Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New leadership audits: Six Jefferson councils, four principals found weak, district found able

The Courier-Journal has obtained the reports of the recent leadership audits of the Jefferson County central office and the six schools in that district identified as the weakest of Kentucky's persistent low performers.

House Bill 176, passed in January, requires that the principals at those schools be replaced unless the audit finds that they have the skills to turn the school around.   At Western Middle, Frost Middle, Valley High, and Fern Creek High, the audit did not make that finding.   Unless the Kentucky Board of Education reverses the audit  findings on appeal, that means those principals will be departing.  At Western High and Shawnee High, the audits support continuing with the current principals.

School councils are also to be removed unless the audit grants them a reprieve--but none of the councils got those reprieves.

The audits also look at district leadership, checking for the strength to turn the schools around, and Jefferson County's central office was found to be able to provide the needed support.

Even if the audits are appealed to KBE, the six schools will end up implementing one of four interventions:
  • Closure
  • Takeover by an outside management organization
  • Restaffing that allows no more than 50 percent of the current staff to return and requires "development and implementation of a plan of action that uses research-based school improvement initiatives designed to turn around student performance"
  • Transformation that includes "instituting an extensive set of specified strategies designed to turn around the identified school."
If the audit findings stand, Superintendent Berman will recommend one of those four approaches to the Jefferson County Board.   If any of the councils win an appeal, the council will make the recommendation to the board.  Either way, one of the four approaches above will be required.

After that, the schools will receive quite large school improvement grants funded by the federal stimulus legislation to carry out the needed changes (assuming, of course, that none of them are closed).

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