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Fayette County Public Schools Show Gains in Second Year of State’s Accountability System

FAYETTE CO pub school 300LEXINGTON, Ky. (9/27/13)— More students in the Fayette County Public Schools are meeting internationally benchmarked academic standards designed to prepare them to excel in a global society, according to results released Sept. 27 in the second round of Kentucky’s new accountability system. College and career readiness rates rose significantly, and the district’s rating against others in the state is now in the 82nd percentile.

“I’m very encouraged by the progress we see this year,” said Superintendent Tom Shelton. “Our one-year gains indicate an increased emphasis on meeting the needs of individual students and providing challenging instructional programs at every level.”

Under Kentucky’s “Unbridled Learning: College and Career Readiness for All” accountability system, schools and districts are evaluated on student test score performance on both state and nationally normed tests. Scores are calculated in the categories of achievement, gap, growth, college and career readiness, and graduation rate, and then weighted to determine an overall score of between 0 and 100.

Fayette County’s overall 2013 score is 59.8, up 1.6 points from last year. Overall scores in Fayette County for elementary, middle and high school students are better than the state averages at every level. More than half of the district’s schools earned ratings of proficient or distinguished, and 28 schools posted higher scores in 2013 than the previous year.

The most significant gains came at the high school level, where overall district scores increased in the categories of achievement, gap, college and career readiness, and graduation rate. Three high schools moved from “Proficient” ratings last year to “Distinguished” ratings this year, and all five high schools posted notable boosts in their percentile rankings against peers.

“I’m especially proud of the progress made by the students, educators and administrators in our high schools,” Shelton said. “The gains demonstrate significant movement.”

Bryan Station High School, which in 2012 was in the 17th percentile of high schools in the state, jumped 24 spots ahead to the 41st percentile. Its overall score rose from 47.7 to 52.9 – marking a 5.2-point gain.

“The staff at Bryan Station is working tremendously hard, and I expect to see another leap next year,” Shelton said.

Bryan Station High School is one of 10 schools in the district that became “innovation” schools this year, intentionally looking for ways to redesign the way students learn. The goal is to engage more students in active learning through projects, creative activities and atypical classroom settings.

Lafayette High School also had a 5.2-point gain, and Henry Clay High School posted a 4.9-point gain. Among the district’s middle schools, Leestown had the largest increase in overall score, with a 6.3-point jump.

Also impressive were the results at Deep Springs Elementary School, which earned one of the state’s first accountability recognitions as a “High Progress School” for posting among the best elementary school gains in the state with an increase of 9.7 points. Progress at Dixie Magnet Elementary School was also notable, with a 9.2-point gain. Scores at Mary Todd Elementary rose 7.1 points, Lansdowne earned an increase of 6.9 points, and Sandersville boosted scores by 5.9 points.

Percentages of students reaching proficiency in reading rose at the middle and high school levels, but fell slightly at elementary schools. Math performance was likewise mixed, with percentages of students reaching proficiency increasing at the elementary and high school levels, but decreasing at the middle school level.

Results also showed the achievement of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, receive special education services, are learning English as a second language or whose race is identified as African-American, Hispanic or Native American continues to trail their peers.

“Our board of education members, district leaders and community supporters have set clear expectations that we challenge every child at the highest possible levels,” Shelton said. “Eliminating achievement disparities means accelerating learning for those who are behind while continuing to challenge those who are already achieving. Our lack of significant movement is very disheartening.”

The state’s second-largest district, serving roughly 40,000 students, includes both some of the top-ranked schools and some of the lowest performing:

Veterans Park Elementary is the eighth-highest scoring elementary school in Kentucky.

SCAPA at Bluegrass has the fourth-highest scoring elementary-aged students and the highest scoring middle-schoolers in the state.

• Other top-ranking schools were Beaumont Middle with the ninth-highest middle school scores, Cassidy Elementary with the 20th-highest elementary scores, and Glendover Elementary, our newest National Blue Ribbon School, with the 22nd-highest elementary scores.

• Among the lowest performing schools were William Wells Brown Elementary School, with the eighth-lowest scores, and Booker T. Washington Intermediate Academy with the 19th-lowest scores among elementary schools in Kentucky. Crawford Middle had the state’s 17th-lowest middle school scores.

Once scores are calculated, all schools in the state are rank-ordered and assigned a rating based on established performance levels. Of the 51 Fayette County Public Schools that received accountability ratings:

 - 14 were classified as “Distinguished.”

 - 13 received “Proficient” ratings.

 - 24 schools were deemed “Needs Improvement.”
    
In addition to the three overall ratings, schools can receive labels that designate them for outstanding performance or emphasize that they have to address the unacceptably low performance of certain subgroups of students.

Across Fayette County, 21 schools were identified as “Focus Schools” because they have groups of students by race, socioeconomic status, special need or English proficiency performing well below minimum standards.

“Although we have a lot to celebrate today, we also have a lot of work to do with students who are not achieving the kind of results we expect,” Shelton said. “Every child in our school district deserves the very best possible education, and we remain firmly committed to providing more effective supports, services and structures to ensure that all our kids move forward.”

SurfKY News
Information provided by Lisa Deffendall

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