JCPS emphasizes teacher recruitment, better communication in Sta - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS emphasizes teacher recruitment, better communication in State of the District speech

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Trying to improve graduation rates and reading skills, that was the overall goal as JCPS laid out its goals for the district for the next five years.

The Superintendent helped give the "State of the District" Tuesday afternoon. It includes plans and priorities for the remainder of this school year.

It's all part of the new five year strategic plan called "Vision 2020: Excellence with Equity." The plan includes a goal of increasing the high school graduation rate from 79 percent to 93 percent in 2020.

The district says it's also developing a new website and app to be more user-friendly.

"We're going to be developing an internal 311 system where all calls to JCPS will be routed from one number where students won't be passed around on the phone. They are going to get one person who is able to bring them to a resolution -- a real customer service mindset," Chief Operations Officer Mike Raisor said.

The district wants to also increase the percentage of minority teachers from 15.9 percent in 2015 to 25 percent in 2020. JCPS says it's increasing recruitment at colleges and universities.

"We have always had a goal that our staff reflects the diversity of our population -- our student population. There are lots of efforts to recruit," Superintendent Donna Hargens said.

It's also looking for people who want to make a career-change into teaching.

School officials believe "Vision 2020" will help students succeed after graduation. But not everyone is sold on the vision.

"Why haven't we met the goals that have been set," said Pat Mathison.

Pat Mathison is a huge proponent of education. Both of her children have college degrees, but she's also involved in the education of her niece and nephew.

"My nephew is a little rambunctious so sometimes I go and do pop up visits on him, just to see what he is doing when no one, when none of us are around," Mathison said. 

Part of JCPS' vision would focus on students reading at grade level. Mathison said that's an old promise.

"I've been hearing that that has been a goal for years. So why aren't we meeting the goals? So what are we doing to address that issue?" Hargens said. "What's in the plan is personalization, finding the pathway for every student to be successful."

Dr. Hargens also believes the improvements will happen as a result of the district's kindergarten readiness programs.

"So if kids don't come to kindergarten ready...then we are filling in the gaps so, we see the strength down there," said Hargens.

"We live by best practices," said Mathison.

Mathison hopes "Vision 2020" will produce results. If not, she believes the district should consider looking at some of its competition.

"Why aren't we adopting some of the programs and applications that other school districts are using or private schools are using that are working?" She said. 

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