The Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) held its regular April meeting in-person at the Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP) State Championship on April 20 at the Central Bank Center in Lexington. The board also was led on a tour of the STLP championship events by students.

Nearly 14,000 students, educators, volunteers, community members and parents joined the event to watch preschool through 12th grade students showcase what they know and can do with technology in arts, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) and demonstrate many career-ready skills. Students participated in nearly 50 different STLP competition areas, like robotics, coding, web design and newscasting.

STLP students created projects, products or services as part of the program and demonstrated their learning by competing in various technology-rich events, including instructional, technical or community development projects; digital content creation such as digital art, photography, design, programming, app development and robotics; and technical services, like student help desk, network engineering and wireless applications.

David Couch, associate commissioner in the Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE’s) Office of Education Technology, said Kentucky is “the pioneer and national leader in most aspects of education technology and we actually have the largest, and I think the best, STLP program in the United States.”

Couch also said this is the 28th year of STLP in Kentucky and the 15th year Kentucky has had a state championship. The Kentucky STLP has approximately 60,000 participating students across the Commonwealth. This is the first time the state program has had an in-person event since December 2019.

Couch said the state championship began with more than 2,000 team and individual entries. Throughout the course of the day, judges identified 61 final projects and students competed until a final four were named state champions in elementary, middle and high school, as well as an overall winner. The students that earned a state championship title will move on to the International Society for Technology and Education Conference in New Orleans, La.

During the evening STLP award ceremony, KBE Chair Lu S. Young and Vice Chair Sharon Porter Robinson awarded two students the title of 2022 Outstanding STLP Ambassador: Alexander Ladd, a sophomore at Allen County High School, and Jess Thompson, a senior at the Ignite Institute (Boone County).

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