Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Legislator's Log - Week of Aug. 20, 2014

yonts a 300KENTUCKY (8/20/14) — Sometimes schools get off track and are unable to meet the strict learning standards that the Commonwealth and the federal government have set for them.

These institutions are known in Kentucky state government and educators' circles as "Priority Schools"-persistently low achieving schools which require state intervention to get back on track. And Kentucky has 39 of them, some right here in West Kentucky.

The 39 schools were identified under federal guidelines implemented under the No Child Left Behind Act, and are regularly monitored by the state in an effort to fulfill the Kentucky Department of Education's vision that all students in Kentucky be college and/or career ready when they receive their diploma.

State officials came before the Interim Joint Committee on Education last Monday to discuss where these schools are in terms of progressing out of Priority status and how the state is helping them.

Twenty one of 30 high schools labeled Priority by the state are doing very well, according to KDE Office of Next Generation Schools official Kelly Foster. Those schools are expected to achieve their college and career ready targets by the time the Department releases its next annual Priority School report late this fall.

More good news is that three Priority Schools have or will become "Hub Schools" that help struggling so-called "Focus Schools" in their region improve by sharing their best practices with those schools. Franklin-Simpson High School and Pulaski County High School--which had been two of the lowest-achieving schools in Kentucky-are two Priority Schools designated by the Department in 2013 as hubs, and Foster said East Carter County High School will join them as a Hub School during the 2014-15 school year.

(There were around 300 Focus Schools in the state during the 2011-12 school year, according to the Department. They are described in a KDE press release as those "schools with the greatest overall achievement gaps or a particular student group with a large gap and or high schools with a graduation rate below 60 percent for two consecutive years.")

Monitoring of Priority Schools also requires them to undergo a "diagnostic review" by a team of skilled experts, said Foster. Last spring, the state oversaw 19 leadership assessments and diagnostic reviews at Priority Schools and districts in Kentucky. Thirteen of the 19 schools and districts reviewed were found to have made progress, with three districts found to have regained what Foster called "leadership capacity." Those districts include Dayton Independent in Campbell County, Perry County Schools, and Lincoln County Schools.

When prompted by Committee Co-Chair Rep. Derrick Graham to explain what leadership capacity means, Foster described it as the capacity of a superintendent or his or her team -which includes school principals-to turnaround around a persistently low-achieving school. So-called state "recovery specialists" are sent to those districts and schools to help make a turnaround possible.

Helping with the turnaround is a Professional Growth and Effectiveness System which measures the effectiveness of teachers. Implemented fully this school year, this new evaluation system will monitor teachers through observation, student growth, professional growth, and other measures. The vision of PGES is to ultimately "have every student taught by an effective teacher and every school led by an effective principal," says the Department.

It is important to remember that progress takes time, possibly years. Franklin-Simpson High School and Pulaski County High School were first designated Priority Schools in 2012 and are still designated as Priority this fall, said Foster. Only when they have a graduation rate greater than 70 percent and rise above the bottom 5th percentile in overall school performance, as well as meeting other objectives, will they be able to leave Priority status behind. That won't be until after this school year "at the earliest." But at least things are looking up for those schools and their students.

You can learn more about Kentucky's Priority Schools, find a complete map of those 39 schools, and find more about PGES on the KDE web site at education.ky.gov. If nothing else, I think we can all agree that helping these schools reach their goals will help Kentucky's students, which in turn helps all our futures.

Please share your ideas with me by e-mailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . You can also send me a letter addressed to: Rep. Brent Yonts, Capitol Annex, Rm. 366 A, 702 Capitol Ave., Frankfort Ky. 40601.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Brent Yonts

Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

button coupons
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
button classifieds

In Other News...

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Jan. 27, 2015

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (1/27/15) — The Madisonville Police Department released the following reports Tuesday, Jan. 27.… Read More

Apollo Teachers Injured by Student with Multi-Tool

OWENSBORO, Ky. (1/27/15) — According to a Daviess County Sheriff's Department report, a disturbance occurred at Apollo… Read More
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week

January 23, 2015 9277

Local Church's Faith Restored; 71 Souls Saved…

in Video by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
January 22, 2015 7352

Nortonville Man Accused of Selling Drugs near…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 21, 2015 6724

KYDOT Pre-Treating Roads Thursday in Antipation…

in Top News For All Sites by Keith Todd
January 22, 2015 6319

MCEA Head: Further School Mergers Might Ease…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
January 23, 2015 5827

Parents Face Charges after Marijuana Joint Falls…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Jail
January 25, 2015 5505

Dean’s List Announced

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Joyce Riggs
January 26, 2015 5043

KSP Arrests Two on Child Porn Charges; MPD…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Trooper Stu Recke
January 23, 2015 4671

Nortonville Woman Charged for Meth Possession

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 22, 2015 3789

Local Family Business Changes Hands

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 25, 2015 3602

Juvenile Hit by Vehicle at McDonald's

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by GPD Officer Wes Miller

Stories Trending Today

January 26, 2015 3184

School Board Votes 3-2 for Utility Tax

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 2214

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Karen McKnight, Hopkins Circuit Clerk
January 27, 2015 1017

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Jan. 27, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
January 27, 2015 649

NHRA North Central Division Names Dallas Jones…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Telia Butler
January 27, 2015 628

Power of a Positive Attitude

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 622

Restless Legs Syndrome Affects Many

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 27, 2015 601

Whitfield Works to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

in General News For All Sites by Marty Irby
January 27, 2015 519

UPDATE - Death Investigation

in Local (Henderson) Top News by Henderson Police Department
January 27, 2015 517

WKCTC Offering Free Tax Preparation Workshops

in Local (Paducah) Top News by Tammy Thompson
January 27, 2015 511

Breakthroughs for Circuit Clerks' Organ Donation…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Karen McKnight

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flr subscribevideoitunessocial rss