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Board reviews K-PREP assessment changes, discusses community-centered approach

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 — The Nelson County Board of Education reviewed the changes in state assessments and testing put in place earlier this year, and how the assessments will change in the future.

School board member Diane Berry makes a point during a discussion at Thursday evening’s board work session.

Chase Goff, the district’s director of student leadership and learning, reviewed the assessment measures that changed from last year for this year’s assessments, and what that means for the district’s schools.

Goff said it is important to realize that students in the district are much more than just a test score. The district’s vision for moving to a community-centered school model means that test scores are only one component of the education process.

“Our vision goes far beyond K-PREP or ACT assessments,” he said.

The changes in the 2017-18 assessments mean the scores can’t be compared to earlier years.

In previous years, high school assessments depended on end-of-course assessments in English, history, biology and math. In 2017-18, the reading, math and science scores came from the ACT test, and there was no social studies assessment.

Superintendent Wes Bradley said that school districts doing good work aren’t focusing on the minutia of the test scores, but doing even better work and doing what’s best for the district’s children.

He noted that state assessments have labeled some schools based on the assessments of a small sample size of students in the school, and creating some ethical issues in the view of some educators.

“You’re talking about small groups of children. When you’re talking about a sample size of 10 kids, and they create a label for a school, then you’re getting into ethical breaches,” he said. “It really focuses a school on things that we would all believe, as educators, are the wrong things.”

The district’s focus is on increasing educational opportunities and access on all kids,” Bradley explained.

2019-2020 CALENDAR. The board reviewed the recommendations from the district’s calendar committee for a final proposal for a 2019-2020 district school calendar.

School board chairman Damon Jackey responds during a discussion during Thursday’s school board work session at Central Office.

Jessica Sekulski, the district’s director of pupil personnel, explained the committee’s rationale for its recommendation, which included input from school principals. The calendar doesn’t have a specific day set aside for parent-teacher conferences, but the calendar gives teachers and principals flexibility they want.

HAZARDOUS DUTY RETIREMENT. The one action the school board approved at the working session was to approve hazardous duty retirement for the district’s School Resource Officer B.J. McCoy. The move was to correct an oversight as the board moved forward to establish itself as an approved and independent law enforcement agency.

Had they known the hazardous duty retirement was a requirement, it would have been approved earlier in the year, Superintendent Wes Bradley explained.

FAMILY RESOURCE CENTER ADDED. The district has received word that it was one of 25 districts in the state that will be allowed to create a fifth Family Resource Center to serve the district’s families and students.

As part of the the addition of a fifth FRYSC, the centers will be reconfigured as to the schools each serve. Instead of serving three schools, most will now serve two schools, Robin McCoy
the district’s director of community health and engagement told the board.

One center will serve New Haven and Thomas Nelson High School; another will serve the Early Learning Center and Boston School; the third will serve Foster Heights and Cox’s Creek; the fourth will serve Bloomfield Elementary and Middle schools; and the last will serve Nelson County High School, Old Kentucky Home Middle School at the Academy at Horizons, she said.

A fifth FRYSC coordinator will be hired as part of the expansion.

Work to add the additional center began more than a year ago, she explained.

DEEP LEARNING DISCUSSION. The board also took time to discuss community-centered curriculum from the perspective of a book titled “Deep Learning:Engage the World, Change the World.”

The book acknowledges that it is possible for students to do well on tests all the way through school, yet graduate without important life schools they need to flourish. The term “deep learning” refers to learning that sticks with you for the rest of your life and connects students to the real world. Deep learning is hands-on learning that applies to real life, according to the book’s authors.

The board and members of the Central Office staff discussed parts of the first chapter of the book at the end of the working session as they began working to define what a community-centered school district can look like.

NEXT UP. The Nelson County Board of Education will hold its regular meeting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.

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