Data shows encouraging news and areas for growth
Graduation and transition readiness rates continue to climb in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), positive trends Superintendent Marty Pollio said are the result of the district’s work to transform high school learning through the Academies of Louisville initiative.
“Now we’re starting to see the fruits of our labor in our high schools—and as a result of that work, we have the highest graduation rate the district has ever had,” Dr. Pollio said during a press briefing to discuss the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) 2018-19 K-PREP student assessment results for JCPS. “We’re proud that our students are more committed to being at school and that we’re getting even more students on a career pathway and ensuring that they are successful. Just as important, we also saw an increase in our transition readiness rate.”
Of note, eight high schools—Butler Traditional, Fern Creek, Jeffersontown, Moore, Pleasure Ridge Park, Valley, Waggener and Western—showed double-digit gains in transition readiness rates, an indicator that gives students flexibility on how they demonstrate either academic or career readiness. In addition, the district saw:
- 22 schools improve proficiency rates in both reading and math;
- Fewer significant gaps identified, signaling an initial positive impact of the racial equity pillar;
- 62 of 64 schools exit Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI);
- And nine of 21 schools exit Comprehensive Schools Improvement (CSI) status, though 23 new schools have been designated as CSI due to a change in how CSI classifications are determined.
“This is a multi-year, multi-step process just like the Academies of Louisville,” Dr. Pollio said. “Twelve months ago we knew we had to make big changes and disrupt the way we were doing things if we wanted sustained and substantial changes in our outcomes. We laid the foundation last year, and we’re going to see outcomes change and improve as we continue this implementation-to-impact work. We want to see long-term impact that will make a difference in the lives of children across all schools.”
New this year, public schools in Kentucky also received a rating from one to five stars. Seven schools in JCPS received a five-star rating: Greathouse/Shryock Traditional Elementary, J. Graham Brown Elementary, Lowe Elementary, Norton Elementary, Barret Traditional Middle, J. Graham Brown Middle and duPont Manual High. Dr. Pollio said community support of all schools is crucial.
“I believe in accountability and think it’s an important part of making sure we strive to improve outcomes for students,” Superintendent Pollio said. “However, my entire career as a teacher, an assistant principal and a principal, I’ve been in schools that would be considered one-star schools. I would put the work of the faculty and staff at those schools up against any school in the state. It is very difficult to put a label on a school to define the work that they are doing, especially where students face many challenges, such as poverty, homelessness, food insecurity and trauma. But our faculty and staff show up and are doing great work to meet the needs of students.”
About Kentucky’s new 5-star accountability system
After nearly four years of development following the December 2015 passage of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Kentucky’s new 5-star accountability system for public schools is now live. For the 2018-2019 school year, statewide, 89 schools received one star; 251 received two stars; 643 received three stars; 233 received 4 stars; and 56 received 5 stars.
The star ratings and federal classifications are based on 2018-2019 K-PREP (Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress) assessment data and other indicators released Oct. 1 by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). The system does not rely solely on students’ proficiency on state standardized examinations. Instead, accountability indicators that factor into a school’s overall five-star rating include:
- Reading and mathematics proficiency
- Proficiency in social studies, science and writing
- Students’ academic growth/progress over one academic year
- Transition readiness (historically known as college and career readiness)
- Graduation rate
Under the new accountability system, a 5- or 4- star school’s rating can be lowered by one star if it has one or more statistically significant achievement gaps between the performances of groups of students. Statewide, a total of 81 schools’ overall ratings were impacted by their achievement gaps – 16 otherwise 5-star schools were lowered to four stars, and 65 otherwise 4-star schools were lowered to three stars.
Read more here.
This article was published on Oct. 1, 2019.