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PTHS welcomes dance program, AP Scholar awards

BY GENEVIEVE POSTLETHWAIT gpostlethwait@paducahsun.com

With its addition of an elective course in dance and its record number of students recognized as Advanced Placement Scholars, Paducah Tilghman High School stole the spotlight Monday night at the Paducah board of education meeting. The board also approved a plan for paying its workers compensation assessment for the deficit left by the failed Kentucky School Boards Insurance Trust.

Assistant Superintendent William Black shared PTHS's AP scores and participation numbers for the 2013-2014 school year, the highest the school has ever achieved. Assistant Principal Jonathan Smith then recognized the school's 33 students who earned special designation from the College Board's AP Program, including 23 AP Scholars, eight AP Scholars with Distinction and one National AP Scholar.

The board then approved the addition of dance as an elective to diversify Tilghman's arts and humanities offerings.

"We already have a full class with 30 students, and I see it expanding," Principal Arthur Davis told the board.

PTHS's first official dance class will be held this morning during first period in the auxiliary gym. According to Davis the class will be taught by Kim Dill of Center Stage Dance Studio and will cover various kinds of dance, including modern dance, ballroom and jazz. As an elective course, dance will be fully integrated into the school's curriculum just like drama, orchestra, choir and band.

Davis said the school already has more student interest than it can accommodate with one teacher, but he hopes to expand the program.

"The kids are so excited about it," Davis said. "This is something I've been wanting to get put into the program that's been needed. We want to reach out to all students, and I believe that it will grow."

The board approved the KSBIT payment plan suggested by Superintendent Donald Shively. KSBIT, which provided workers' compensation and property and liability insurance for school districts across the state, became insolvent and shut down in June 2013, leaving the Paducah Independent School District with a bill of $210,834 for workers compensation. The board chose to pay 25 percent, or $52,709, this year and the remaining balance in equal interest-free payments of $31,635 over the next five years.

"We will not let this disrupt the services that our students receive," Shively said of the KSBIT bill in an earlier interview with The Sun. "We've known for a while that there would be a number coming down for this, and so we've been able to plan accordingly."

Contact Genevieve Postlethwait, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or at gpostlethwait@paducahsun.com.

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