Teacher sickout doesn’t stop the learning at Southern High School

Despite sickout, Southern High School students, teachers show up anyway

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - At some JCPS schools, learning isn’t being put on hold while the teachers are out.

More than 30 Southern High School students still came in Thursday along with about 20 of their teachers.

“It says a whole lot about these kids because they’re here on a day that they’re probably going to have to make up in the future,” 11th-grade English teacher Emilie Blanton said.

Blanton has been prepping her students for the ACT college entrance exam.

Five days before the state-wide exam, she said students reached out to her when they heard class was canceled.

“I’m so proud of them,” Blanton said. “I mean they’ve been following all of this as closely as they can, and when they talk about it with me, they ask, ‘What can we do in the meantime?’”

Junior Avery Wells said he plans to be the first one in his family to go to college.

“We know that the ACT can be the one test that leads to a brighter future, to places that we do not have to live the same life that our parents lived and go be better for ourselves,” Wells said.

Wells said he’s learning more from watching from afar as the teacher’s advocate for public education in Frankfort, than he would in a typical classroom experience.

“(With) all the teacher absences it’s been a little stressful,” junior Catherine Starnes said. “But at the same time, we still have time to study and prep here, so it’s really helpful.”

In addition to ACT prep for sophomores and juniors, freshmen got extra help in social studies and seniors worked on their defense presentations for their Backpack of Success Skills.

“I think this is important on a lot of levels,” Principal Tyler Shearon said. “I also think what is going on in Frankfort is important but we’re trying to control what we can control, and teachers wanted the opportunity to continue to work with kids, especially with all these looming deadlines.”

Blanton said she and some of the other teachers are conflicted when deciding if they should be in Frankfort or in class.

“I’ve been boots on the ground in Frankfort, but I’m going to be boots on the ground here for now because at the end of the day we are all fighting and supporting for our students and so some of (the teachers) are going down there making their voices heard in Frankfort and we are going to stay here and take care of the kids and maybe we will take turns and we will see how it goes,” Blanton said.

Junior Jolly Patel said even though advocating is taking many of her teachers far away, she understands and appreciates why they’re doing it.

“I support my teachers all the way,” Patel said. “They’re doing an absolutely amazing job and I appreciate every single one of my teachers that are there and that are here helping us today.”

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