Local News

By Rick Howlett

The Kentucky Department of Education has released its leadership assessments and recommendations for six low-performing public schools in Jefferson County.

The department has been conducting interventions at Frost and Western Middle Schools and Fern Creek, Shawnee, Western and Valley High Schools.

The recommendations include the restaffing of some teachers, replacing principals at four of the schools and transferring some school-based council authority to the superintendent.

JCPS Superintendent Sheldon Berman (pictured) says the district began working to turn around the schools as far back as three years ago.

He says he’ll appeal two of the principal reassignment recommendations but will move forward with a shake-up of faculty at all six schools.

“Our proposal varied from 14 percent at some schools to a little over 30 percent at others. It’s actually somewhat of a small staffing change,” Berman said.

Berman says on the positive side, the six schools are also getting millions of dollars under a federal grant program to help improve school performance.

Here is JCPS Superintendent Sheldon Berman’s statement regarding the assessments.

Statement from Superintendent Sheldon H. Berman regarding today’s release of the
Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE) Leadership Assessments for 6 JCPS schools.

“The Jefferson County Public Schools today received the results of the Kentucky
Department of Education’s leadership assessments for 6 schools that have not made the
required gains in academic achievement. The schools assessed are Frost and Western
Middle, Fern Creek, Shawnee, Western, and Valley High schools.

KDE’s recommendations include the restaffing of the certified employees, authority for the
Superintendent to pursue the hiring of new principals at 4 of the schools (Frost and
Western Middle, Fern Creek and Valley High schools), and the transfer of the school-based
council’s authority to the Superintendent. I anticipate appealing the reassignment of the
principals at Fern Creek and Valley High schools because I believe they are capable of
turning around their schools. Plans were already in place for the reassignment of both
middle school principals.

We started the turnaround at each of these schools either 2 or 3 years ago and we will
continue with our restructuring work because we are confident in the positive direction
these schools are moving. JCPS has thirty days to submit its appeal and KDE in turn has
another thirty days to respond.

District staff will continue to analyze the report and our options and will provide a full
report to the Board of Education at a special called meeting later this week. At Monday’s
regularly scheduled meeting, I will formally recommend to the Board that the District
appeal the recommendations regarding the principal reassignments.

To the school communities, I encourage you to stay focused on the remainder of the
school year. This is just the first step in a very long process.”

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."