BETSY LAYNE – A November visit by Bill and Melinda Gates to one Floyd county school continues to draw positive national attention to Eastern Kentucky following the release several stories on Gates blog.
On November 5, Bill and Melinda Gates visited Betsy Layne High School on a “learning visit.” Earlier this week, Gates commented on his own blog in several different articles about his visit. In one such blog, Gates commented on the new and exciting teaching happening in Betsy Layne High School teacher Ricky Thackers classroom.
“Sitting in his classroom it was immediately clear that Ricky is passionate about his job, always pushing his students and himself to do better,” Gates wrote in his blog. “His uniquely designed classroom is one example of what makes Ricky such a great teacher.”
Gates said innovative new classrooms created at Betsy Layne created a stimulating a modern learning environment.
“During our visit, Melinda and I never spotted a teacher just standing in front of the class lecturing while the students just sat and listened. Instead, students were the ones doing the most work. They were actively engaged, sharing their ideas, solving problems, and, as a result, learning. Weeks after my visit, I still remember all the lessons vividly,” said Gates in the blog.
During their visit, Bill and Melinda Gates, Alan Golston and Vicky Phillips interviewed Dr. Webb, BLHS Principal Cassandra Akers, teachers and students. They had lunch with students and spoke to the entire student body via the intercom as they weren’t able to meet all of the students.
Additionally, Gates Foundation representatives interviewed the Young Professional Forum that consisted of college students and former graduates outside the field of education who left the region to attend college and returned here to work. Three members of the forum were former BLHS graduates; Dr. Jeremy Parsons, Jenny Collins, physician’s assistant, and Kim Rowe, pharmacist.
Gates also wrote separate blogs detailing Floyd native Lakeisha Crum, and her quest to be the first person in her family to attend college.
“Stories like Lakeisha’s are always inspiring. Still, being the first one to go to college can be tough, especially coming from an isolated part of the country like Appalachia. Students told us that it’s hard to find role models. People who can tell them what college will be like and how to prepare for life away from home,” Gates wrote in the blog.
Gates wrote that what he found most inspiring about the youth in Eastern Kentucky was their dedication to the region and its future.
For more on Bill and Melinda Gates visit to Eastern Kentucky and Floyd County Schools visit www.gatesnotes.com.
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