DUE TO HEAVY SNOWS IN WESTERN KENTUCKY...WIDESPREAD 6 TO 12 INCH SNOWFALL AMOUNTS HAVE HAULTED AREA TRAVEL. ISOLATED 15 INCH AMOUNTS HAVE BEEN REPORTED. DRIFTS UP TO A FOOT AND A HALF HAVE ALSO BEEN REPORTED. THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM SITUATION AND TRAVEL SHOULD BE AVOIDED IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. (National Weather Service)
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

yonts a 300KENTUCKY (8/17/14) — 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.

Have a great week.

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 on social media.

springhour

In Other News...

Impending Weather Prompts Change to LBL Scheduled Re-Opening

GOLDEN POND, Ky. (3/3/15) — The recently predicted winter weather event due to hit our area mid-week, has prompted Land… Read More

LBL March Update for Openings and Events

KENTUCKY (3/4/15) — The predicted winter weather event due to hit our area mid-week, has prompted Land Between The… Read More

Most Read This Week

March 02, 2015 9490

Madisonville Teen Faces Numerous Drug Charges

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
February 25, 2015 8893

Multi-Agency Investigation Nets Large-Scale Meth…

in Top News For All Sites by Trooper Stu Recke
February 25, 2015 6479

New Asian Restaurant Coming to Madisonville

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
March 03, 2015 5771

Three Arrested during Traffic Stop

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
February 25, 2015 4461

Local Man Makes Unique Display from Area’s…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
March 05, 2015 4165

State of Emergency Declared for Hopkins County

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Leslie Curneal

Most Read This Month

February 12, 2015

UPDATE: Name of Pennyrile Fatality Officially…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
February 16, 2015

UPDATE: State of Emergency Declared for Kentucky

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director

Stories Trending Today

March 05, 2015 4165

State of Emergency Declared for Hopkins County

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Leslie Curneal
March 05, 2015 3605

UPDATE: I-24 Open Between 50-45 MM

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Keith Todd
March 03, 2015 2795

Superintendent: Spring Break Won't be Touched…

in Hopkins News by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
March 05, 2015 2035

Deep Snowfall Stalls Western Kentucky

in Top News For All Sites by SurfKY News
March 04, 2015 1985

Highway Crews Dealing with Landsides in…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Keith Todd
March 04, 2015 1746

KSP Warns of Old Scam Resurfacing in the Post 2…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Trooper S. C. Recke
March 04, 2015 1503

Adamson Chosen as Madisonville MSU Campus’…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
March 04, 2015 1494

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - March 4, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
March 04, 2015 1442

Muhlenberg County Educator Inducted into Kentucky…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by WKU News
March 05, 2015 1318

Muhlenberg Issues State of Emergency Under…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News