March 31, 2022 | Local News
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

(Left to right) St. Mary Middle and High School principal Doug Shelton, State Farm agent Kent Bohannon, School System director Monica Hayden, State Farm staff member Emily Townzen, and Preschool and Elementary School principal Mary Smith. COURTESY OF ST. MARY SCHOOL SYSTEM 

Widening the Circle: State Farm provides grant to St. Mary School System

​Funds to provide assistance for Widening the Circle program

State Farm recently awarded a grant in the amount of $2,500 to the St. Mary School System in Paducah. The funds will provide the seed money for their Widening the Circle program to create an even more inclusive school system.

Looking to the future, St. Mary School System anticipates an increase in students with learning differences and special learning needs. While Resource Teachers are available at St. Mary, it is recognized that all teachers and staff need the skills and training to build an inclusive school community to serve students with special learning needs.

“The word Catholic actually means “universal”.  Our goal is to enhance and expand the way we serve all students regardless of their learning needs. We already serve a large number of students with learning differences and are excited to partner with Inclusions Solutions and State Farm to better serve each student who walks through our doors,” said Monica Hayden, School System director.

The State Farm grant in addition to other funding sources will fund the implementation of the Widening the Circle training program for all teachers and staff within the school system. This year-long intensive program will require a detailed framework analysis done by Inclusion Solutions out of Phoenix, AZ. The program will evaluate the school community and create a comprehensive plan for greater inclusion within the school system. Through school-wide workshops, one-on-one coaching with teachers and administrators, and online support, St. Mary will work to implement the needed skills within each classroom from preschool to 12th grade.

“At State Farm, we make it our business to be like a good neighbor, helping to build safer, stronger, and better-educated communities,” said local State Farm agent Kent Bohanon. “Diverse and inclusive neighborhoods are the foundation of a strong society, and schools systems like St. Mary definitely strive to make our local communities a better place to live.”

St. Mary School System opened its doors on October 12, 1858 as the first formal school in Paducah, Kentucky. Their mission to educate all students regardless of their background, ability, or economic status has stayed constant for the last 164 years.

For more information, contact Ashley Wright at [email protected] or (270) 442-1681, ext. 286.

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