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About Our School

Edythe J. Hayes Middle School, located southeast of town, was established in August 2004. Our mission statement charges the faculty and staff with engaging "all learners in a safe and nurturing environment that fosters academic excellence and develops responsible, respectful leaders and citizens." This statement goes beyond school climate - beyond high academic standards - and combines the two to create a developmentally responsive, socially equitable, and academically challenging environment for our students.


Our staff has been trained in Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures to maximize engagement in the classroom.  Each department employs a Kagan coach, providing feedback to teachers on engagement strategies.  We leverage our athletics and extracurricular activities to engage our students in the middle school experience.  We offer the most athletic teams in our district, with each winning multiple district, regional, state, and national championships.  We also offer a wide range of clubs and groups for our students, which have also been recognized nationally.

We offer unique experiences for our special needs populations through our IMPACT Days, centered around the national Spread the Word to End the Word campaign. Panther Men of Quality and Real Girls Stand Strong offer mentorship, guidance, and beyond classroom experiences for at-promise students.  The Legacy Equine Academy offers opportunities for minority students to explore the Fayette Co. equine industry as it attempts to attract a diverse work force.


Our school is also home to the WEB program, which stands for “Where Everybody Belongs.”  We welcome and embrace students from diverse backgrounds with unique talents, interests, and characteristics. WEB is a yearlong program where eighth-grade leaders conduct experiential activities to prepare incoming sixth-graders for middle school. Activities include a high-energy, inspirational Day 1 assembly, monthly group events, peer mentoring/tutoring, and structured gatherings.

In addition, our school has the lowest discipline rate of any middle school in Fayette Co. We average 2.5 office referrals a day, well below the national average of 12 referrals a day for a school our size.  We employ the Employability Operating System for instant communication between school and parents regarding Tier 1 behaviors.  

We employ four guidance counselors, with three dedicated to each grade level, and a fourth dedicated to students with special needs.  In addition, our guidance staff includes a school psychologist and a full-time mental health specialist.  We also partner with the Kentucky Center for Grieving Children and Families and Adams Counseling to offer during school and after school group and family counseling sessions. 

Our building is designed with supervision and line-of-sight in mind.  With our 120 interior and exterior cameras, we have no "dead spots" for supervision.  As part of the district's 10-point safety plan, all students must wear ID badges during the day, and all exterior doors have alert monitors when opened. 


Post-COVID, our school has the highest percentage of students scoring proficient and distinguished on the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment as of April 2022.  In addition, our school has the lowest number of students scoring novice, as well as the highest percentage of students meeting or exceeding their growth targets on MAP.

We developed the Accelerated Learning Program, which offers advanced courses in language arts, math, science, social studies, and Spanish.  This program differs from magnet programs, wherein students may qualify for classes targeted to their strengths, rather than a "all or nothing" approach.  We also employ the only full-time middle school gifted and talented teacher beyond the magnet programs.  In 2020, we launched our new Academy Preparation Program, which redefined our exploratory classes to include career and industry tracking and testing.

Currently, students in our school can possibly earn up to seven high school credits before their freshman year- English I, Algebra I, geometry, digital literacy, agricultural science (animal & veterinary science), Spanish I, and Spanish II.  

Our music programs are recognized among the elite in the state.  The band, chorus, and orchestra have received distinguished ratings from KMEA for 18 consecutive years.

Our teachers, both past and present, have been honored with national awards.  Former band director Lois Wiggins was a Grammy Award Finalist, and 8th grade social studies teacher April Deener was named the Kentucky History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Finally, our students have represented us in state and national science fair competitions, and our Beta, KUNA, and KYA groups have been named Clubs of Distinction.


We are part of the various leadership opportunities we afford our students.  First, is our WEB program, referenced above.  Over 200 students apply annually for roughly 100 WEB spots. 

Our Beta Club is a National Club of Distinction, as well as a national service award winner.  We partner with UK Dance Blue each year for the annual Pantherthon, where in 2022 we raised a record $18,878 for pediatric cancer research.  We also partner with leadership expert and speaker Ted Weise to conduct an annual leadership seminar for selected students. 

Our faculty and staff members work together to give every child who passes through our doors the keys to success - not only in school, but also in the community. We believe in building relationships with our students that extend beyond the classroom and promote positive interactions by using our guidelines to success - the Panther Promise: Learn Daily, Laugh Often, Lead Respectfully, and Live Responsibly.