Kentucky’s lowest-performing schools making gains

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Kentucky Board of Education member Leo Calderon asks about a priority schools update during the KBE meeting in Frankfort, Ky. Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2013
Kentucky Board of Education member Leo Calderon asks about a priority schools update during the KBE meeting in Frankfort, Ky.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Feb. 5, 2013

Kentucky’s lowest-performing schools are making promising progress on increasing student achievement, the Kentucky Board of Education learned at its meeting yesterday.

Based on 2012-13 Unbridled Learning Assessment and Accountability System results, of the 41 schools named as Priority or Persistently Low-Achieving (PLA) Schools — identified as being in the bottom 5 percent of schools in the Commonwealth:

• 6 schools scored in the Distinguished category, the highest of all performance categories
• 8 schools scored in the Proficient category
• 19 schools were categorized as Progressing (met annual measurable objective, student participation rate and graduation rate)

Other highlights include:

• 11 of the 41 schools had overall scores above the state average
• 36 of 41 schools met their Annual Measureable Objective
• 21 of 41 schools achieved their College- and Career-Readiness (CCR) targets
• One school (Leslie County High School) progressed out of Priority status

“The results show it is possible to turnaround low-achieving schools,” said Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday. “These schools are focused on doing what is best for kids and ensuring their students have the skills and knowledge they need to be college- and career-ready. The improvement we’re seeing is a testament to the outstanding leadership and diligent work of teachers, principals, students and parents,” Holliday said.

While Holliday is positive about the gains being made, he acknowledged there are still a number of Priority Schools that continue to need assistance. The Kentucky Department of Education is currently performing diagnostic reviews in the lowest-performing schools to determine what needs to happen to turn the schools around. Staff reported that several schools have recently replaced their principals and are starting to see results.

“Leadership makes a difference,” Holliday said “These schools need strong leadership, a strong council and on-site support for math and literacy,” he said.

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