KONZ |Moving past the halfway mark of visiting 100 JCPS schools - WDRB 41 Louisville News

KONZ |Moving past the halfway mark of visiting 100 JCPS schools in 100 days

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WDRB education reporter works with a Middletown Elementary School fourth grader during one of her school visits. WDRB education reporter works with a Middletown Elementary School fourth grader during one of her school visits.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – First of all, a little disclaimer. I am actually at about 60 schools into this 100 schools, 100 days journey I've been on since December, but I have just been so busy here lately that I haven't been able to recap.

On Dec. 1, I made a commitment to visit 100 Schools in 100 Days – a chance to sit in classrooms, visit with students and school staff and see what is going on inside Jefferson County Public Schools.

Some days, I visit more than one school. Other days I don't visit any. But by the last day of school on June 5, my goal is to have visited 100 different schools.

I am really hoping that I will be able to accomplish this goal, although it has been difficult with so many snow days and other developing stories I have had to work on since the beginning of the year. With only a few weeks left, I still need to visit 40 schools. My fingers are crossed and my schedule is packed.

I'm tweeting photos of each visit (https://twitter.com/tkonzwww.twitter.com/tkonz) and I am posting them on Instagram (https://instagram.com/tonikonz). You can use the hashtag #100Schools100Days to follow along.

With these columns, I am trying to provide a short synopsis of each school I visited and at least one thing I learned while I was there (other things I learned may be used for a future story). If I (or one of my colleagues at WDRB) wrote a story about that school after my visit, there is also a link to that story.

You can read my recap of the first 20 schools I visited here: The first 20 -- what I'm learning by visiting 100 JCPS schools in 100 days

Here are the 30 schools that took me past my halfway mark a few weeks ago:

1)      Kammerer Middle School (7315 Wesboro Road) – Feb. 6. Wanted to visit and check in with principal David Armour, who is on his second stretch as principal at Kammerer. Armour had spent four years at Kammerer as principal before leaving to pursue other opportunities within JCPS in 2010. He returned to the school last year. While here, I also visited several classrooms and learned more about the school's video production and broadcast crew.

2)      Klondike Lane Elementary School (3807 Klondike Lane) – Feb 6. I stopped by to visit the classrooms of some teachers who were participating in the annual Cupid's Kids event, where students are encouraged to make valentines for children at Kosair Children's Hospital.

3)      Young Elementary School (3526 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd) – Feb 6. I also picked up valentines for Cupid's Kids, but also had the chance to hang out in Shauna Duehmig's classroom, as well as learn about the school's International Baccalaureate program. I also learned about the school's Discovery Lab, which I later wrote about during a week-long break from school due to snow.

4)      Academy @ Shawnee (4018 W. Market Street) – Feb. 6. During this visit, I learned about how Joe Jewell had recently taken principal Houston Barber on a plane ride. You can read about that story here. The Academy @ Shawnee's flight program has been around since the 1980s. Students can come from any school within Jefferson County.

5)      Central High School (1130 W. Chestnut Street) – Feb. 23. Visited a few classrooms before the off-site school board meeting that was held here. As a side note, longtime principal Dan Withers announced in April that he's retiring at the end of this school year. He's been with JCPS since 1972.

6)      Hartstern Elementary School (5200 Morningside Way) – Feb. 24. Read to students as part of Read Across America and visited several classrooms.

7)      Fairdale High School (1001 Fairdale Road) – Feb. 25. Visited here to see how far the school has come in its turnaround efforts and I found that three years after being named one of the state's lowest performing schools, it is showing remarkable progress.

8)      Farmer Elementary School (6405 Gellhaus Lane) – Feb. 27. During this visit, I learned how fifth grade teacher Laurel Oskins was using the March Madness basketball tournament to create a Book Madness event in her classroom.

9)      Barret Traditional Middle School (2561 Grinstead Drive) – March 2. Have not written a story about this visit yet, but I visited several classrooms and learned how lots of students here are involved in either band or orchestra.  

10)   Okolona Elementary School (7607 Preston Highway) – March 2. Visited here to read to Pam Kusinski's kindergarten students in celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday. I also learned about how students are using technology with robots.

11)   St. Matthews Elementary School (601 Browns Lane) – March 2. Visited several classrooms and also attended the school's career day, where I was able to talk to fourth and fifth graders about my job.

12)   Crosby Middle School (303 Gatehouse Lane) – March 2. Saw lots of classrooms and wrote about how JCPS is trying to reduce overcrowding concerns here. I also attended a packed SBDM meeting that later addressed this issue.

13)   Newburg Middle School (4901 Exeter Ave.) – March 3. Visited a few science classrooms to see how the new science standards are being taught. I previously wrote about this in August. While here, I also attended school board member Lisa Willner's community conversation.

14)   Kenwood Elementary School (7420 Justan Avenue) – March 10. This was a visit that had to be rescheduled due to all of the snow days, but it was for a celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday! While here, I ate green eggs and ham and also learned about the amazing technology in place at this school. Almost every student has an i-Pad assigned to them, thanks to several grants from a private donor/supporter of Kenwood.

15)   Fairdale Elementary School (10104 Mitchell Hill Road) – March 10. Visited several classrooms. I have not yet written a story, but I learned about how this school embraces its large English as a Second Language student population through the use of arts.

16)   Westport Teenage Parent Program (8800 Westport Road) – March 12. This is the first time I had ever visited this program. The visit was to write about how JCPS was exploring changes to teenage pregnancy alternative school program.

17)   Lincoln Elementary School (930 E. Main Street) – March 18. While visiting several classrooms here, students taught me how to tap dance!

18)   Luhr Elementary School (6900 Fegenbush Lane) – March 18. Visited here as teacher Aggie Adwell was named the latest recipient of the Excellence in Classroom and Educational Leadership Award by the district.

19)   Moore Traditional High School (6415 Outer Loop) – March 23. Visited a few classrooms prior to the off-site Jefferson County Board of Education meeting that was held here that night.

20)   Cochrane Elementary School (2511 Tregaron Avenue) – March 24. Visited here as teacher Deanna Ford was named the latest recipient of the Excellence in Classroom and Educational Leadership Award by the district.

21)   Knight Middle School (9803 Blue Lick Road) – March 25. Principal Cathy Gibbs gave me a great tour of her school, which is also making great strides in turning around low student achievement. We later went back when a local company donated 100 i-Pads to the school.

22)   Waggener High School (330 S. Hubbards Lane) – April 16. Nine low-performing JCPS schools could shed 'priority' label this year and Waggener is one of them. Spent the afternoon learning about what the school is doing to improve student learning.

23)   Western Middle School (2201 W. Main Street) – April 16. Attended school board member Diane Porter's community conversation and learned about how the performing arts magnet is starting to grow and attract a lot of students.

24)   Seneca High School (3510 Goldsmith Lane) – April 17. Visited the school's Ellen B. Ewing Courtroom and wrote about how a donation of a new court recording system that includes four cameras, eight microphones and a document camera is helping pre-law magnet students there.

25)   Fern Creek High School (9115 Fern Creek Road) – April 23. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Fern Creek High as part of his day-long stop in Louisville. While here, I learned about how the school has incorporated food into a literature class.

26)   Maupin Elementary School (1312 Catalpa Street) – April 29. Stopped by here following the death of a kindergartener, who was struck and killed in an accident while waiting for her school bus.

27)   Hite Elementary School (12408 Old Shelbyville Road) – May 6. Stopped by to visit Tim Hagan, who is retiring at the end of this school year after being principal at Hite for 17 years. While here, I also saw a lot of amazing student artwork.

28)   Middletown Elementary School (218 N. Madison Avenue) – May 6. Visited several classrooms and was thrown into “Are You Smarter Than a Fourth Grader?” being played in the media center.

29)   Dunn Elementary School (2010 Rudy Lane) – May 12. Stopped by to see the school's new library media center and visited several classrooms.

30)   Hawthorne Elementary School (2301 Clarendon Avenue) – May 12. Hawthorne offers a dual-language Spanish immersion program. It's also one of 31 public schools in Jefferson County where students will begin receiving free breakfast and lunch this fall – regardless of their income.

I have 40 more schools to visit in a very short period of time. Where should I go next?

Reporter Antoinette Konz has been an education reporter for 13 years and has been covering Jefferson County Public Schools since 2007. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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