Our assessment results are in, and they are really good. Bullitt County Public Schools are demonstrating that we can provide a solid, research-based instructional program that can prepare students for a successful post-secondary academic or working career. We have accomplished this rise from bottom 20% performance to a designation as a Proficient school district in an era of absolutely unprecedented state budget reductions that have taken away all money for textbooks, most for after-school programming, and most for teacher training – not to mention real cuts to basic funding that all together amount to around $6 million this year. We have also accomplished this while offering students more choice and individualization, increased student safety, decreased discipline problems, and increased teacher satisfaction. We have done this by putting the right people in the right positions, focusing on what works, enforcing standards in our classrooms, treating students as individuals and monitoring their intellectual growth, and maybe most importantly, by allowing our professional teachers time and structure to work together to solve the problems they can identify faster and more accurately than anybody else. The success that has been reported is real – it has been a steady improvement and it will only increase over time. As the saying goes, success breeds success and we have the Big Mo (mentum) on our side.
So, we (in this entire context, by we, I mean the entire Bullitt County community) have celebrated and will continue to do so. Our students hear and participate in these celebrations, and it heartens them to strive to be better. They have shown that being part of BCPS is not a hindrance, but something of which they can be proud. Our teachers are helping our students outshine the performance of students in districts that have many more resources and have outperformed us for years. So, that is all wonderful. The question becomes, what now?
History has shown time and again that a people that become prideful and haughty are destined for eventual defeat. I believe this applies to schools and school districts just as it does to nations and families. At the risk of sounding like a downer, I’m going to point out that, though we made great progress and we have reason to be proud, we have a long, long way to go. We must keep our shoulder to the wheel and not lose our focus on each individual student and preparing them for their future.
College and Career Readiness (CCR) has been and will continue to be a huge focus for us, as it has for districts around the state. We have improved the college and career readiness rate from 27% when they first measured it in 2010, to 50.1% in 2013. That is great progress and ahead of the goal set for us by the state, but it still means almost half of our graduates are not meeting the CCR standard. In less than two years, with the students who are now Juniors, EVERY student is required under Board policy to demonstrate college or career readiness in order to graduate. Our schools and students are well aware of this requirement and our schools have been working very hard to make sure that every student is on a path toward success. As I’ve said over and over (and will again), if we want our diploma to be valuable, it has to mean more than time in a seat. This requirement is bold and it appropriately puts the responsibility for making the effort to be rewarded with a diploma squarely on the shoulders of the students. Students – and the parents of all students in the 11th grade or below – need to be aware of their CCR status and make concrete plans to meet the standard in order to graduate with their class in 2015 and beyond.
Our students, parents, teachers, administrators, and support staff deserve to be praised for achieving the milestone of becoming a Proficient school district. We have come far, and the improvements are impressive by any standard. However, being good is not good enough. Our shared vision for Bullitt County Public Schools is to be the leader in educational excellence. So, we’ll celebrate, rejoice and then push even harder to become the best we can be.
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off