JCPS board discusses student assignment plan, possible changes t - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS board discusses student assignment plan, possible changes to magnet program

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Public Schools just started classes a couple of weeks ago but students will soon start applying for next year.

JCPS school board members met Tuesday afternoon to go over the district’s student assignment plan. The process, on how students are assigned to schools, could see some changes soon.

"I think this is a really important conversation for us to have as a board," said Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens about the three-hour work session.

"One of the things people tell us is that we're always not on the same page about how we talk about things so, that's important to be on the same page,” said Hargens.

That included reminding board members how student assignment works - where parents apply, what that application looks like, and why choice is so important.

"90 percent of our parents are satisfied with the school that they've been assigned to," said board member Chris Brady.

That was just one success of the program JCPS brought up Tuesday night.

Others include the fact that 85 percent of students get their first choice in their cluster – meaning they chose a school in their neighborhood and were accepted.

Also, more than half of kids who apply to a magnet school get their first choice.

But there are some challenges: 42 percent of students do not choose their “resides” (neighborhood school) and 47 percent miss the application deadline altogether.

"Do we have a problem with our most sought after schools being too jammed up?" asked board chairman David Jones.

In May, JCPS talked about three recommendations from the Magnet Schools of America regarding how students are selected.

It recommended a random option for elementary students using no criteria, or for middle and high school kids factoring in their attendance, behavior, test scores and their GPA.

"One of the things that we do is we make sure that criteria is really well spelled out, it's open and transparent and everyone understands what steps are being followed," said Brady.

But not everyone understands yet. So the district is putting together a committee -- possibly including teachers and students -- to review those recommendations over the next few weeks.

Parents and students learn more about different schools during the showcase of schools in October and November. For the dates and times, click here.

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