Next week's Kentucky Board of Education agenda features "Reports from the Christian County, Covington Independent, Jefferson County and Union County school districts on progress toward improved achievement in low-performing schools." KBE's regular public checkups are designed to get those districts focused on effective school change in some situations that have been acutely troubled.
Using the transition index district results as a quick overview, here's a summary of the 2007 to 2009 changes in each district, from strongest to weakest. (Rankings of district improvement are based on 175 districts at the elementary and middle level, and 171 districts at the high school level.)
Union County can report a 17 point increase in the elementary index, plus 7 points on the middle index and 2 points on the high school index. That puts them second in elementary improvement, 36th in middle school improvement, and 77th on high school improvement over the two years. Since Union has spent the last year in a much-publicized effort to raise performance without state assistance, it's worth noting that looking at just their 2008 to 2009 change shows their district improvement as fifth strongest at the elementary level, seventh strongest at the middle level, and fourth strongest overall.
Christian County has raised elementary results 10 points and middle and high school results 7 points each. Those growth rates are the 9th fastest among elementaries, 39th fastest among middle schools, and 25th fastest for high schools.
Covington has raised their elementary index 11 points, middle index 4 points, and high school index 1 point. That's the fifth best elementary growth in the state, 69th for middle and 85th for high schools.
Jefferson County did not improve results. There, the elementary index is down 2 points, the middle index down 1 point, and the high school index effectively flat. Among districts statewide, that puts the district's pace of change at 142nd for elementaries, 152nd for middle schools, and 108th for high schools.
To my eye, Union's great and Christian's good: the added KBE scrutiny may soon come to an end. Covington's made an important start, but has enough work ahead to warrant continuing attention. Jefferson, meanwhile, warrants not only continuing oversight but growing concern.