Kentucky Board of Education reviews progress in 'priority school - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky Board of Education reviews progress in 'priority schools'

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky Board of Education met Wednesday and one topic of discussion was the progress of priority schools throughout the state.

Priority schools classification began after a 2010 law asked the state Department of Education to find the lowest performing schools and create a plan to improve their progress. Ten schools were placed into priority status that year. 

There are 36 priority schools in the 2014-15 school year and half of those are in Jefferson County. 

“Jefferson has some unique barriers because they are the largest urban district in the state,” said Kelly Foster with Next Generation Schools and Districts.

Part of the process of being classified as a priority school includes receiving diagnostic reviews every two years. 

In the past two weeks, review teams have been in Jefferson County at Iroquois, Seneca, Fairdale, Southern, Doss, Knight and Waggener high schools. 

Part of the review process includes determining if more state intervention is needed. Some of those intervention options include replacing the principal, replacing more than half of the faculty, closing the school and transferring students or restarting the schools under private sector leadership.  

When those reports come back I'll be meeting with Dr. Hargens and the principals probably late February, early March,” said Foster.

The schools were reviewed over a two or three day period. Last year, reviews were conducted at nine JCPS schools – Olmsted Academy North, Myers Middle, Frost Middle, Stuart Middle, Thomas Jefferson Middle, Westport Middle, the Academy at Shawnee, Western High and Valley High. Ultimately, JCPS closed Myers and sent its student to Waggener, while Frost was turned into a sixth grade academy. 

“We're really excited about the progress of our priority schools in Jefferson County,” said Foster, “We also recognize the fact that there are areas for growth.”

Of the 36 priority schools throughout the state, 14 are on track to drop the classification at the end of the school year. That would mean meeting State standards three years in a row, getting out of the bottom 5% of schools in the state and having at least a 70% graduation rate.

Another set of reviews will be presented before the Kentucky Board of Education in October.  

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