The chairman of the Elizabethtown Board of Education recently made a plea for collaboration between the district’s two elementary schools.

Competition can be healthy, but board chairman Tony Kuklinski is concerned a rivalry between the staffs at Morn­ingside Elementary School and Helmwood Heights Ele­men­tary School is not in the best interest of student achievement.

In a public meeting, he called on the schools to collaborate more when addressing academic performance.

Kuklinski pointed to similarities in the school populations and their proximity as reasons to believe that shared solutions is the way to go.

“There has to be a collaboration for the benefit of our students,” Kuklinski said. “And if one thing works in this school, then share it with the other.”

Tim Mudd, principal of Morningside Elementary, and Jessica Turner, Helm­wood Heights’ principal, were at the meeting to offer a presentation about past and future improvements to help the academic progress of certain student groups attending the two schools.

Last school year, the two schools, along with Eliza­bethtown High School and T.K. Stone Middle School, were labeled as Targeted Support and Improvement schools, a label the Kentucky De­partment of Education uses for schools with low performing students with disabilities, minority students, English learners or economically disadvantaged students.

Kuklinski’s challenge was uncharateristically transparent for a district known for its harmonious public profile and Tradition of Excellence motto.

Some may have been put off by the directness, but it certainly seems well intended and an appropriate exercise in leadership from the elected school board.

The principals at both schools are well respected, thoughtful individuals who, along with the teaching staff, have formulated specific plans including instructional assistants, engagement with students in smaller groups and more parental involvement.

It will be interesting to see the results of their collective efforts.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.

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