LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) - The state's largest school district could be changing the way students leave its magnet programs. Currently, those schools have the ability to remove or "exit" students and send them to other JCPS schools.
Now, the district is questioning whether they should have that power. This all started about two years ago when the Magnet Schools of America recommended JCPS do a review of its exit strategy.
The district board agreed, and now it wants the community’s input and feedback on what, if any, changes to make.
Click on the link below for more information on the JCPS Magnet Steering Committee and the Magnet Schools of America review:
District data shows about 25,000 students enroll in JCPS magnet programs every year. That's about a fourth of the entire student body. Of those students, approximately 400 or two percent are removed, or exited, from those schools annually.
“When students are exited, it happens after there have been many interventions. They can only be exited at the end of the school year, so there are opportunities for those interventions and supports, counseling to try to address whatever issue it is that’s leading to their exit,” JCPS Deputy Communications Director Jennifer Brislin said.
It takes nearly a dozen steps before a student can be fully removed from a magnet school. A diagram in the JCPS survey on exit strategy lists the following process:
1.) Student Assignment Unit develops a timeline for implementations and all letters of notification/information to parents/students.
2.) Student Assignment Unit (Options/Magnets) collects data on a number of exits and reasons for exits and works with principals to ensure that the exit process is reasonable and equitable.
3.) Student Assignment Unit (Options/Magnets) meets with principals on an ongoing basis to monitor implementation of the exit process.
4.) The school develops and informs parents of criteria for exiting students, which are consistent with the program and are approved by the Student Assignment Unit.
· Should student performance or behavior not conform to school expectations, the following steps will be implemented:
5.) School notifies the parent in writing about problematic student behavior or performance.
6.) School may place the student on probation following a conference with parent and student.
7.) The school sends the parent a letter stating that student’s status will be reviewed by School Exit Committee.
8.) Schools Exit Committee- consisting of school staff, excluding principal- reviews student’s status.
9.) The school sends the parent a registered letter stating that student is going to be exited from school.
10.) Student Assignment Unit facilitates placement of the student in another school.
· If parent wishes to appeal the school’s exit decision, the following process will be implemented:
11.) A parent may appeal to principal.
12.) A parent may appeal to Office of Student Assignment.
“If a student is struggling academically, if they are having a persistent behavior issue with the school, or for attendance issues where they might not be successful in that program, that’s the philosophy behind allowing a school to start that exit process,” Brislin said.
The policy has been around since 2001, but now the district is looking at four different options.
“At the board’s request, we have undertaken this review, this look at our exit policy to see if a) we need to continue to have an exit policy for students and b) if we do, what conditions should a student be exited under?” Brislin said.
The JCPS survey lists the following options:
· Option 1: Retain the current policy and processes. This policy allows magnet programs to remove students for behavior issues, attendance, issues, and/or low academic performance AFTER exhausting support and intervention processes. (e.g. parent and student conferences; course recovery; counseling). But, ensure that schools and the district are following these steps consistently.
· Option 2: Eliminate the student exit process- no magnet school or program shall initiate the exit of a student. Thus, all JCPS schools follow the same processes for retaining and transferring students.
· Option 3: The Options/Magnets Exit Process for Students should be modified to apply only to academic progress. Magnet programs should only exit students who persistently show low academic performance even after interventions.
· Option 4: The Options/Magnets Exit Process for Students should be modified to apply only to behavior violations. Magnet programs should only exit students who persistently violate established school behavior guidelines even after interventions. (NOTE: Other discipline resolutions for behavior issues must be the same as the JCPS Student Support and Behavior Intervention Handbook to meet district policy.)
Above all, JCPS said the goal remains the same.
“They want to make sure that it’s a good fit for the students, that they’re successful,” Brislin said.
JCPS is holding a community conversation Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. It’s in Flex Room A at Gheen’s Academy on Preston Highway. The district is also live streaming the event. There’s also an online survey available to provide input. Here’s a link:
JCPS hopes to bring all of the feedback from that and Wednesday’s meeting to the board meeting on September 27.