Call to Order and Roll Call
The2nd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, July 8, 2013, at 1:00 PM, in Louisville, Kentucky. Representative Derrick Graham, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Mike Wilson, Co-Chair; Representative Derrick Graham, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr., Joe Bowen, Jared Carpenter, David P. Givens, Denise Harper Angel, Jimmy Higdon, Gerald A. Neal, Kathy W. Stein, and Katie Stine; Representatives John Carney, Jim DeCesare, Jeffery Donohue, C.B. Embry Jr., Kelly Flood, Jim Glenn, Richard Heath, Brian Linder, Mary Lou Marzian, Donna Mayfield, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, Rick G. Nelson, Jody Richards, Tom Riner, Bart Rowland, Rita Smart, Wilson Stone, Ben Waide, and Addia Wuchner.
Guests: Marcie Lowe, Education Professional Standards Board; Theresa Rakes, Office of the Speaker; Tracy Herman, Kentucky Department of Education; Kayne Ishmael, Kentucky Education Association; Mike Raisor, Jefferson County Public Schools; Clyde Caudill, Jefferson County Public Schools and Kentucky Association of School Administrators; Brent McKim, Jefferson County Teachers Association; Jim Thompson, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet; Alan Curran, AT&T; Gary Cox, Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities; and Erin Klarer, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority.
Legislative Guests: Representatives Larry Clark, Dennis Horlander, Joni Jenkins, Darryl Owens, Steve Riggs, and Dwight Butler.
Approval of June 10, 2013 Minutes
Upon motion from Representative Glenn and a second by Representative Smart, the minutes were approved by voice vote.
Jefferson County Public Schools: A District Moving Forward
Donna Hargens, Superintendent, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), said Jefferson County is the largest school district in the state of Kentucky with more than 100,000 students, 172 school sites, and 10,966 full- and part-time employees. JCPS students make up one-seventh of the students in Kentucky with 50 percent of those students being minorities.
Dr. Hargens stated that the Strategic Plan Vision 2015 is based on a curriculum management audit and research based practices. The Strategic Plan has four focus areas: student progress in learning and proficiency in all subjects; career and college readiness at graduation; stakeholder involvement/engagement; and safe, resourced, supported, and equipped schools.
Dr. Hargens said JCPS is collaborating with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA) on professional development turnaround strategies to improve student achievement. KDE provided webinars on intervention models, a summer turnaround institute, assistant principal training, and assistance from the National Institute for School Leadership. Also, JCPS has adopted the Kentucky Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES) developed by KDE. The goal is to have a highly effective educator in every classroom. Twenty-seven schools will participate in PGES in the 2013-14 school year, and it will be fully implemented in 2014-15. Dr. Hargens stated that each school developed specific plans and specific measures for success including priority schools. JCPS meets weekly with KDE staff, and the KDE Education Recovery Teams work closely with principals and teachers.
Susan Allred, KDE, Associate Commissioner, Office of Next Generation Schools and Districts, said that since May 2013 the collaboration with JCPS has been one of the best collaborations she has seen in her entire career. KDE previously had some concerns about the hiring of staff in priority schools, but the hiring processes and funding sources are now clarified for the three cohorts of education recovery staff. The priority schools are now specifically mentioned as part of the vision statement in the literature for JCPS. Ms. Allred stated that necessary personnel actions are being taken in priority schools to ensure success. The KDE Education Recovery Director and Dr. Hargens are meeting regularly to ensure that the collaboration matrix is being implemented.
Ms. Allred said there is support from JCPS to provide in the 2013-14 school year extended school days three days per week for priority schools including transportation and a meal. Priority schools are receiving technology upgrades and Internet expansion, and education recovery staff are included in JCPS professional learning opportunities. Also, there is collaboration with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), JCPS, and the Prichard Committee to provide parent cohort training focused on Priority Schools in the fall of 2013.
Ms. Allred explained KDE’s commitment to education recovery in Kentucky and more specifically Jefferson County. KDE will assist priority schools in building sustainable systems for continuous improvement. KDE will provide intensive intervention support for ensuring that those systems are transformational in order to create radical, exponential gains through the use of strategic planning, data, systems interventions, coaching, modeling, mentoring, and monitoring.
Brent McKim, President, JCTA, said JCTA represents 5,750 teachers in the JCPS. Mr. McKim said JCTA developed an educator growth system that would help every educator improve throughout their career. JCTA and JCPS formed the Educator Quality Oversight Committee (EQOC), which will coordinate the 2013-14 pilot and the 2014-15 full implementation of the PGES. Also, JCTA provided input on JCPS’s successful District of Innovation application.
Dr. Hargens said JCPS and the University of Louisville have created signature training and capacity partnerships. One of the partnerships is the JCPS Teacher CARDS (Competency, Awareness, and Responsiveness to Diverse Students) program. This partnership offers a master’s degree to eligible teachers in high-needs priority schools.
Dr. Hargens said graduation rates have increased overall and the graduation rate for African American students increased 7 percent over the past four years. College and career readiness increased 12 percent in the 2011-12 school year. The class of 2013 secured $132 million in scholarships, a $2 million increase over last year. Also, JCPS was one of six school districts in the nation that the Broad Foundation recognized for efforts to increase African American students’ success and participation in Advanced Placement (AP) Programs. She said the number of African Americans in JCPS taking AP exams increased by 21 percent.
Dr. Hargens said 82 percent of JCPS teachers responding to the TELL (Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Working Conditions) survey agreed that JCPS schools are good places to work and learn. JCPS saw progress in every area of the TELL survey except collaboration with KDE. Also, Dr. Hargens said JCPS has now partnered with the Ford Next Generation Learning pilot, which includes externships, cohort scheduling, individual learning plan enhancement, and data enhancement. JCPS will have five high schools participating in this pilot for the 2013-14 school year.
Houston Barber, Principal, Fern Creek Traditional High School (FCTHS), said there has been successful collaboration between KDE, JCPS, and FCTHS focused on building sustainable systems. Dr. Barber stated there are three key areas to focus on in making sure students are career ready. Those areas are professional learning communities, targeted interventions/enrichment, and a focus on college and career readiness. Dr. Barber stated that FCTHS has established Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) which observe classrooms, provide feedback, and discussion of what is observed in classrooms. The PLCs and staff discuss how to motivate the students through innovation, invention, and teacher and student use of technology.
Dr. Barber said FCTHS has eliminated faculty meetings and eliminated a focus on compliance checklists and forms and is more focused on results and outcomes. FCTHS created core content driven common planning every Tuesday to help empower the teachers and staff. Also, FCTHS has Data Days which has led to innovations such as standard-based grading, FastBreak Wednesdays (job embedded professional development), student swap days, livescribe use, Radio technology, food literacy, graphic design with Adobe, computer applications, and many other innovations and inventions. Dr. Barber said the college and career readiness component at FCTHS is based on benchmarks set by ACT in conjunction with cultural competent teaching practices.
In response to Representative Derrick Graham’s question regarding JCPS achievement target projections, Dr. Barber said the projections are based on a benchmark formula relating to college and career readiness and bonus points.
Senator Katie Stine praised JCPS and Dr. Barber for all of the hard work done and the presentation brought before the committee. In response to her questions regarding white and African American math proficiency rate gaps, Dr. Hargens said the rate gaps are troubling and every school should have a strategy regarding closing the gap. She said that JCPS will have buses return to priority schools at 5 p.m. to pick up students who stay for targeted tutoring. A federal grant will provide afternoon food service for those students.
In response to Senator Kathy Stein’s question regarding the International Baccalaureate Program, Dr. Hargens said Seneca High School does not have the International Baccalaureate Program, but it is under consideration. She said Atherton High School does have an International Baccalaureate Program. Senator Kathy Stein commended JCPS for partnering with the Prichard Committee to work and NAACP on the highly successful Commonwealth Institute Parent Program.
In response to Representative Mary Lou Marzian’s question regarding contract negotiations, Mr. McKim said staffing is really important in priority schools and three years ago JCTA gave principals in priority schools complete screening authority for the staffing of their buildings.
In response to Representative Derrick Graham’s question regarding KDE, JCPS, and JCTA negotiations, Mr. McKim said JCTA spent a lot of time during the negotiations on the transfer process in priority schools. Ms. Allred said KDE staff concerns appear to have been resolved.
Representative John Carney stated that leadership, attitude, and collaboration are critical in order for priority schools to move forward, it is all about leadership, attitude, and collaboration. In response to his question regarding qualified teachers at the priority schools, Dr. Hargens said JCPS is ensuring that training is available to teachers including the 300 new teachers arriving in August.
Senator Mike Wilson commended Seneca High School on the hospitality and presentations provided to the committee. In response to Senator Mike Wilson’s questions regarding technical education schools and high school counselors, Dr. Hargens said JCPS has 15 schools with themes, including with industry-recognized credentials. High school counselors have visited apprentice programs to better understand the opportunities they make available to students.
In response to Representative Reginald Meeks’ question regarding the rationale behind KDE’s request for JCPS to revise its Comprehensive District Improvement Plan, Ms. Allred said KDE’s concern was that the term “priority” was not used specifically. KDE wanted to make certain that priority schools were specifically addressed in the plan. Dr. Hargens said the overall plan was for improvement in every school. She said the plan did not change but was amended to clarify how the plan is applied to priority schools.
Representative Reginald Meeks expressed concern with some of Commissioner Holliday’s comments about JCPS. Representative Darryl Owens also stated his concern with comments made by KDE and said he is pleased with the progress JCPS making. Representative Derrick Graham stated that in a letter to Dr. Hargens from KDE, Dr. Holliday does acknowledge that KDE has not always been consistent in expectations, monitoring, and the support of JCPS in the implementation of turnaround strategies.
In response to Representative Joni Jenkins’s question regarding plans for students with special needs and alternative education, Dr. Hargens said every student is different and needs different amounts of extended learning time and support.
In response to Senator Walter Blevins’s question regarding internet access in homes and schools for students, Dr. Hargens said JCPS has tried to create “everyone learn places” close to students’ homes so there is a place where students have access to the internet.
In response to Representative Jeffery Donohue’s question regarding a KDE required improvement plan, Dr. Hargens said every district has an improvement plan and every school has a school improvement plan.
In response to Representative Riner’s question regarding a Japanese educational model on manners, Dr. Hargens said each school might use a different model, and JCPS is putting an emphasis on students learning from their own mistakes.
In response to Senator Denise Harper Angel’s question regarding the timeframe of the JCTA contract and when will there be results, Mr. McKim said JCTA has a tentative agreement with JCPS that has been mailed to members. If the teachers accept the ratification, the contract then goes to the Jefferson County Board of Education for a vote. The results should be finalized within two weeks.
In response to Representative Steve Riggs’s question regarding a district office in Jefferson County for KDE, Ms. Allred said KDE has to find funding to place people in priority schools. Ideally KDE staff would like three people in each priority school, but every year KDE has to figure out how to pay for the people in each priority school.
Review of Executive Order 2013-389
Upon motion from Representative Marzian, seconded by Representative Charles Miller, Executive Order 2013-389 was accepted.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 3:03 p.m.