Kentucky Unveils 19 More Low-Achieving Schools, 5 From JCPS

by Devin Katayama on October 19, 2011

Kentucky has released the next round of Persistently Low Achieving (PLA) public schools, and five of the 19 schools are in Jefferson County.

Over 40 percent of Kentucky’s PLA schools now come from JCPS. Schools become PLA when they’re the bottom of a list of schools not meeting a certain level of progress. Schools must choose one of four models to turn around student success. JCPS has used a re-staffing model in its last two groups of PLA schools, but that’s not the only option, said Superintendent Donna Hargens.

“If I can get really good answers to three questions: if everybody knows what the students are supposed to learn, if they’re using data and they’re doing things to support individual students and learning, helping them to learn more, or to enrich what they’re doing, to me those are the key variables,” Hargens said.

Hargens was careful not to say whether she supported re-staffing PLA schools. Schools that do re-staff are following a specific plan for improvement and the decision is not necessarily a reflection on the staff’s performance, she said.

The five new JCPS PLA schools all saw positive gains in standardized testing prior to being named PLA, she said. But not enough to keep them off the list.

“What I think is hard for schools that are working hard, and to see improvement like you see in those five schools, that the improvement wasn’t enough improvement. So we stand ready to support the schools to keep that upward trend going,” said Hargens.

The five JCPS schools will consider re-staffing as an option to help turn around the schools, but the district will wait for the curriculum audit currently being performed for JCPS, said Hargens.

The audit is expected to be presented to the district in January.

The five new schools are: Frederick Law Olmstead Academy North, Myers Middle, Stuart Middle, Thomas Jefferson Middle, Westport Middle.

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