Auditors Say JCPS Thomas Jefferson Middle Can Decide How to Turn Around School

by Devin Katayama on February 15, 2012

The Kentucky Department of Education is letting a fifth Jefferson County Public School decide how it’ll turn around student achievement. Thomas Jefferson Middle school now will pick one of four options to boost student success.

Earlier this year, KDE audited four of the five JCPS schools that were included in the third round of persistently low-achieving  schools according to the No Child Left Behind Act. KDE allowed the School-Based Decision Making Councils that set individual school policies to decide which of the four turnaround models will be used to improve student success; Myers Middle only had an advisory role in its decision.

For the first time the JCPS board allowed the schools to move forward with the “transformation” model, which keeps good teachers by measuring student growth and offers performance based incentives. The other options include the “restaffing” method and replaces at least half the teachers, which 13 other JCPS schools have already done. Less popular options include closing the school or relinquishing local management.

The next step for Thomas Jefferson is to seek public input, said principal Kimberly Gregory.

“Ultimately the council will decide which model we think would best serve the needs of Thomas Jefferson Middle school and our kids,” she said.

In the next 30 days Greogory said she plans on meeting with stake holders to figure out how the school will answer the several deficiencies found by KDE. But the school will likely make its decision without knowing how much support it’ll receive, she said.

“We haven’t been given any real indication of what the funding for either model will be at the state level,” said Gregory.

Funding for this third round of PLA schools at the federal level is still uncertain and will likely be less than what has been provided to the two previous PLA cohorts. The five low achieving schools in this latest round will all develop turnaround plans for how to address deficiencies this year.

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