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Jefferson County Public Schools

October 2011

Independent review will help JCPS provide the most effective teaching

Also in this issue: • New advisory program improves college readiness • FAQs about the state’s new academic standards • Are you as smart as a JCPS eighth grader?

Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer Offering Equal Educational Opportunities

Independent review will help JCPS provide the most effective teaching If your child notices an unfamiliar person in the classroom this month, there’s a good chance he or she will be one of the 25 independent auditors who are visiting all 155 of the district’s schools.

Phi Delta Kappa audit examines how the systems and structures in place support learning.

The auditors are from Phi Delta Kappa International, an education association that offers a unique districtwide review process called a Curriculum Management Audit. The auditors were invited to the district by the Jefferson County Board of Education (JCBE) and Superintendent Donna Hargens.

Before visiting Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), the auditors reviewed hundreds of documents on the district’s policies and practices. During this month’s on-site visits, the auditors are observing classrooms and interviewing school staff, parents, and community members. The auditors have experience in managing large urban school systems and expertise in the organizational areas they review.

Following generally accepted auditing principles, a curriculum audit is based on a business model developed by the accounting firm Peat, Marwick, and Mitchell. Instead of focusing on finances, however, the

The audit will compare the district’s performance against five standards that Phi Delta Kappa describes as “representing the characteristics any complex organization must have to be responsive and responsible to


its clients”: • Control of resources, programs, and personnel • Establishment of clear and valid objectives for students • Internal consistency and rational equity in program development and implementation • Use of data to adjust, improve, or end ineffective practices • Improved productivity In January, a final report will detail the extent to which JCPS is meeting the standards and provide recommendations that will serve as a blueprint and align the district’s efforts and budget toward learning. “This is going to benefit JCPS,” says Board Chairman Steve Imhoff, “and it’s going to benefit 100,000 students.”

Read Dr. Hargens’ column on the next page for more information.

Parent to Parent

Curriculum audit will help us improve student achievement Last summer, the Jefferson County Board of Education made a very courageous decision to initiate a review of how we operate as a school system, both from a governance and administrative perspective. This review is being conducted by national experts in district administration by Phi Delta Kappa and takes business models for policy and practice alignment and applies them to school systems. I wholeheartedly welcome this effort. We know that the audit is not designed to give us pats on the back. The final report may mention some of our strengths, but more importantly, it will focus on what we need to improve in order to help each child in JCPS succeed. The audit will examine every factor that plays a role in how the entire district supports student learning. Overall, it will address two major questions: “Does JCPS have a properly managed instructional program that is planned, executed, and assessed in accordance with generally accepted principles and standards?” and “Does JCPS conform to the standards of quality present in high-performing organizations?”

Other large urban districts that have used the audit process effectively include St. Louis, Minneapolis, Seattle, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and my former district in North Carolina. Why is JCPS participating in the process now? Because we need to increase the number of students achieving proficiency on state tests, because too many of our schools have been identified as low performing, and because you expect us to prepare your sons and daughters for success in college or a career after high school graduation. Also, as Kentucky implements rigorous new academic standards, JCPS must ensure that our curriculum is the same as the one that our students will be measured on.

The changes to the standards reflect the changing and rising expectations of what our students need to know to be college- and career-ready. (See the article on the next page for more information on the standards.) Conditions require the district to change, and the audit will provide insight into where we can improve. The final report will list recommendations and specific action steps to better position us to focus on each and every student. To willingly undergo such scrutiny takes courage. We do this because the report’s recommendations will help us improve from a good district to a great one, and that’s an investment that ultimately will benefit the entire community. Sincerely,

Donna M. Hargens, Ed.D. JCPS Superintendent

“The audit will examine every factor that plays a role in how the entire district supports student learning.”


Frequently asked questions about the state’s new academic standards What are academic standards?

They determine what students learn and when they learn it. For instance, according to the new Kentucky Core Academic Standards, sixth graders learn how to divide fractions and solve related word problems, such as “How wide is a rectangular strip of land with a length of 3⁄4 mile and an area of 1⁄2 square mile?”

Why does JCPS have new academic standards?

They meet the requirements of 4

Senate Bill 1, passed by Kentucky lawmakers in 2009. The bill requires more challenging standards as well as new instructional strategies, new state tests, and intense focus on getting students ready for college and careers.

How were the new standards developed?

In February 2010, the Kentucky Board of Education approved replacing the state’s own standards with the new Common Core State Standards. These standards were

developed by content experts, educators, and researchers brought together by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). More than 40 states have agreed to adopt the new standards. They’re based on: • The best current state standards. • College- and careerreadiness standards. • International benchmark studies of instruction in higher-performing countries. • Feedback from the general public.

Kentucky schools will implement the math and English/language arts standards throughout the 2011-12 school year. Next year, they’ll implement the new science and social studies standards. In 2013-14, they’ll implement the new standards in art, music, practical living, and world languages.

How are the new standards different from the old ones?

There aren’t as many of the new standards, but they’re more challenging. Students have to learn skills more quickly and study lessons in more depth. The new standards also focus on applying knowledge in everyday life. The math standards focus not only on problem-solving skills but also on conceptual understanding. This approach is designed to ensure students learn and absorb the critical information they need to succeed at higher-level math. The English/language arts standards integrate with history, social studies, science, and other technical subjects in grades six through twelve. These standards also present a “staircase” of increasing complexity in what students read—a progression designed to ensure students are ready for college- and careerlevel reading by high school graduation.

Do the new standards tell teachers how they should teach?

velop effective instructional strategies. Also, the new standards don’t include everything that should be taught to help students become critical thinkers and life-long learners. The standards don’t define the full range of support needed for English language learners and students with special needs. They don’t provide interventions for students who are far below grade level, and they don’t include standards for advanced work.

Will JCPS students be tested on the new standards?

Yes. In spring 2012, Kentucky will be the first and only state to use tests based on the new standards in math and English/ language arts. JCPS teachers will work throughout the school year not only to implement the new standards but also to provide in-depth instruction and support that prepares students for the new tests.

JCPS launches standards page for parents JCPS has created a new Web page called the Parents’ Guide to the New State Standards. You’ll find general information, specific questions you should ask your child’s teacher, and tips on helping your child adjust to the pace and depth of the new standards. The page is available at Brochures about the standards will be available at all Jefferson County public schools. In addition, the 15th District PTA is partnering with the Gheens instructional staff to offer standards workshops at JCPS schools. For information on scheduling a session for your school, call 4853535.

No. Teachers still have to de-


Improving college readiness

Moore students meet during College Access Time.

A new advisory program motivates students to follow their college and career dreams. A new type of program is helping JCPS students get ready for college. Called College Access Time (CAT), it’s “a twist on what some may call an advisory program,” says Pam Royster, JCPS high school specialist. “The purpose of CAT is to have every student meet with an adult who gets to know the student personally—or as students say, an adult who is ‘on my case and on my side,’” Royster says. “Through this relationship, advisors help students navigate through high school with an individualized plan, based on their interests and talents, that 6

propels them to an on-time, credentialed diploma and purposeful postsecondary study.” A College Access Resource Teacher (CART) at each school helps implement the program and supports teachers in their advisory role. According to Academy @ Shawnee CART Melissa Helton, “College Access Time is about more than just getting into college or acquiring financial aid. It includes those things, but it also includes getting students prepared for success in college academically, socially, and emotionally. “Through CAT, we hope to prepare students to be independent and capable of handling all aspects of college life.”

Amy Konermann, the CART at Moore Traditional School, says CAT “creates a structure that gives teachers and students time to connect as the students learn about opportunities and how to navigate the systems of preparing for and applying to college.” She says the program also “gives students encouragement that motivates them to follow college and career dreams that they may not have known were possible.” The program receives funds from an Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Nearly 1,700 U.S. districts applied for the grant last year. The JCPS application was one of only 30 selected in its category.

By combining other grant funds with the i3 funding, CAT ultimately will be available in 23 JCPS high schools, including some alternative schools.

College Access Resource Teacher Amy Konermann advises Moore students.

Magnet program spotlight

Communication, Media, and the Arts

Is your child a budding artist, musician, dancer, actor, or writer? Or maybe your child would like to learn graphic design—or TV or radio broadcasting.

If your child is going to be a freshman next year, he or she might be interested in the JCPS Communication, Media, and the Arts Professional Career Theme Program. Courses are available in public speaking, print media, graphic arts, radio and television production, stage and costume design, and performing arts. Students work in well-equipped, state-of-the-art studios. They get many chances to practice their craft and show off their skills. Whether they’re painting murals, acting on stage, creating digital art, writing a short story or novel, editing news articles, anchoring a news broadcast, running a radio station, or directing a film, students receive

both solid academic instruction and practical experience that can lead to good jobs. Communication skills are in demand across occupations, according to a United States Department of Labor report on the fastest-growing careers. Courses within the Communication, Media, and the Arts Program are available at three schools—one in each of the geographically based high school networks: Pleasure Ridge Park (Network 1), Fern Creek (Network 2), and Ballard (Network 3). Don’t know which network your child lives in? Call JCPS Demographics at 485-3050 or use the SchoolFinder feature at http:// demographics/schoolfinder. aspx.

through the end of the year. Watch for more information in the next issue of Parent Connection. Video overviews of the Communication, Media, and the Arts Program and other JCPS Professional Career Theme Programs are available on the district’s YouTube channel at Professional Career Theme Programs are offered at the district’s 5-Star Schools. More information is available in the high school section of the Choices guidebook, which will be distributed at the Middle and High School Showcase and posted on the Showcase of Schools Web page (www. html).

The application period for JCPS high school magnet programs will begin next month and last 7

For parents of preschoolers

How long is your child’s attention span? Paying attention to the teacher and the class is important for success in school. But your child is still at an age when you can expect her to focus for only short periods of time. Knowing what to expect can help you work with your child on paying attention. Most young children: • Can pay attention for about 15 minutes if the topic interests them. Expect attention to be less if it doesn’t.

characters might sound. Then give her a short line (two or three words) from the book to repeat in the character’s voice. • Stay more engaged during a hands-on activity when a parent participates. Your child may spend more time on a jigsaw puzzle if you sit with her and put in a piece yourself now and then.

Reprinted with permission from the October 2011 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Early Childhood Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2011 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: Resource Library, “Understanding Attention Span in the Early Years,” Children’s Hospital of Richmond, articles/457/.

• Are more attentive at certain times of day, usually mornings. That is why most preschool classes take place in the morning. In elementary school, teachers often schedule the most challenging tasks in the morning, too. • Stay more engaged if they can talk. Is your child losing attention in a story? Ask her how she thinks one of the

Get organized

Strategies for students with learning disabilities Strong organizational skills are critical to students’ success.

promote the development of organizational skills:

information, such as addresses and phone numbers.

Children who process information differently or have attention problems may need extra support in staying organized both in school and at home. Parents can help by using strategies that

Be a model. Parents can model good organization at home. For instance, you may want to talk to your child about how you use an address book or a notebook to write down important

Keep a family calendar. Let your child write events on the calendar that are important to him or her, such as homework, tests, class projects, or school events.


Establish schedules and routines at home. Set specific times for such activities as homework, free time, bath, and reading. Children thrive on the predictability a schedule offers. Use pictures and lists to help teach skills. Many adults use “to do” lists. Your child would benefit from one too, but you may want to use pictures in addition to words. For example, you could help your child clean his or her room, take a photo of

it, and then paste the photo on the list to remind and motivate your child to clean his or her room regularly. Break big tasks into small steps. To teach your child a new task or skill, use numbered step-by-step directions. A series of small steps feels less overwhelming than one large task. Color-code school subjects with dividers or folders. Explain to your child that students

who don’t keep their schoolwork organized could fall behind in class. Develop a reward system. Praise your child for his or her efforts to increase organizational skills. Source: JCPS Exceptional Child Education (ECE) Department. Contact the department at 485-8500. The ECE Web site is located at www.jcpsky. net/Programs/ECE/.

Keeping kids safe

Warn your child about the dangers of alcopops The following information has been excerpted from a Web site hosted by the JCPS Safe and Drug-Free Schools Office.


• Alcopops are beverages containing distilled alcohol and other ingredients. They may contain fruit juices, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. • These carbonated beverages have a fruity flavor in addition to a high sugar/caffeine level that masks the alcohol effect. • Alcopops have an alcohol content that is equal to or higher than the content of beer. • They are appealing to young beginning drinkers. • Alcopop advertisements are targeted at youth. • Alcopops are being marketed to imitate energy drinks. From the look of the container, it’s difficult to distinguish an alcopop from an energy drink. • Alcopops are particularly appealing to young women.

Effects on youth

Remember, alcopops are alcohol, and parents need to remind their children about the problems that people who drink alcohol might face, including liver damage, cardiac arrest, and alcoholism.

Warning Signs

• Smell of alcohol on breath or clothing • Slurred speech or bloodshot eyes • Drop in school attendance or academic performance • Loss of interest in hobbies or

sports • Feeling run-down or depressed

Prevention information

• Discuss the dangers of alcopops with your child. • Urge businesses to properly display alcopops away from nonalcoholic drinks. • Lobby for alcopops to be correctly classified so the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control can regulate marketing and store placement.

For more information on protecting your child from the dangers of alcohol, drugs, and violence, visit the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Web site. Go to Parents and then click the Keeping Kids Safe link on the left side of the page. 9

More than 40 students are national scholarship program Semifinalists

Students at five JCPS high schools are Semifinalists in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program or the 2012 National Achievement Scholarship Program. Atherton: Alexandra E. Schwendau and Sara M. Sinback Ballard: Hannah C. Heyworth, Elijah R. Jones, and Michelle S. Roh DuPont Manual: Jasmine C. Athanasakes, Pratik H. Bhade, Carolyn E. Brown, Tyler A. Darnell, Lucas K. Do, Hayden Q. Flanery, Eden I. Foley, Elijah C. Fosl, Julien L. Gifford, John M. Grundy, Christopher A. Gunnell, Ankush M. Gupta, Bennett V. Heine, Maggie E. Heine, Catherine S. Jennings, Jordan A. Jorgensen, Meghamsh Kanuparthy, James H. Kincaid, Tianjian Lai, Kim-Mai Le, Brittany S. Lenihan, Brenden K. McKim, Michael A. Moorin, Nicholas K. Neuteufel, Nikita S. Perumal, Robert K. Peterson, Vinay A. Raj, Sreyas Rangaraju, Robert A. Rehm, Brian C. Rinehart, Jacob W. Sims, Tyler L. Smith, Samuel Stromberg, Maxwell C. Tague, Nicholas H. Uhlenhuth, Zachary R. Uhlenhuth, Rassan G. Walker (Rassan is a Semifinalist in both the National 10

Merit Program and the National Achievement Program), Aaron M. Weber, Mallory E. White, Wenyuan Yin, Abi Zhang, and Shelley Zhou

the National Merit Scholarship Program and the National Achievement Scholarship Program. For more information, visit

Eastern: Zachary Gambrell

Waggener students win state awards

Louisville Male: Alexander Oyler About 1.5 million juniors at 22,000 high schools entered the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2010 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Nationwide, there are 16,000 Semifinalists. They are the highest-scoring students in each state. More than 160,000 juniors requested consideration in the National Achievement Scholarship Program when they took the PSAT/NMSQT. Nationwide, there are 1,600 Semifinalists, who are the highest-scoring students in their region. To become a Finalist in either program, a Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, receive a recommendation from his or her principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the earlier performance on the qualifying test. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation administers both

Waggener High School students Ieshia Irvin, Lauren Quaife, and Darion Taylor were state winners in the Students Taking Action with Recognition (STAR) competition sponsored by Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). Winning on the state level qualified the students to compete with more than 3,500 others at the 2011 FCCLA National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California. Ieshia and Lauren both received Bronze medals in the Culinary Arts Division of the competition. FCCLA is a national student organization that encourages young people to become leaders and to develop life skills through Family and Consumer Sciences Education.

Myers Middle teacher receives prestigious scholarship

Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, language arts and drama teacher at Myers Middle, received a scholarship from the English Speaking Union of the United States that

allowed her to study creative writing during the summer at Oxford University in England. She also received a free week stay in London before her study began, which gave her the opportunity to travel and gather materials for future classroom use. Lamb-Sinclair also is one of 16 Fulbright-Hays Scholars who travelled throughout Thailand and Vietnam during the summer. She participated in cultural studies during home visits, toured sites not open to tourists, and attended various presentations. She also spent time in classrooms and studied the differences in the educational systems. Two years ago, Lamb-Sinclair founded the Myers Middle drama program. Her students have written and produced their own plays at the school.

The Academy @ Shawnee offers both Aerospace: Flight School and Aerospace: Aviation Maintenance Technology as magnet programs that accept applications from students throughout the district. The application period will begin next month. Watch for more information in the next Parent Connection.

Mark your calendar Oct. 21: Metro United Way Student Day

Oct. 21–22: JCPS Middle and High School Showcase Oct. 22: ACT Oct. 22–30: Red Ribbon Week Nov. 1–Jan. 6: Middle and high school application period Nov. 5: SAT

Nov. 7: School not in session for students—Professional-Development (PD) Day for teachers Nov. 8: School not in session— Election Day Nov. 13–19: American Education Week Nov. 23–25: Thanksgiving Break

Flight instructor receives prestigious certification

Metro United Way Student Day

Michael Wagers, chief flight instructor for the Aerospace: Flight School Magnet Program at the Academy @ Shawnee, has been accredited as a Master Certified Flight Instructor (CFI).

It’s time again for the Metro United Way Campaign. Your child may bring home information on how the Metro United Way benefits our community. Fri., Oct. 21, has been designated Metro United Way Student Day at JCPS schools.

There are about 93,000 CFIs in the United States, but fewer than 700 have achieved master certification, which is a national accreditation recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration. Only six CFIs in Kentucky have earned master status.

By giving your child the opportunity to make a donation and participate, he or she will learn about good citizenship and about the importance of helping the community. The student campaign will end on Fri., Nov. 18. 11

Getting ready for state tests

Are you as smart as a JCPS eighth grader? The answers to the seventhgrade science questions in the last issue of Parent Connection are 1: C, 2: C, 3: D, 4: B. To review the questions, visit the newsletter’s Web site (www. and select the September issue in the archive. The first parent to send the correct answers last month was Paul Grant, father of two students in the Waldorf-Inspired Magnet Program at Byck Elementary. Other winners were Scott Gibson (Schaffner Traditional Elementary) and Kimberly Swift (Semple Elementary).

You don’t need to write the questions or answers. Just send the question numbers and the letters for your answers. Or you may print out this quiz and mail it. 1. Which of these numbers would be closest to 0 on a number line? A. -1 B. 23 C. 5 D. -312 2. A rectangular piece of paper measures 10 centimeters wide by 17 centimeters long. What is the length of the paper’s diagonal to the nearest

This month, Parent Connection offers a quiz with the type of math questions that eighth graders may need to answer on state tests in the spring. The first three parents who send the correct answers to the Parent Connection office via e-mail and the first three who send the answers via regular mail will receive a free JCPS T-shirt. Please include the name of your child’s (or grandchild’s) school. The e-mail address is thomas. pack@jefferson.kyschools. us. The regular mailing address is Thomas Pack, Communications and Publications North, C. B. Young Jr. Service Center, Building 4, 3001 Crittenden Drive, Louisville, KY 40209.

centimeter? A. 14 centimeters B. 17 centimeters C. 20 centimeters D. 27 centimeters

Paul Grant and his daughters, Erin and Emma

3. In the grid above, to which point could the endpoints of RT be connected to form a right triangle? A. point D B. point F C. point H D. point J

October Parent Connection  

JCPS parent newsletter

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