LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It was back to school for over 100,000 JCPS students Tuesday.

This is the third year on the job for JCPS superintendent Donna Hargens, who told us she loves the first day of school.

She says the past two years have been about creating the foundation for student achievement, and test scores coming in this year will help officials chart the district's future course.

"We'll know where we progressed from our baseline and we'll know where to go in the future, so it gives us great information about how to meet the needs of every student," Hargens said.

"We'll have information at the level of the student, so we'll not only know how schools did, we'll know how individual students did," Hargens said. "And that's really important because you have to know where you are so you can make a plan to get where you need to go."

Hargens says even when a particular school does well overall, administrators will continue to provide help to those students who need it.

"So even though a school is overall very successful, they may find students that weren't successful, so that's an opportunity to learn a do better," Hargens said.

Hargens also discussed Vision 2015, the JCPS road map to making the system one of the best in the nation.

"It's a strategic plan," Hargens said. "We developed it in year one. It really is a road map, it is a blueprint to how to get better. It's based on research, based on what curriculum manager auditors told us we need to focus on, it's about aligning all the efforts of the school system, directed toward student achievement. It has 36 strategies.

Hargens says she spent her first two years as superintendent building the groundwork for success.

"Year three to me is about vision and action, and making sure that we're implementing all of the strategies. Because we know they're researched-based. We know if we do it, it will work."

Hargens says raising minimum age for dropping out of school from 16 to 18 is very important to JCPS student success "because the expectation needs to be that all students graduate college and career ready. All students graduate prepared.

"And you can't have something on the books that says it's OK to drop out. That is not what we need for our students to even be thinking about. So that's important."

The minimum dropout age for JCPS students changes to 18 during the 2015-2016 school year, and takes effect statewide beginning in 2017.


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