JCPS 'discontinuing' certain classes after state report reveals - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS 'discontinuing' certain classes after state report reveals certified teacher issue

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Several JCPS student programs have at least been temporarily halted after administrators discovered the classes were being taught by non-certified staff.

Last month, the Office of Education Accountability delivered a report to JCPS officials stating the district has a "long history" of having non-certified staff members teach and supervise students and has violated state law by doing so.

“We've had to make some adjustments and get some more information on specifics,” said interim JCPS superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio.

OEA said the practice of "non-certified staff teach and supervise students during the instructional day ... is systemic within the schools of the district." It adds that the practice was "in existence prior to and at the time" former Superintendent Donna Hargens came to the district.

In a response to the report, Pollio said he did “not believe this issue is widespread or systemic.”

“We still don't believe it had been widespread, but we have had to deal with situations in multiple schools,” Pollio said Wednesday.

One example is Stopher Elementary, where according to a letter sent home to parents, both the Latin and Visual Arts programs are discontinued until certified teachers can be found to teach the classes.

A similar letter went home to Hite Elementary parents that stated, “Hite notified our Chinese instructor that she would no longer be able to continue in her current capacity.”

“The way (the district has) been getting around it is assigning them with a collaboration teacher,” said Sue Foster, president of AFSCME Local 4011. “The problem we have is a lot of times they never meet with those collaboration teachers.”

"The Instructor III position is a classified position in JCPS and as such, does not require a teaching certificate," the report stated. "However, the investigation revealed ... that individuals employed in the Instructor III job classification are routinely assigned to supervise and teach students during the instructional day without the presence of a certified teacher in the classroom."

Pollio said on Wednesday that district leaders were “discussing ways” to help Instructor III personnel obtain proper certifications. If not, JCPS will have to hire additional certified teachers to keep some of those programs afloat.

According to Foster, there are currently 270 instructor III’s working for JCPS.

“The more specific the curriculum, for example a foreign language like Latin or Chinese, the more difficult it is to find a teacher that is certified to teach that,” Pollio said.

All assistant superintendents, all human resource personnel and each of the district’s 155 school principals were ordered to take part in additional training by Oct. 15 to prevent the issue from coming up again. 

Reporter Travis Ragsdale can be reached at 502-797-7116 or via email TRagsdale@wdrb.com

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