Op-Ed: Enhancing Northern Kentucky’s school report cards

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The following op-ed was written by Susan Douglas, chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road

The recent release of Kentucky Department of Education’s 2021-2022 School Report card has left many Northern Kentucky parents wondering how to ensure that their children are not left behind as they continue their educational and vocational pursuits.

COVID, school closings, and inconsistent virtual learning experiences have all contributed to less-than-optimal scores for our schools, as measured by the US Department of Education’s standardized testing. The scores were disappointing and left many of us questioning how school safety fears, public health emergencies, social anxieties and the accompanying problems with mental health may potentially jeopardize the education of our children in the future.

According to Jason Glass, Kentucky’s Education Commissioner and Chief Learner, “There will be no quick fix for the challenges our students endured during the pandemic. It will take time and resources.”

Furthermore, Glass called for new and innovative learning opportunities for Kentucky’s students.

No one questions the hard work and dedication of Northern Kentucky’s teachers and
educational professionals. However, when factors beyond our control occur, it’s worth
considering ways to offer supplemental learning opportunities to our children so that they can weather the storm and be competitive in their future endeavors.

As CEO of Girl Scouts of Kentucky Wilderness Road, I am proud of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, where our girls look at our world, take action to change it for the better – they challenge themselves with new experiences and develop skills and confidence to lead. In fact, providing girls with in-depth practical learning so that they can excel with confidence, courage and character is exactly the premise of the Girl Scout program.

Through our programming in Northern Kentucky, young women have the opportunity to pursue innumerable interests including non-conventional career paths such as coding, STEM, automotive engineering, cyber security, entrepreneurship and much more in a safe, fun, inspirational and team building environment.

Each girl is encouraged to explore her interests in order to discover her talents, learn life skills and experiment with potential career paths. With positive mentorship and support, girls gain self-confidence and attain capabilities that lead to a lifetime of future accomplishments.

As a result, our Kentucky communities grow and prosper:

 Nearly 85% of Girl Scout Alums hold leadership positions.
 80% of Girl Scout Alums attribute their personal and business success to Girl Scouting.
 90% of Girl Scout Alumni are registered voters.
 70% of female members of the United States Congress were Girl Scouts.

 77% of girls say that, because of Girl Scouts, they are considering a career in science,
technology, engineering or math (STEM).

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott recently emphasized the importance of the Girl
Scouts with a transformational gift of $ 84.5 million to the Girl Scouts of America. Although our Kentucky council is not one of the 29 councils benefitting from these funds, this recognition serves as a testament to the value of the programming we provide.

In order to make our program accessible to more girls in Northern Kentucky, our council has recently embarked on the “Challenge A Girl to Change Our World” campaign which will build a state-of-the-art Leadership Campus in Erlanger. The campus will be a tremendous
enhancement to our community and a valuable resource for all Northern Kentucky citizens for decades to come.

Our hope is to give many more Northern Kentucky girls the competitive advantage that Girl Scouts offers so that they may realize their life goals and become our future leaders.

We are moving quickly to make our new Leadership Campus a source of pride in Northern Kentucky and we look to the community for support to help make this happen.

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