WLEX - Channel 18
After a visit to eastern Kentucky that was shrouded in mystery, Bill Gates finally wrote about his visit to a school in Floyd County.
Gates visited Floyd and Pike Counties last year. His itinerary was not public, but pictures of the philanthropist began popping up on social media. Gates was visiting the Appalachian counties for several days on a very secretive mission regarding education in rural America.
Inside the school, Gates was learning how teachers in some of the poorest areas of the United States strive to change the way students learn with limited resources.
“Melinda and I visited Ricky’s classroom at Betsy Layne High School during our trip in November to Kentucky, where schools have been making some amazing progress. Since 2011, ACT scores have been going up. The graduation rate has risen from 80 percent to 86 percent since 2010, well above the national average of 81 percent,” Gates wrote in his blog. “We wanted to see what was driving all of these improvements. What we discovered is that one of the biggest reasons is great teachers.”
Gates used the visit to determine what needs to be done to improve education in the rural US. Given the collapse of the coal industry, high rates of poverty and disability, Betsy Layne High School is a “diamond in the rough.”
“What’s happening at Betsy Layne and other Kentucky schools show what’s possible when students are held to high standards and good teachers have the opportunity to become great. A longtime partner of our foundation’s education work, Kentucky is reaping the rewards of many years of investment in education reform. It set a high bar for what all students should know so they can be prepared for college or enter the workforce,” Gates wrote.
Bill and Melinda Gates post a selfie with students at Betsy Layne High School