Friday, March 12, 2010

Intensive new audits starting early (with help from the federal stimulus)

The Courier-Journal is reporting on the first steps of Kentucky's new approach to schools with a multi-year history of weak performance:
Shawnee principal Keith Look said the process was “very intense.”

“They are looking at everything you do at the school through a leadership lens,” Look said.

Look, who is in his second year as principal at Shawnee, said the 11-member team of retired educators spent two days collecting test and other data before spending the rest of the week interviewing every staff member in the school.

“They also observed each teacher twice, talked to about 40-50 students and interviewed parents and community members,” he said. “They also talked to SBDM members.”
This is an early start on the audit and intervention process the legislature approved at the very start of the current session.  During the voting on the bill, the Commissioner did not expect the new rules to apply until 2010 test scores came in.

What's changed? According to the article, "the districts are being audited this year because they wanted to be eligible to receive up to $1.5 million in federal School Improvement Grants this year."  Those grants are yet another part of the federal stimulus legislation, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

That is, while state law would have allowed districts to put off the audits until next fall, the ARRA offered an incentive to start right away, and at least one eligible district has chosen to take up the offer.

1 comment:

  1. Susan, you make an important point that the districts had to volunteer to participate in these audits in order to have access to the federal School Improvement Grant funding. JCPS knew full well what they were getting themselves into with this. They want the money. So for Jefferson County school officials to say they were caught off guard by the audits is very puzzling indeed! Is there poor communicaton between school officials or are school officials not willing to own up to the truth to the citizens of Louisville? Either answer is not good.


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