LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- This past week, the Jefferson County Public Schools began a new program called Achievement Through Teaching and Intervention. Initially, this program will be offered in 18 Priority Schools.
These middle and high schools have been defined by the state of Kentucky as low performing schools. The new program is designed for students who may need a little extra help. Students have the opportunity to stay after school three days a week. During this after school time, the teacher or instructional leader will be able to provide special instruction in areas where the individual student has had problems. For example, if the student is struggling with reading, the time will be spent on literacy. In effect, more time on task.
As one would expect, this initiative has a price tag. Not only do the schools have to compensate the teachers who are involved, they are also going to provide special transportation home and a third meal for the students (many of the students already eat both breakfast and lunch at school). The early estimate that the school system has provided puts the cost at $5,000,000. This money will come from the school system’s reserve funds.
On the surface, this seems like a great investment for JCPS and our community. Many countries that rank above the United States in educational attainment require students to be at school for longer periods of time or may even require “Saturday school.” The question that we as a community need to ask is how will we know that this investment of time and resources is paying off. Does
JCPS have a plan to monitor the progress these students are making? Will this effort raise the overall standing of these 18 schools? Will we compare the results to some type of control group, students and schools that are not part of this initial project?
Hats off to JCPS and the School Board for trying a new strategy. It only makes sense that providing extra help for our struggling students should lead to better results. However, let’s make sure that after an appropriate amount of time, we hear from Superintendent Hargens and her team about how this program and the students performed.
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