Assisting “Persistently Low-Achieving” Schools in Kentucky

This week Kentucky Education Commissioner Dr. Terry Holliday outlined steps that the Kentucky Department of Education will likely take to assist schools that the Department identifies as “persistently low-achieving.” So far, the Department has identified 10 such schools across the commonwealth, based on factors including test scores in reading and mathematics, meeting AYP (adequate yearly progress) goals, and high school graduation rates. The Department’s planned intervention measures include the following:

  • providing up to $500,000 a year for three years to spend on “turnaround efforts;” 
  • establishing three Centers for Learning Excellence, each headed by an educational recovery director, to provide the schools with technical assistance;
  • assigning an educational recovery leader to each identified school to mentor the principal; and 
  • assigning educational recovery specialists in language arts and mathematics to work directly with teachers.
It’s hard to say much about the plan at this point. It has innovative elements, but at the same time isn’t earthshaking. I am very happy that the plan will include measures to support both administrators and classroom teachers. I am also pleased that the plan appears to be whole-school-oriented. We have known for some time”  that effective schools (or any organizations for that matter) are much more than the sum of their parts, thus interventions should be designed with that in mind. 
I’ll keep you posted on further developments.

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