Education

Bryan Station instituting smaller class sizes, new schedules

Working on the new ALEKS program in Scott Bugg's Math Intervention class, L-R: Jacry Marshall, Daquann Jackson, Candace Longworth, at Bryan Station High School on Eastin Rd. in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, February 11,  2015. The Fayette County Board of Education has approved various new technology and instructional programs for the school.  Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff
Working on the new ALEKS program in Scott Bugg's Math Intervention class, L-R: Jacry Marshall, Daquann Jackson, Candace Longworth, at Bryan Station High School on Eastin Rd. in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, February 11, 2015. The Fayette County Board of Education has approved various new technology and instructional programs for the school. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff Herald-Leader

New schedules and smaller classes are in the offing for students at Bryan Station High School, possibly as early as Tuesday, as part of the interim principal's plan to turn around the only Fayette County public school designated by the state as priority or persistently low achieving.

In an email Friday, James McMillin told parents that "roughly 70 percent of our students are not meeting benchmark in reading, math and English. This year alone 1,243 students at BSHS need interventions in reading and 1,332 students need interventions in math.

"Coupled with this data, several classes throughout the building are overcapacity with anywhere between 35-45 students sitting in a classroom. We know intervention needs and large class sizes must be addressed to ensure your student receives a personalized education."

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McMillin, an associate principal at Tates Creek Middle School who was named interim principal at Bryan Station the week before classes began last month, said he dived into student data from the past two years to identify students who were not meeting benchmark levels of achievement.

"I am a data-driven school leader. I will never hide data from you or hide behind it," he said in the email.

Bryan Station staff and the leadership team "have worked diligently to identify areas of concern and put procedures in place," McMillin wrote.

"The Bryan Station High School team, along with district support, has worked together this week to add staff and create schedules that reduce class sizes and provide needed interventions for your student's continued success," the email said.

"While this change may be difficult for some at first, the benefits will outweigh the challenge," he wrote.

McMillin said the district office and state Department of Education were supporting Bryan Station through academic coaching and financial support. He said staff members were working to address the priority status Bryan Station is under as a result of state accountability scores.

In addition to the scores, two consecutive state education department reviews determined that Fayette County Public Schools did not provide enough support to Bryan Station High School, and noted problems with student achievement and behavior.

Before he retired as state education commissioner at the end of August, Terry Holliday told district officials they had to improve support at Bryan Station or face state action.

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