JCPS says it's on the right path in correcting deficiencies unco - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS says it's on the right path in correcting deficiencies uncovered by state in audit

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – With a second monitoring visit from the Kentucky Department of Education coming this week, the Jefferson County Board of Education reviewed progress on the district’s corrective action plan Tuesday.

KDE released some findings from an ongoing management audit in a Sept. 20 letter, and since then, Jefferson County Public Schools has developed a multifaceted plan to fix issues uncovered in those parts of the state’s unprecedented examination of the school district’s management.

The agency found that JCPS did not comply with laws and regulations regarding services for students with disabilities, student restraint and seclusion, and career and technical education.

KDE has not released the final version of the audit, which could lead to state intervention in Kentucky’s largest school district. The agency will conduct a second on-site monitoring visit on Friday, JCPS staff said.

JCPS has or is in the process of implementing a number of changes to address issues already uncovered by the state education department, and officials at the district believe they’re on the way to correcting those deficiencies.

That’s based on feedback they say they’ve received from KDE.

“We actually went line by line through every single action that we had written and opened the evidence documenting where we were in that process, and really I think the feedback from the KDE team at the time was that we had made quite a bit of progress from the Sept. 20 letter to where we were in December,” Dena Dossett, chief executive of the district’s Data Management, Planning and Program Evaluation Services, said regarding a December meeting with the state.

For instance, JCPS will establish self-contained emotional-behavioral disabilities classrooms for elementary students and look at other sites to create new EBD classrooms as part of its corrective action plan.

The district said in a report to the school board that new positions for the initiative have been approved, with one school already establishing a self-contained EBD class and others on the way.

JCPS has also called for improved training for its Admissions and Release Committee as well as teachers and administrators to ensure students with special needs or those suspected of having disabilities are placed in appropriate school settings.

Additional training on de-escalation tactics is also part of the district’s corrective action plan, with monthly monitoring of student restraint and seclusion data required as well.

The district has also called for improved tracking of its career pathways data and training for CTE staff, plus an emphasis on its Academies of Louisville program to increase college and career readiness in its students.

In order to ensure compliance, JCPS has developed a new position that will monitor progress with its corrective action plan.

“We’ve got to be able to find these problems and issues before someone else does, so we need to make sure that we have a system in place that’s a little bit ahead of what’s coming,” Carmen Coleman, the district’s acting chief academic officer, told the school board Tuesday.

Steph Horne, who represents District 3 on the school board, said she was encouraged by JCPS’ response to deficiencies uncovered by KDE in its audit thus far and that parent engagement will be integral to the corrective action plan’s success.

“I really think that this message will be key to really engage our parents and listen and try to develop this cooperative atmosphere, and I think we are doing that,” Horne said.

A copy of the district's corrective action plan can be read here:

Reach reporter Kevin Wheatley at 502-585-0838 and kwheatley@wdrb.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevinWheatleyKY.

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