With Superintendent Randy Poe’s leadership, the Boone County school district is in the top echelon nationally for college-, career- and life-readiness. This is in spite of being the third-largest school district in the state, with large numbers of students with high needs, including 2,300 students with disabilities, 1,200 students who are English Language Learners and 40 percent of students who live in poverty.
In 2006, Poe led a district Harvard ExCEL leadership team, creating a Teaching and Learning Committee structure made up of board and cabinet members, principal representatives and the president of the teachers’ association. This effort has resulted in extensive participation, input, communication and a strong commitment to a shared vision throughout the district.
In 2009, the district’s leadership established the expectation that all students would score in the 24-27 college-readiness range on the ACT. To meet this goal, a cluster school structure for developing instructional strategies from preschool through high school graduation provided the support needed to schools. This helped everyone understand their roles in making sure that every student meets this goal, and that it is imperative that every child is career- and college-ready so students will have every opportunity available to them when – not if – they graduate.
To achieve student success, district and school personnel are pushed and encouraged to take risks, work at the cutting edge and look for innovative ways to help students achieve 21st-century skills. Poe sets high expectations and then empowers staff to find creative ways to meet these expectations. The staff is continuously pushed to dream, which allows them the autonomy to find the best way to make great things happen for students. The district also keeps a relentless focus on doing whatever it takes for children, and holds everyone accountable for all of its students’ progress.