Education
3:06 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Donna Hargens: Data In Hand, JCPS Schools Have 'Results to Work With'

WFPL's Devin Katayama talks with Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens as the state releases school accountability results.

Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens says she’s not satisfied with new accountability results ranking the district in the lower quarter of Kentucky school districts.

Superintendent Donna Hargens explains the results of the new accountability system.

“This is an important day because our schools have the results to work with,” Hargens said Friday morning.

That the work to act on those results, she said, is already underway.

Earlier this year, the JCPS board approved the district’s Strategic Plan: Vision 2015, which provides the blueprint JCPS will follow to ensure student achievement improves.

This plan includes more streamlined interventions for lower-performing students and attempts to engage community stakeholders while better allocating school resources.

The strategic plans positions the district and its schools to make the best use of data released Friday in the new Unbridled Learning accountability model, Hargens said.

(See results for JCPS schools.)

Of the five categories measured in the new system, achievement, gap and growth are new figures and cannot be measured from previous years, she said.

The college-and-career readiness category was previously measured. In the 2009-2010 school year 36 percent of students passed the measure. This year that number has improved to 47 percent.

Hargens said she wants that number to be 100 percent, but it will rely on the inventions and strategies laid out in the district’s plan.

Chief Academic Officer Dewey Hensley has set a sub-academic plan which includes professional learning communities so teachers can learn from each other, allocating resources to schools efficiently, considering effective interventions, and targeting the lowest performing students.

The district has already begun reallocating resources. This included hiring new assistant superintendents and assistant principals in most elementary schools.

But Hensley said interventions are crucial to improving the achievement gap -- the number one issue according to him -- and keeping low performing students on track to become proficient.

"I have a sign in my office where I say, 'It's the achievement gap, stupid,'" said Hensley, who keeps the sign up as a reminder to provide the necessary support for low performing students.

Part of the district's readjustment included redirecting responsibilities for nearly 200 JCPS staff members to create a student response team that has responded to 60 calls so far this year," Hensley said.

“It could be anything from a behavioral issue, to a bullying issue, to a climate and culture issue, to situational crisis for children,” he said.

Also, the district is still choosing which of the 800 interventions outlined in the curriculum management audit should be abandoned and he said he expects the district to shed several when the programs expire at the end of the school year.