Drastic changes coming to 6 JCPS campuses

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by Stephanie Collins

WHAS11.com

Posted on March 15, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 15 at 5:47 PM

WHAS11 has been investigating drastic changes for Jefferson County Public Schools.

The Kentucky Department of Education has identified six JCPS campuses for major changes before the new school year and we have learned that teachers are being moved.

WHAS11’s Stephanie Collins sat down with JCPS Superentendent Sheldon Berman for an exclusive interview.

We've learned teachers will be moved out of these low-performing schools but will not be fired. It’s a process that has already begun, along with replacing principals.

But under a new state law, the Kentucky Department of Education could recommend closing any one of these schools.

Berman tells us that won't happen.

“In each of the schools that have been identified, we set in motion plans sometimes as long as three years ago to begin working on the performance of those schools turning them around and in fact we've made great strides."

But there is much more to do to turn around six of the ten lowest performing schools in the state.

Fern Creek, Shawnee Western High and Valley High Schools along with Frost and Western Middle Schools have the lowest scores based on academic achievement and low graduation.

Teams of educators sent from the state Department of Education have been auditing these schools and can recommend options to Jefferson County Public Schools based on guidelines signed into law two months ago by Kentucky’s governor.

“It's time to be aggressive.  If things aren't working then let's make the changes,” said Berman.

And the actions are aggressive, firing the principal and up to half of the faculty, closing the school or letting a private company take over the management.

Superintendent Berman tells us that closing the schools is not an option and that most of the schools already have new principals

“The principals have hired significant new faculty during that time so we need to replace 10 to 20 percent at each of those schools rather than 50 percent.”

Berman says it’s already working putting new principals and teachers and new magnets at these high schools. He says its turning around test scores with a focus on reducing the dropout rate.

"We believe investing in professional grown better than wholesale moving staff out but there will be some transfers to meet the 50 percent requirement."

Just last week, the New Albany, Floyd County School Board voted to close four elementary schools at the end of the school year because of a budget crisis.

Those schools are Silver Street Elementary, Pine View Elementary, Galena Elementary and Children's Academy of New Albany.

Silver Street and Galena are four star schools.

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