Jefferson County Public Schools students are off Monday but school staff has been asked to review and discuss the new Unbridled Learning accountability results released last week by the Kentucky Department of Education.
Monday is called “Gold Day.” It has traditionally been used for professional development but Chief Academic Officer Dewey Hensley says he’s asked school leaders to talk about the new accountability data and how they plan to boost proficiency rates and college-and-career readiness.
“You need to know where you are before you move forward and that’s what this data does. It gives us a truthful depiction of exactly where we are, so we can create a plan to move forward,” Hensley said.
Nearly 47 percent of JCPS students are college-and-career ready, which is an improvement since the state started measuring the metric two years ago. However, only around 40 percent of JCPS students are proficient in math and reading, with data varying among the different grade levels.
Further, over 100 JCPS schools are in a “needs improvement” category and goals have been set by KDE to reach a proficient level under the new system.
The district also has 57 schools labeled “focus” schools, meaning they have significant achievement gaps or low graduation rates.
Schools are expected to set and follow strategic plans to turn around student achievement but if certain goes goals are not met, KDE could place sanctions on individual schools or give directives to those schools.
The Academy at Shawnee is among the lowest performing schools in the state. Only a fifth of students are proficient in reading and that concerns principal Keith Look, who says Gold Day this year will continue the conversation that’s already been going on.
“We started months ago. It’s a ton of data and so you want to try to do it in digestible chucks,” said Look. “If you dump it all on anybody it’s just completely overwhelming.”
Some of data was released earlier this year like ACT test results and graduation results. But not with the complete picture of the new accountability goals, schools must continue the process of making sure the numbers rise.