Fayette County Public Schools showed modest overall improvements over the last year – that’s according to newly released numbers from Kentucky’s “Unbridled Learning” accountability system.
Call it a report card… for schools.
2015 marks the fourth year schools and districts have been ranked from 0 to 100 since implementing Common Core-aligned K-12 standards. The biggest Fayette County success story this round goes to William Wells Brown Elementary, which saw its bottom-ranked score jump by 19 points. Principal Jay Jones credits more small group instruction and time set aside each day to help students with writing.
"It was definitely a blow to the staff being classified the lowest in the state. No one wants that. Our parents didn't want that. We were down for awhile to be honest," he says. "We basically had to pick ourselves up and stay focused on solutions, not dwelling on what the problems were as we really got some good systems in place that we're going to make sure we continue to follow this year."
Bryan Station High School also shed its “persistently low achieving” status, coming just shy of reaching the “proficient” rating.
But overall scores don’t capture the whole picture. Among the areas of concern are so-called “novice” learners, who aren’t mastering basic concepts in reading and math. That population edged up too last spring, though by less than a percentage point.
"You know that there are always things that you need to do better, differently, more of. There are some things that we probably need to stop doing," says district acting senior director of academic services Marlene Helm.
Helm notes the district only just began a more intense focus on novice learners this fall.
All told, Fayette County moved up from 66 to 68.1 in 2015.
The Big Picture
Kentucky's public high schools continue to produce more graduates deemed prepared for college or careers. State education officials say nearly seven out of every 10 members of this year's statewide graduating class met the key benchmark.
It's a big jump from three years ago, when less than half of Kentucky's graduates met college or career readiness standards. The assessment and accountability report shows the statewide college/career readiness rate rose to 66.8 percent this year, up from 62.5 percent in 2014. In 2012, just 47.2 percent of graduates were prepared for college or careers.
The report shows the state's four-year high school graduation rate inched upward to 87.9 percent, compared with 87.5 percent the prior year. Swings in the percentage of students receiving marks of "proficient" or "distinguished" varied, depending on grade level and subjects.