Friday, April 9, 2010

In low-performing schools, who chooses the intervention? (Caverna wants to know)

Under a new law and a new regulation passed in January, Caverna High School and a handful of other schools have been identified as  persistently low performing.  That makes each one eligible for a major school improvement grant but required to implement one of four intervention options:
  • External management, where an outside organization takes over day-to-day management.
  • Restaffing, where the principal and at least half the staff are replaced and a research-based action plan is implemented.
  • School closure, where  all students transfer to other district schools (not an option in Caverna).
  • Transformation, where the principal is replaced and "an extensive set of specified strategies" are implemented to turn the school around.
The Glasgow Daily Times reports today that the district is still waiting to hear the audit results and the intervention approach.  Caverna Superintendent Sam Dick shared a number of questions and frustrations, including this one:
One of the questions Dick had for the academic team was who chooses the intervention model.

“The team, when it was here, said it did. The commissioner, when I talked to him, said he did. The legislators, when I talked to them, said the statute said I did and somebody else said it was the site-based council,” Dick said. “So we really don’t know who gets to pick the intervention model.”
That's the sort of question that should definitely have an answer in the official rules.  I pulled up the new state regulation, 703 KAR 5:180, and found Section 5, entitled "Authority to Select an Intervention Option."

Based on the regulation, the answer depends on the results of the recent audits.  Both the school and the district leadership have been audited, checking to see if leaders at each level have the capacity to lead the transformation.  The audit may find the school weak and the district strong, the school strong and the district weak, or both weak, or both strong.  Based on those audit findings, different people decide which kind of intervention will be used at the school:
In other words, until the audit results are in, there's no way to say who will be making the big decision on next steps.


  1. Susan,

    Given the overall state of the economy, with something like 10% of Kentuckians out of work, it doesn't look like there is any way to raise taxes. Certainly, the legislature doesn't seem to be trending that way.

    So, what other parts of the state's budget would you further cut in order to increase school funding?


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