LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens spoke with WDRB in the Morning on Friday about how parents can best prepare their students for the upcoming school year.
JCPS classes resume on Wednesday, Aug. 10. We asked Dr. Hargens what parents need to know before sending their children to school.
"What they need to know is that the first day is about learning," Hargens said. "But they need to be on time at the bus stops. There are ways to find that out. You can go to our website and look at "Parents" under "Bus Finder" or call 485-RIDE. And I'll be answering phones along with other folks Sunday afternoon, starting at 5:50.
"So getting to the bus stop at the right time is really, really important and being ready for school. Making sure students know who they are, there's identification in their backpack. But most important is let it be about learning."
Riding the bus can be a challenge for students. Busing has been a challenge for the district. Talk to me about some of the challenges you've been through last year. Compared to this year is the school district in a better place this year compared to last?
"Absolutely. We have actually about 60 less buses on the road, so we've made our transportation routes more efficient. Bus Finder has worked very effectively. Our parents are incredible in finding out when the student needs to be at the bus stop. We encourage people to be there early and to really pay attention to that, because that's important. And to ride in the morning and afternoon so students get used to riding. And we have academic expectations, a new behavior support system. So we have high expectations for our students' behavior on buses as well."
I want to ask you about the job vacancies. We had a story this morning about approximately 150 vacancies for teachers and support staff. School starts Wednesday. Will the school system be ready?
"Absolutely. Our goal is to have a teacher in every classroom. I welcomed hundreds of new teachers to Jefferson County Public Schools yesterday afternoon, and they are so excited to be a part of Jefferson County and to serve the students. And we're a school system, so when the students arrive on Wednesday, that's a big deal for us. That's what we do. That's what we're about, and they look absolutely ready."
I personally admire what teachers do, it's such an admirable profession. Talk about your expectations for the district moving forward.
"Well, we have Vision 20/20 and it has really specific goals. And one is deeper learning, that we want our students to be able to do math and read well but we also want them to have the dispositions and capacities to be successful. That means our teachers have to personalize learning. That means our assessments have to be authentic.
"And the second goal is about us all being a learner. I need to be better today than I was yesterday. Every teacher needs to be better today than they were yesterday, so we all need to be learning and building capacities so that we can meet the needs of our students.
"And the last one is infrastructure. We want our parents to be able to call 313-HELP and get any answer they needs so that they can continue to support their students. So we've got lots of great things in place."
Specifically talk to parents. What can parents do to help students achieve goals in the future?
We have Parent Portal -- pay attention to and have a relationship with your teacher, know how your student is doing, know the many things that are available to support students who haven't mastered what they need to so far. There's no harm in that, you just need to work. And emphasize learning. I think reading is the most important -- I know it is -- 21st century skill. So today are you reading with your child? Did they read all summer? That's really important. So emphasizing education.
"And attendance is important. Students need to be in school to learn, so we if we could get all of our students at 100 percent attendance that would be a great goal."
Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.