JCPS sends 'star student' letters, stickers home to parents - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS sends 'star student' letters, stickers home to parents

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Photo courtesy Attica Scott/Twitter Photo courtesy Attica Scott/Twitter
Copy of the letter and sticker, tweeted by Atherton High junior Orvelle Thomas (courtesy Twitter) Copy of the letter and sticker, tweeted by Atherton High junior Orvelle Thomas (courtesy Twitter)
Photo courtesy of Dawn Fernandez on Twitter. Photo courtesy of Dawn Fernandez on Twitter.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- More than 88,000 letters are being sent home to the parents of Jefferson County Public Schools students this week recognizing them for having good behavior, attendance and grades.

In addition to the letter from Superintendent Donna Hargens, students also received a color sticker that reads: "Star Student" with the social media hashtag #IAmJCPS. 

The letter from Hargens reads: "We want to take this opportunity to celebrate your child’s recent accomplishments. As your superintendent, I just want to express how proud I am of your child’s efforts and how much I appreciate your support in choosing the Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) District. I want to encourage your child to continue to work hard every day to reach his or her full potential."

Allison Martin, a JCPS spokeswoman, said the district developed five criteria to recognize students: excellent attendance (they were absent five or fewer days); strong character (they have received no behavior referrals); high level of academic performance (they received all A’s or B’s on the latest semester report card); high marks on state tests (they scored proficient or distinguished) and college and career readiness (they met benchmarks on college/career-readiness tests).

"Each student received a letter from the superintendent notifying him or her of the criteria he or she met," said Allison Martin, a spokeswoman for JCPS. "Some met all five, others had four, three, two or one listed."

Martin said the idea for the letters was developed last year after hearing feedback from parents that the only time they received information about their students from the district was if something was wrong or if there was an issue.

"Parents said they regularly received positive communication about students meeting goals and objectives from their schools, but rarely received positive communication from the district, she said. 

Orvelle Thomas, a junior at Atherton High School, tweeted out a copy of his letter and sticker. He says it, along with a letter about his sister who attends Audubon Traditional Elementary School, were addressed to his mother and came in the mail on Monday.

"I saw the envelope in the mail and was a little confused as to why my sister and I received mail from the district at the same time, considering we are in different grades and schools," Thomas said. "I gave my mother envelope and she opened it and read aloud what it said. I was surprised. Being recognized by the superintendent really caught my attention."

Thomas said other students he knows received the letters as well.

"A lot of people at school got it but didn't say too much about it," he said. "They all believed it was a template just signed, but I was happy I got it and it embraced it. The sticker sits proudly on my bumper because I think it's really cool to be recognized by the superintendent on academic achievement and growth."

JCPS spent about $10,000 for the letters and stickers out of its general fund, Martin said. That cost did not include postage, which would cost an additional $11,000.

Martin says roughly 88,000 of the district's 101,000 students will receive a letter and sticker.

"It really shows how the vast majority of our students are going to school every day, they are doing the right thing and they are working hard," she said.

Reporter Antoinette "Toni" Konz covers education for WDRB. She can be reached at 585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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