JCPS Sign

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Kentucky Department of Education has said two principals in Jefferson County Public Schools don’t have the capacity to turn around their struggling schools, the district announced Friday.

The state diagnostic reviews, conducted by the group AdvancED and submitted to JCPS on Thursday, identified interim Valley High School Principal Jeffrey Gossett and Olmsted Academy South Principal Angela Allen as incapable of leading their schools’ turnaround efforts, JCPS said in a news release.

The state's review of Valley High, for example, found that students there "were rarely exposed to differentiated learning opportunities, high expectations, or rigorous coursework."

At Olmsted South, auditors were concerned with a "lack of differentiated learning" and inconsistent academic standards, "suggesting a possible negative impact on student achievement."

WDRB News obtained the 13 diagnostic reviews conducted on schools identified for comprehensive support and improvement, or CSI, in response to an open records request on Friday.

Earlier this month, similar diagnostic reviews found that Johnsontown Road Elementary Principal Malinda Dutkowski and Shelby Traditional Academy Principal Kim Goff also lacked the leadership capacity to improve their schools.

JCPS, in a news release, said it “is reviewing these recommendations and will make a determination at a later time.”

The review at Valley found that teachers and administrators couldn't articulate the school's improvement strategies. Teachers, for example, said that the "power walks" conducted by administrators were infrequent, and reviewers could not find evidence that those observations were used to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction offered in Valley classrooms.

Students, according to the report, were often given daily worksheets and direct instruction "rarely occurred."

"One student reflected the feelings of several students by saying, 'They need to do a root cause analysis to find out what is going on here with behaviors and they would see it’s because they don’t teach us,'" the report says. "'They give us assignments not worth our time.'"

Reviewers found that Olmsted South's comprehensive improvement plan "was not given any credence, supporting the perception that systematic and continuous improvement was not an ongoing practice at Olmsted Academy South."

"The team found no systematic approach across the administrative team and grade levels for focusing on the continuous improvement of student learning and teacher effectiveness," the report says.

"Interview data suggested a lack of systematic instructional leadership for the administrative team and the extended leadership team."

The most recent slate of diagnostic reviews found that leaders at 11 other CSI schools were capable of leading their schools’ improvement efforts.

Those CSI schools are the Academy @ Shawnee, Marion C. Moore School, Waggener High, Western High, Knight Middle, Olmsted Academy North, Stuart Academy, Thomas Jefferson Middle, Maupin Elementary, Price Elementary and Wellington Elementary.

JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio said the state’s review team “recognized the dedication and hard work that our principals, leadership teams, teachers, support staff and students have put into continuously improving and moving their schools forward.”

“Repeatedly in these reports, the review team noted the positive culture inside the schools; a growing sense of pride and optimism; strong student, staff and parent relationships; safe and orderly learning environments; and a multitude of services and supports to meet our students’ educational as well as social and emotional needs,” he said in a statement. “These thorough assessments offer a fresh perspective on our strengths and challenges as we strive to improve student engagement and achievement across the district.”

Marion C. Moore Principal Rob Fulk posted a message he sent home to families of Moore students on Twitter Thursday, saying he was proud that the state’s review team recognized the school’s sense of diversity, increased community involvement, improved transparency, and efforts to gather input from parents and students.

Moore was also lauded for its work to provide more mental health resources for students, develop a peer mentoring program to help onboard and retain staff and implement best practices in its classrooms.

“Over the next few weeks, we will have the opportunity to review KDE’s recommendations on how to continue making progress toward our mission of ensuring all students are transition ready,” Fulk wrote. “This review process has been a learning opportunity for me, and I believe going through this leadership review will help us continue to move our school forward.”

JCPS noted that of its 21 CSI schools, principals at 17 were found capable of leading their improvement efforts.

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