KDE: JCPS has capacity to manage improvement efforts at schools

‘A Culture of Hope and Promise are emerging,’ report concludes

April 9, 2019 — The Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) district has the capacity to manage the intervention of its most struggling schools as the system undergoes “a clear culture shift,” according to the district’s Diagnostic Review released by the Kentucky Department of Education. 

“With the advent of new leadership and initiatives … a Culture of Hope and Promise are emerging,” the report concludes.

“We are encouraged by this report and pleased that the review team recognized the progress we have made as a district, particularly in regard to our Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools,” said JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio.  He added that the review team “identified a new standard of high expectations which is leading to a culture of hope and renewed energy in JCPS.”

The report noted there are “strong indications of systems commitment and reorganization for a healthy and positive culture and climate shift,” and that, through numerous avenues, “district leaders have successfully engaged multiple stakeholders in collaboration and used the results of several types of feedback in the decision-making process impacting student learning.” 

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The Diagnostic Review Team observed 12 areas where the district is exceeding or meeting expectations in leadership and resource capacity.  AdvancED, which served as the facilitator of the review as part of the district’s accreditation process, assessed the district’s Index of Education Quality (IEQ) at 281.94.  An IEQ of 275 and above “indicates the institution is beginning to reach the impact level and is engaged in practices that are sustained over time and are becoming ingrained in the culture of the institution.”

The Diagnostic Review found that the district is exceeding expectations in the leadership and resource capacity categories in the following areas:

  • The governing authority establishes and ensures adherence to policies that are designed to support system effectiveness;
  • The governing authority adheres to a code of ethics and functions within defined professional practice and organizational effectiveness;
  • The system engages in a continuous improvement process that produces evidence, including measurable results of improving student learning and professional practice;
  • Leaders collect and analyze a range of feedback data from multiple stakeholder groups to inform decision-making that results in improvement;
  • The system attracts and retains qualified personnel who support the system’s purpose and direction; and
  • The system demonstrates strategic resource management that includes long-range planning and use of resources in support of the system’s purpose and direction.

There were no areas in the leadership or resource capacity categories outlined as needing improvement.  “This is a positive sign that we are heading in the right direction and further displays we are making significant improvements,” Pollio said. “Although the diagnostic team provided us with positive feedback about our transformation, they also identified important ways in which we must improve.  The report addressed our work around our three pillars and providing more professional development, consistency of implementation in all school and instructional practices.”

The report also noted the need for a system to better monitor Backpack of Success Skills entries, but recognized this digital platform will help improve instructional practices only after a common definition of “quality work” is reached.  “This pillar has the potential to transform instruction as intended when teachers use high impact instructional and assessment methods in the classroom on a daily basis,” the report found.

In addition to the district’s Diagnostic Review, JCPS received results of reviews from eight of its Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools, including Cochran, Foster, Johnsontown Road, McFerran, Semple, Shelby and Slaughter elementary schools and Iroquois High School.  The review team noted caring, supportive and compassionate learning environments that are leading to increased student achievement in many instances.  The team noted that six principals showed strong leadership and have the capacity to continue on in their roles at the school.  However, the reviews determined that principals of Shelby and Johnsontown Road do not have the capacity to lead.  The district is reviewing these recommendations and will make a determination at a later time.

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