LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Valley High School has officially shed its status as being one of the lowest performing schools in the state, according to a letter from Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt.

Pruitt sent a letter to the school this week saying he had accepted the recommendation of the state's Accountability Appeals Committee, which voted 6-0 to agree with an appeal filed by Valley. The school had asked the state to reconsider the label to the school following the release of their latest test scores, which shows that the school has showed significant progress since it entered priority school status in 2010. 

“I commend Valley High School and its students, staff and parents for its tireless effort in pursuit of continuous school improvement,” Pruitt wrote.

In order to exit priority status, schools must meet their annual goals for three consecutive years, no longer be identified as being in the lowest five percent in the state and score at or above an 80 percent graduation rate for three consecutive years, according to new regulations that took effect in June 2015.

Valley High principal Rob Stephenson wrote in his appeal letter that his school has met its goal for four consecutive years, is out of the lowest five percent based on their overall score, and has a graduation rate of 79.8.

JCPS asked the state to consider using the same criteria for exiting that was in place when Valley entered priority status, which was a 70 percent graduation rate.

Kelly Foster, an associate commissioner with the Kentucky Department of Education, told the committee in February that she agreed with Valley's appeal, saying that they "should be able to come out of priority status.

"It's always been you get out based on how you got in," she said. "It's important for us to give credit to a school that has worked very hard since 2010 to get out of this status. They did everything they were asked to do."

Valley is the third JCPS District school to exit priority status. Waggener and Fern Creek high schools have also shed the label in recent years.


Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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