgardner, Elizabeth Bailey, Heather Wagoner, Holli Parsons and Michael Powers of James Madison; Kathryn Cartwright, Kilee Beshear, Ginna Gordon and Amanda Thomason of South Hopkins; and Patricia Womack of West Hopkins. Congratulations to all!

Tax Rates Remain Unchanged

Hopkins County Board of Education approved a tax rate that remains the same as in 2022. The general fund tax levy is 68.2 cents per $100 assessed valuation on real property and 68.2 cents per $100 assessed valuation on personal property. 

Hay Bale Voting

Several schools showed their creativity with entries in the Hay Bale Trail at Mahr Park Arboretum! Go and check out the entries from Hopkins County Central FFA, Hanson Elementary, West Broadway Elementary, Madisonville North Hopkins volleyball team, Earlington Elementary, Southside Elementary, Pride Elementary and the school’s Courtyard of Curiosity, Browning Springs Middle School, South Hopkins Middle School, MNHHS Spanish Club, and Jesse Stuart Elementary School. Vote for your favorite before 4 p.m. on Sept. 30 at the following link:

A map of the trail with photos is posted online at

Top Attendance in Region 2

Two of our schools are Region 2 winners for Kentucky High Attendance Day! Hanson Elementary is tops in Region 2 Large Elementary with 97.46% attendance, and James Madison Middle School is 1st in Region 2 Large Middle with 96.69% attendance. Regional winners will be submitted to the state level of the Kentucky High Attendance Day Challenge sponsored by the Kentucky Directors of Pupil Personnel.

Schools planned lots of fun activities for High Attendance Day! We want to keep up that momentum by encouraging kids to have great attendance every day! 

Remember Your Why

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We welcome nominations from parents, students, and community members for the district's "Remember Your Why" Award. Hopkins County Schools gives this award to employees and students in recognition of outstanding service, good deeds, and kindness shown to others.

Submit your nomination at

Michael Powers

Michael Powers, a math teacher at James Madison Middle School, was honored with the Remember Your Why Award at the Board of Education meeting on Sept. 19. He is described as always going above and beyond. He is an excellent math teacher and also drives a school bus in the afternoons. He developed a transportation sheet so his school can easily identify how students get home every day. He also uses his planning period to help students make sure they know their bus routes. One Friday while driving the bus, Mr. Powers said that one of the students was in need. He took extra time to make sure the student felt safe and made it home. The student told his principal how appreciative he was of Mr. Powers “going the extra mile.”

Powers said his “why” is the following: “I want every student that I come in contact with to have a positive role model. My goal is to be a positive influence and make a difference in my students’ lives.”

Hometown Heroes Cookout

Madisonville North Hopkins FFA gave back to the community on Sept. 20 with their annual Hometown Heroes Cookout! The event is held in appreciation of local law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS. After washing vehicles, students and teachers grilled burgers and served lunch to first responders. This event always promotes positive connections between students and first responders!

Climbing Wall Fun

Jesse Stuart Elementary students got active during PE class with teacher Jillian Southard earlier this month using the climbing wall in the school gym! The wall was purchased last year by the JSES PTA in conjunction with the Baptist Health Healthier Generation Program. Looks like fun!

Heroes Walks

Students and staff throughout Hopkins County Schools honored our first responders, active duty military, and veterans with Heroes Walks and assemblies. We loved welcoming these heroes back to our schools for this annual event in remembrance of 9/11.

Flag Fundraisers

Flag fundraisers held throughout Hopkins County Schools raised a total of $4,479.75 for the Patrick Rudd Project Foundation. Schools that raised the most are as follows:

  1. James Madison Middle School, $1,382.75
  2. Career & Technology Center, $769
  3. Earlington Elementary School, $544

Teachers Selected for Deeper Learning Cohort

Ten Hopkins County teachers have been selected to participate in the Deeper Learning Teacher Leader cohort. This three-year program is being offered in partnership with the West Kentucky Educational Cooperative through a grant opportunity.

Deeper learning is “an umbrella term for skills and knowledge students must possess to succeed in 21st century jobs and civic life. At its heart is a set of competencies students must master to develop a keen understanding of academic content and apply their knowledge to problems in the classroom and on the job."

Participants are the following: Brooke Stuart, Earlington Elementary; Becky Fulkerson, Hanson Elementary; Melanie Hofmann, Jesse Stuart Elementary; Heather Gordon, Pride Elementary; Keaton Frazer, West Broadway Elementary; Brittany Dillingham, Browning Springs Middle; Heather Wagoner, James Madison Middle; Sarah Buchanan, South Hopkins Middle; Sarah Tyson, Hopkins County Central; and Brian Welch, Madisonville North Hopkins.

Shannon Bowles Honored by KECSAC

Shannon Bowles, guidance counselor at Hopkins County Day Treatment was honored by Hopkins County Board of Education on Aug. 15 for receiving the 2022 Outstanding Support Staff Award from the Kentucky Educational Collaborative for State Agency Children.

In the KECSAC awards presentation, Bowles was described as someone with a big heart who always sees the best in students. She is an effective and caring counselor who will have the tough conversations students need while making sure they feel at home at the school.

This award is in recognition of outstanding leadership and service. KECSAC is a statewide collaborative that works with state agencies, school districts, and local programs to ensure state agency children receive a quality education comparable to all Kentucky students. Bowles considers serving children and youth in state care a calling, and goes above and beyond every day!

Sunrise School Spirit

 Hopkins County Central High School celebrated with a “luau” for the 14 News Sunrise School Spirit Pep Rally on Sept. 2, complete with a sandcastle built of canned goods. Students and staff, local businesses, schools throughout our district, and the entire community responded generously to the call for donations of nonperishable food. The school collected a grand total of 14,970 pounds of food!

The food went to TriState Food Bank and will be distributed back to Hopkins County agencies. Thanks so much to everyone who participated and donated!

Earlington Celebration Planned

We want to let the community know that we are in the early stages of planning a special opportunity for people to visit Earlington Elementary School next spring. We want to give everyone a chance to revisit the school and their special memories! Details will be announced as plans are made. 


Also, we’ve received questions about what will happen to special memorabilia, such as the 1967 State Basketball Championship trophy. The new auxiliary gyms/storm shelters at the high schools will both include a “heritage hall.” We plan to feature items from Earlington in the display at Hopkins County Central.

Student Celebrations

National Merit Semifinalist

Molly Bradley, a senior at Madisonville North Hopkins High School has been selected as a Semifinalist in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. She is among more than 16,000 academically talented seniors who have the opportunity to continue in the competition for 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

Governor's Scholars Program

Hopkins County Schools’ students who participated in the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program were honored by the Board of Education. Students recognized were Alyssa Blanchard, Michaiah Andresen, Matthew Williams, Molly Bachman, Molly Bradley, Jenna Gamblin, Alexandria Ipock-Groves, Presley Lutz, Lauren Wooten, Isaiah Hardesty, and Christopher Wheeler II.

 The Governor’s Scholars Program is a summer residential program for outstanding high school students in Kentucky who are rising seniors. The mission of GSP is to enhance Kentucky’s next generation of civic and economic leaders. The application process is highly competitive and the program has grown to include more than 1,000 students on three campuses each summer.

Governor's School for Entrepreneurs

Hopkins County Schools’ students who participated in the Kentucky Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs were honored at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday. Students recognized were Addison Tate and Chloe Young.

GSE is a three-week residential program for teens across the state. During the program, teams of high school students develop a business model, design a prototype and pitch their startup to a large audience and a panel of judges. GSE teaches the opportunities, benefits and pitfalls of taking a business concept from the idea phase to pitching it to potential investors.

Governor's School for the Arts

Hopkins County Schools’ students who participated in the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts were honored at the Board of Education meeting. Students recognized were Nevaeh Demoss, Chase Brummer (not pictured), and Devon Carlton (not pictured).

GSA is a three-week college summer residence program that offers in-depth instruction in one of nine artistic disciplines: architecture/design, creative writing, dance, drama, film and photography, instrumental music, musical theater, visual art, and vocal music.

Region 2 Golf

Madisonville North Hopkins junior Karra Tucker won the individual championship in the KHSAA Region 2 girls golf championship! The MNHHS Lady Maroon golf team finished as regional runners-up and will advance to Semi-State. In the boys Region 2 competition, MNHHS students Paul Harris and Ben Dickerson also qualified to advance.

My School Bucks

Hopkins County Schools cafeterias offer a la carte items that can be purchased in addition to the free breakfast and lunch meals that students receive. Parents may continue to send checks or cash with students for cafeteria staff to add funds to their accounts. You can also provide funds for these a la carte purchases through MySchoolBucks.

Please sign up today at MySchoolBucks, The website also includes helpful how-to videos and answers to commonly asked questions.

Through MySchoolBucks, you can check your student’s meal account balance online, securely fund their account using your credit or debit card or an e-check, or set up AutoPay. MySchoolBucks also has a mobile app. Check it out today and download the app for free on iOS or Android:

The new a la carte menus are posted on the district website at

New 988 Mental Health Crisis Lifeline

Kentucky has launched the easy-to-remember three-digit mental health crisis hotline, 988, which connects Kentuckians facing a risk of suicide, mental health distress or an addiction crisis to compassionate and trained counselors who can help.

The 988 suicide and crisis lifeline is available every hour of every day, and counselors respond to calls, chats or text messages directly from Kentuckians in need as well as those who are concerned about a loved one who may need crisis support.

The 988 lifeline is part of a nationwide departure from the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which remains available during the transition. Gov. Beshear noted that Kentucky has worked for over a year to prepare for the launch, which was made possible by a two-year, $1.16 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, sourced from American Rescue Plan Act funding. The upcoming state budget also included $19.6 million over a two-year period to support increased capacity and infrastructure for 988, as well as to fund mobile crisis services.

For more information, visit the 988 website at

Financial Aid Workshop

Madisonville North Hopkins and Hopkins County Central families attended a financial aid workshop the evening of Sept. 26 at Hopkins County Career & Technology Center. They learned about filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) from Brandi Forker of KHSAA. This is timely information because the FAFSA form for 2023-2024 launches on Oct. 1.

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