Jefferson County Public Schools has halted plans to redesign one if its lowest performing high schools.
The Academy at Shawnee was among a few schools expected to undergo major changes to help turn around student achievement. Plans included extending class time and the school year and redesigning school management that would have placed leadership under a provost.
It would have also included more services for students in partnership with the University of Louisville. The cost to implement the plan would have been over $200,000.
Now, that’s off the table. For now.
Several parents voiced opposition to the plan, saying JCPS was moving too quickly. Shawnee PTA president Gay Adelmann says many parents she called following the announcement of the proposals didn’t know about the changes, though JCPS did offer public hearings.
While not necessarily opposed to the changes, Adelmann previously told WFPL they were designed without seeking stakeholder input and some of the ideas were vague.
“A lot of those details need to be answered before I would feel comfortable knowing that we were moving forward in that direction. But I think it certainly has some merit worth exploring,” she said.
Superintendent Donna Hargens says the district listened.
“The feedback is all crystal clear, is that the most important thing for Shawnee is to get a leader that can help pull the pieces of a plan together,” she says.
The district is now looking for a new principal to replace Keith Look, who took a leave of absence over the summer.
“We reposted the principalship and that ended and now we’re looking at the candidates,” says Hargens.
Adelmann still feels communication with parents about the changes has not been sufficient.
“There was an email that was sent out to the teachers that said they were taking a breather was the language that was used and that the would wait until a principal was hired and also until the state does its audit in January before they determine the next steps of the plan,” she says.
Adelmann adds there’s also a “big announcement” being made to the teachers today, but she’s unclear what that will be.
Changes to Frost and Myers middle schools are expected to be presented for school board consideration in December.