Judge: Beshear’s Board Of Education Can Meet Wednesday, Dec 11 2019 

A circuit judge has denied a petition filed by former members of the Kentucky Board of Education for a temporary restraining order. The board members filed the petition Tuesday, immediately after new Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order overhauling the Board of Education.

Without the injunction, Beshear’s new board is free to meet as planned Thursday morning, where members will likely fire current Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis.

During his inaugural address Tuesday, Beshear said the overhaul was done in an effort to ensure every member of the board was committed to public education.

“These members were not chosen based on any partisan affiliation, but based on their commitment to make our schools better. To put our children first,” Beshear said during his speech Tuesday.

But the members of the previous board — all of whom were appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin when other members’ terms expired — objected. In the motion filed Tuesday in Franklin Circuit Court, they argued Beshear didn’t have the legal authority to appoint members in one fell swoop this way.

“Simply put, the Governor has attempted to make good on promises he made during his campaign for Governor that he knew, or at least should have known, were legally impossible,” according to the complaint.

In an interview with WFPL on Tuesday, former board member Gary Houchens said he believed Beshear had violated the Kentucky Education Reform Act, which was passed in 1990 and provides a clear process to appoint new members to the board. But Houchens said he also believes there’s an important principle at stake, too:

“And that principle is there should be a buffer between the governance of the K-12 education system and the more brutal elements of partisan politics,” he said.

With the denial of Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate on Wednesday to consider the motion for an injunction, the new Beshear-appointed board is scheduled to meet Thursday. The only items on the agenda include discussing dismissing current Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis, and then possibly terminating Lewis and installing a replacement.

The attorneys for the former Board of Education say they’ll appeal Wingate’s decision.

JCPS to sue e-cig manufacture Wednesday, Dec 11 2019 

Jefferson County Public Schools is the third to file a lawsuit.


JCPS board approves plan to expand W.E.B. Dubois Academy Wednesday, Dec 11 2019 

The school will expand to have classes from sixth through twelfth grade.


New Iroquois High School principal changing narrative Friday, Dec 6 2019 

Rob Fulk replaces former Principal Clay Holbrook, who volunteered for reassignment.


Two Educators Share 2020 Grawemeyer Award For Education For Research On High Schools Thursday, Dec 5 2019 

The University of Louisville’s 2020 Grawemeyer Award for Education goes to a pair of educators for their research into how to better high schools in the U.S.

Courtesy U of L

Jal Mehta

Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine co-wrote the book “In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake the American High School.” Mehta is a professor at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. He said he and Fine wanted to find out if there was more to a good school than math and reading scores.

“We were looking for schools that help students to flourish, think critically, collaborate — all those 21st century skills,” Mehta said.

Mehta and Fine spent six years researching, observing classrooms for hundreds of hours and interviewing more than 300 students, parents, teachers and school administrators at 30 high schools across the U.S. Mehta said they found pockets of powerful learning pretty much everywhere — at highly recommended schools where you’d expect it and at traditional public schools.

“If you have this picture in your head that there are some schools where kids are getting, you know, really sophisticated learning and lots of other schools that are not like that, I think the picture is kind of more of a polka-dotted picture,” Mehta said. “If you follow a student for a day they may have one or two classes which are really intellectually lively and engaging and a number that are not.”

Courtesy U of L

Sarah Fine

Mehta said standard tests that show whether students can do basic literacy and math are worthwhile. But he said those tests aren’t well connected to higher order thinking or authenticity of tasks. And, he said those tests do nothing for student engagement over time.

“There’s some data from the student gallop poll which shows that about 75 percent of fifth graders report being engaged in school, and by 11th grade it’s down to about 32 percent,” he said. “So the longer students are in school, the less engaged they feel and testing certainly does not help with that.”

The Grawemeyer Award from U of L comes with a $100,000 prize. The university has also announced awards for music composition, world order and psychology. The award for religion will be announced Friday.

Too many Kentucky students not prepared for life after graduation, Ed. Commissioner says Tuesday, Dec 3 2019 

While Kentucky schools have improved their graduation rates, Dr. Wayne Lewis said more work needs to be done to prepare students for what comes next.


New Shelby Co. Marnel C. Moorman School ready to open on Dec. 9 Wednesday, Nov 27 2019 

The Moorman School was created in response to the ever-growing number of students in the county


JCPS Expands Restorative Practices Training To Help Students Cope With Trauma Monday, Nov 25 2019 

Engelhard Elementary, which enrolled in restorative practices training three years ago per JCPS Spoksperson Toni Konz-TatmanIn an effort to help Jefferson County Public School students work through traumatic events, the school district is expanding its training program to better equip faculty and staff. The techniques, called “restorative practices,” will provide new tools to address student trauma, which can be associated with health and behavioral issues in the classroom.

Restorative practices is a social science that studies how to strengthen relationships. Educators across the country have used it as a system to train all adults in a school, from teachers to bus drivers, on conflict resolution, peer mediation and other methods in order to punish fewer students and improve their behavior. JCPS is already using restorative practices at some of its schools; in 2016, the Jefferson County Board of Education approved around $3 million to train and support schools that implemented a new behavior model that included restorative practices. The staff at 29 JCPS schools have undergone the training to date. 

JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio said many students are reporting trauma and adverse childhood experiences, but training school faculty and staff in restorative practices could help students build relationships, cope with their trauma and resolve conflicts.

“We not only have to teach [students] those academic skills, but also those social and emotional learning skills to help them deal with a lot of the situations that they might have to deal with outside,” Pollio said. “We’re excited and proud and happy to see this continue on in our schools.”

Engelhard Elementary students demonstrating a restorative practices circle with Fifth Grade Teacher Blake Graham in front of their principal Ryan McCoyKyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

Engelhard Elementary students demonstrating a restorative practices circle with Fifth Grade Teacher Blake Graham in front of their principal Ryan McCoy

JCPS spokesperson Toni Konz-Tatman said the district plans to train the faculty and staff at 20 more schools next summer. Those schools would be selected by school administrators, assistant superintendents and resource teachers from the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) behavior team. MTSS is a JCPS department focused on improving academics and behavior in the system, and resource teachers from the behavior team would train schools on restorative practices.

Twenty or more schools would be trained each summer, within six years, until all 169 schools in the district are trained to use restorative practices. Pollio said so far, the JCPS schools where staff have been trained in the techniques have shown positive results, as captured by a 2017-2018 report. That report noted that the number of behavior incidents decreased in many restorative practice schools when compared to the rest of the district, and restorative practice schools reported lower declines in student attendance rates compared to higher rates among other district schools.

CLOUT Co-President Reginald BarnesKyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

CLOUT Co-President Reginald Barnes

Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together Co-President Reginald Barnes said his faith-based organization has been pushing for the expansion of JCPS’ restorative practices training since 2009. Barnes said restorative practices could improve the city by reducing the school-to-prison pipeline, and he expects other Kentucky schools will implement the program, too.

“We’ve had several cities come to Louisville to see how it works,” Barnes said. “We start with JCPS and we can see how it can just flourish into other cities, and perhaps even other districts, in the state of Kentucky.”

JCPS internet access restored after outage Wednesday, Nov 20 2019 

All services for JCPS including school application and registration webpages are accessible again.


Internet Restored At Kentucky Schools After 6-Hour Statewide Outage Wednesday, Nov 20 2019 

The internet has been restored at all 172 of Kentucky’s school districts and the state Department of Education headquarters in Frankfort after a statewide outage.

At 11:50 a.m., the Kentucky Department of Education released a statement saying the outage has been resolve and internet service has been restored.

Service was interrupted across the state at about 6:00 a.m. Wednesday.

Earlier, KDE spokesperson Jessica Fletcher said the department was working to try and resolve the problem with its internet provider, AT&T.

“Apparently the problem is actually at an AT&T hub in Georgia. So they’re working to fix the hub or to switch it over to a working one,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher said the department is working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, but didn’t have an estimate for when it would be fixed.


This story has been updated.

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