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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The scores are out, and we now know where Jefferson County Public Schools stand under new testing guidelines -- and the news is not good.
Jefferson Co. was outperformed by 76 percent of the state's schools, but the school district plans to bring those scores up.
The new learning model holds students to a higher standard than the old one. So the lower scores, while alarming, are not unexpected. And JCPS is urging parents not to panic.
As Superintendent Donna Hargens puts it, "We have the will and we're building the capacity within our schools to raise student achievement."
As Hargens revealed the dismal numbers on Friday, she tried to reassure parents that the district already has a plan of action. The school board adopted a new strategic plan in May which, Hargens says, will allow JCPS to use the results to improve learning: "All of our students can do this. It's about creating a plan and a path where they have the extra time and support to do it."
The new Unbridled Learning model holds schools accountable for five primary areas:
-- Achievement, which is student performance. -- Gap, which shows gaps in academic performance among students who are ethnic minorities, are disabled, are English language learners or from low-income households -- Growth in reading and math -- College and Career readiness -- Graduation Rates.
When the scores are totaled, Jefferson Co. falls in the lowest one-quarter of the state, which is actually an improvement.
Jefferson Co. School Board member Linda Duncan said, "We're not at the bottom. One of the things in the rankings we've noticed, we've moved up from 152 to 133 out of 174 districts. That's good progress. That's moving in the right direction."
JCPS says it has taken steps to deal quickly with students who are struggling. As Dewey Hensley, JCPS Chief Academic Officer explains, "We've created some positions and removed some positions and reallocated people and resources so that we're able to support schools and empower schools to really focus on achievement."
Hargens urges parents to focus on their child's individual test scores, which will come by mail later this month: "So I would look at the individual student level. How is my child doing and do they have the supports in place in the school that they're at?"
All this comes against the backdrop of Tuesday's election, which will re-shape the school board. But Hargens believes the new board will approve of the school district's new roadmap.