The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has recognized two Priority Schools for their work in improving student learning and building core processes that can sustain the improvement.

Based on data, monitoring visits, and monitoring tools, KDE designated Franklin-Simpson High School and Pulaski County High School as Hub Schools. The schools had been among the lowest-performing schools in the state.

“These schools have shown they have the will and the capacity to turn things around,” said Education Commissioner Terry Holliday today during a visit to Pulaski Co. High School. “They are producing exponentially more college/career-ready students than they had previously and serve as a model for other schools that want to improve.”

As a Hub School, each school will serve as a regional hub of learning for students and adults. The schools will share their best or promising practices with schools in their area of the state to support improvement. 

The goals of a Hub School are to:

  • Create aligned actions steps that are connected to the identified purpose
  • Create a system that focuses on aligned planning, communication, marketing, effectiveness measures, connections, and the target audience. The system will include the Center for Learning Excellence (CLE) at the respective university (Eastern Kentucky University — Pulaski Co. High School; Western Kentucky University – Franklin-Simpson High School) and the regional educational cooperative(s).  The CLE, co-op and others will all be part of the system to ensure alignment and effectiveness to impact student learning within their region.
  • Capture best or promising practices that have yielded results at the Hub School and other Priority Schools within the region to share with others

A Hub School is designed to strengthen connections and address multiple needs within its geographic area.  Each of these schools will specifically target work with Focus Schools, schools with the greatest overall achievement gaps or a particular student group with a large gap and/or high schools with graduation rates below 60 percent for two consecutive years.  Education recovery staff from KDE are assigned to each Hub School and will help facilitate hub activities and ensure they are not disruptive to school/district learning processes.

In order to be named a Hub School, a Priority or Persistently Low-Achieving School must have developed aligned systems focused on continuous improvement, such as using student data to make instructional improvements.  KDE selected Pulaski Co. High School based on progress made in student learning, superintendent and district level support, excellent understanding of the turnaround process, strong vision of leadership, communication with stakeholders and being a learning-centered school.

Franklin-Simpson High School was selected as a Hub School based on significant data improvement, supportive district and school level administration who have positive attitudes toward students and  have many sustainable systems in place along with  the ability to efficiently manage multiple initiatives within those established systems and the presence of a strong school leadership team.

Despite improvements, neither school will be eligible to exit the Priority School status this fall since they are required to meet their Annual Measurable Objective (AMO) for three consecutive years, which will not occur until after the 2014-15 school year at the earliest.  To exit priority status, a school also must have a graduation rate greater than 70 percent and be above the bottom 5th percentile of overall performance.

Commissioner Holliday will visit Franklin-Simpson High School on September 10 at 11 a.m. ET to congratulate faculty, staff and students for the improvements they have made and formally recognize it as a Hub School.