LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- The Kentucky Department of Education has affirmed that the Fayette County Public Schools district leadership team, under the direction of Superintendent Manny Caulk, has the capacity to support improvement efforts for schools.
An external audit – called a district diagnostic review – was conducted in February because seven of the district’s 54 schools were identified for “Comprehensive Support and Intervention” under the state’s new school ratings system. The review included interviews with more than 90 students, employees, family and community members, observations of 45 classrooms and the examination of hundreds of documents.
District officials are in the process of analyzing the complete findings of the review and determining next steps. Leaders throughout the district have worked to establish the systems and structures necessary for student success. The state report recognized those efforts and identified areas where improvement is needed as the district implements its strategic plan.
Because the tool used to evaluate schools and districts has changed considerably, a direct comparison cannot be made to the state audits that took place in 2015, 2016 and 2017. However, it is encouraging to note that in 2015 the state’s review identified six improvement priorities, and in 2019 there are three.
As early as his first week on the job, Caulk had voiced concerns that urban superintendents in Kentucky did not have the tools to take swift and decisive action to support high-asset schools and intervene when necessary. He embraced the flexibility afforded under the new accountability system, which transferred the statutory authority previously granted to the School Based Decision Making councils in CSI schools to the superintendent.
Since then, the district has placed additional resources into those schools, including school based instructional specialists, external technical support from Cambridge Education, leadership coaches, job-embedded professional learning, support teams and permanent substitutes to help with intervention or to cover classes while teachers are planning or analyzing data. FCPS has also invested in one-to-one technology for students and opened accelerated learning labs in those seven schools.
Now that the state’s audit is complete, Caulk said, the next step is to develop specific turnaround plans outlining the transformational changes we will implement in 2019-20 school year to ensure that every child is achieving at high levels.
He also called on families and the community-at-large to play a role.