An outside firm or consultant will conduct an external review of Arlington and Booker T. Washington elementary schools in Lexington, both which have shown a lack of progress and performance, Fayette school officials said.
In 2016-17, state test scores showed that both were among the schools in Fayette County with significant percentages of students performing at the lowest level of math and reading.
Test results released a few months ago by the Kentucky Department of Education led Fayette Superintendent Manny Caulk to say he would hire an outside independent agency to conduct a scholastic audit of low-performing schools in the district. He did not identify any schools at the time.
But on Monday, the Fayette school board voted to begin the process for firms to submit proposals.
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A new state law outlines a process for the state to identify and support schools where student achievement does not meet standards.
The district will accept proposals from outside firms or consultants to conduct a comprehensive review of the two schools and make concrete recommendations to “improve and sustain student growth and achievement,” Senior Director of School Leadership Schuronda Morton said Monday at the school board’s regular monthly meeting. The review would occur in 2018.
Morton said the results should include recommendations at both the school and district level. “We need to identify reasons for lack of progress and performance,” she said. “Once we know what the root cause is, we can provide targeted support and assistance.”
The review will look at student demographics and mobility patterns, test data, curriculum, instruction, and assessment, strategic allocation of resources, school improvement and turnaround practices, and student participation in-school and extracurricular. Additionally, the district would like the audit team to conduct surveys and interviews of students, staff, and families, and focus groups with community members to gather input on reimagining the school.
“It’s important to have that community and family voice in this work,” Caulk said. “What do they want to see the school become? We are committed to ensuring that in every neighborhood, students and families have access to a great school.”
Under the state’s new charter school law, traditional public schools can be converted into public charter schools. District officials did not immediately say whether that was an option for Arlington and Booker T. Washington.