LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The annual school ratings are in, and this year, there's a new, five-star system to rank every school in the state.
The state’s new accountability rating takes into account the achievement gap. Schools are graded based on growth and transition readiness, but could lose a star if there’s a demographic with a statistically significant gap.
“This is the first time in Kentucky that we have placed specific attention and given such weight to closing achievement gaps,” Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis said.
Lewis said he can’t think of a state with an accountability system that gives greater weight to achievement gaps.
According to the Kentucky Department of Education, 35 out of 50 schools considered CSI, or in need of comprehensive support and improvement, are in Jefferson County.
Last year, it was 21 schools out of 51.
This year’s number is still higher than other districts when compared to the amount of kids in the district, but not when you consider the difficulties faced by the at-risk populations within JCPS.
“Labeling schools is not going to show a lack of support for our schools, the staff that is in there and the work they are doing because I know each and every day when I go in to schools that might be labeled one star, I’m proud of the work that the faculty and teachers are doing,” JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio said.
A total of 22 schools showed improved proficiency in reading and math.
Cochran Elementary School has improved so much over the last year that it is no longer in need of comprehensive support and improvement, according to the KDE.
In fact, nine of the 21 JCPS schools considered CSI last year aren’t anymore. But, there’s a significant number of others entering CSI.
“Schools were identified differently for CSI than they were in prior years,” Pollio said. “Last year, a significant gain in growth would exempt the school from CSI designation. That’s no longer the case, so we do have an increase in CSI schools and we know we have that, we are going to work those again so that we greatly reduce it. We believe we have set up the systems to support these schools.”
Schools included in that list shouldn’t be ruled out for your child, though. In fact, even Lewis said during a press conference Monday that his daughter is at a 3-star school, and he’s proud of the work and growth it has shown.
Pollio said he, too, had a similar experience when he was looking for the right fit for his child.
“I’m not saying by any means to ignore accountability scores,” Pollio said. “I think it’s important for parents to always review and look at every indicator for school success. But I step away and I’m a dad as well, and so everything I do as a father I can understand from that lens and from that hat.”
Brigitte Blom Ramsey is with the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, a non-partisan organization that wants to get the community more involved in boosting student outcomes.
“Communities need to design their approach based on where they see successes and challenges,” Ramsey said. “Over the last generation, Kentucky climbed from the bottom the national rankings to the middle in education outcomes, and our call to action is that this next generation needs to follow suit and help us move from the middle of the national rankings to the top tier of all states.”
For the accountability scores and to see where your child’s school stands, click here.