Principals at low-performing JCPS schools get to keep their jobs - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Principals at low-performing JCPS schools get to keep their jobs

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- They lead some of JCPS' lowest-performing schools, but the state says seven area principals are the right people for the job.

The Kentucky Department of Education found that the principals have implemented new strategies to improve those schools, so they will keep their jobs.

As JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens explains, "We know one of the correlates of an effective school is to have a strong leader. So that they were affirmed to be the person that is the right person to lead those schools forward is very affirming to them, but also to the teams they represent and the communities that they represent."

Bryce Hibbard is the principal at Southern High School -- one of the seven schools that were part of the KDE audit.  In his second year on the job, he says he's already seeing a positive change.

In fact -- today school was not in session, but 100 students came in on their own to get help studying for the ACT.  Hibbard says: "Our kids are starting to get that there's purpose every day to come in and I didn't see that when I first came here."

Southern's graduation level has only been at 60 percent, but an early projection for this year, shows improvement --78 percent.

But Hibbard says he's not the only one responsible for the turnaround:  "It's what we're doing, it's not me. Southern had always been about working with kids.  The thing I've told the staff -- we have to work with them differently. You know, things are changing so our teaching strategies have to change, so that's happening here."

Earlier this month Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said some of the district's low-performing schools haven't shown enough progress over the past three years.  He even said the state may be forced to "take over" the lowest-performing schools after this summer.

But Hargens says this assessment reinforces that the strategies the district has put in place will increase student achievement.  The other principals keeping their jobs are at Doss, Fairdale, Iroquois, Seneca, and Waggener High Schools and Knight Middle School.

The assessment team also gave suggestions to each school for improvements.

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