'My goal is to make them feel normal': Breathitt County Schools begin a new school year

Posted at 6:08 PM, Aug 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-29 18:18:03-04

JACKSON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Today was the first day of school for the Breathitt County School District.

This year looks different because of the flooding in eastern Kentucky. Breathitt County High School leaders say they are doing what they can to help students adjust — some lost everything. Overall, students are excited to be back.

Breathitt High Principal Charles Davidson says, "So far it's been great. The students and staff have been wonderful, making sure kids get to where they need to be. The kids have been very positive, you can tell they're really excited about being back with their friends."

School leaders say this has been a smooth start of school and that so far, they've seen 88% attendance. They say that this year there will be a greater focus on social and emotional learning.


"I think the best thing we can do now is kind of listen, give our kids time to adjust, give them some normalcy and then you know, do some interventions as we move through this school year for them," says Davidson.

More counselors and support staff will be available to students this year. This school's faculty and staff went through training to know the best ways to help students that have been impacted by flooding.

"We understand that students are going to be coming back with a lot of PTSD, a lot of anxiety. You know, I know one, as a guidance counselor I have wondered how our students are going to feel the first time it rains and they're at school and not at home or not with their family and outside of their comfort zone," says the school's counselor, Kera Howard.

Teachers understand that this year will look different for students and staff. They say their goal is to communicate and connect.


"My goal is to make them feel normal, you know, see if they need any basic needs. You know like if they need something to take home this evening for food or if they need a shower, they need clothes or anything like that, that we can get their basic needs, and get them where they need to be this evening when they go back home," says Breathitt High’s law enforcement teacher, Kenneth Spicer.

The school's leaders say they've seen faculty and staff come together to make the start of the school year happen and they want the community to continue to support one another as rebuilding continues.

"Being here in a small community, we build a lot of strong relationships with our kids, talk every day. Being an educator, they become a part of your family, they're one of your kids, you look out for them, you worry about them and I hope that rubs off on them and I think it does,” says Davidson.