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Education - SCPS meets five-year goals of college and career readiness

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By The Staff

Spencer County is among 111 public school districts statewide that delivered on a pledge made five years ago to improve the college- and career-readiness of its high school graduates by 2015.

All of the state’s 169 P-12 superintendents and local board chairs signed the pledge – known as the Commonwealth Commitment to College and Career Readiness – in 2011. (In Kentucky, five public school districts do not have high schools). Each of the districts had a unique goal based on increasing its 2010 college- and career-readiness rate by 50 percent by 2015.

Spencer County had a goal for at least 59% (as mandated by the state) of our high school students to graduate college- and career-ready in 2015. In reality, 70.4% graduated ready as measured by the Unbridled Learning Accountability model.

Superintendent, Chuck Adams commented, “During the time since the pledge was signed in 2011, Spencer County Schools has become an academically elite district through the support of our community and Board of Education, as well as the commitment of our teaching and administrative staff. We have worked collaboratively to identify the barriers holding our kids back while committing time and resources to generate student interest at Spencer County High School by providing various avenues to traditional and nontraditional careers alike. The graduation rate of our college and career ready students has become a source of pride for Spencer County High School and multiple courses and career pathways recently added, an incentive to the generation of students that follow.”

Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt recognized Spencer County at the Kentucky School Boards Association conference in Louisville on February 27.

“As a result of the commitment being met, at least 15,000 more students statewide graduated in 2015 than did in 2010 ready for postsecondary opportunities,” he said. “This is tremendous, and puts the Commonwealth on the right track as we look to build on the accomplishments of the past 25 years and provide each and every child with a world-class education that will lead them to success in their postsecondary endeavors, in the job market and life.”

In 2010, only 34 percent of Kentucky’s high school students were considered ready for college and careers. That rate jumped to 66.8 percent in 2015, based on Unbridled Learning accountability results released last fall.

Districts across the state used many different strategies to help their students become college- and career-ready. In Spencer County, district and school administrators, teachers and the board of education recognize those students who reach ACT Benchmarks and are admitted to colleges. The “I GOT IN” program for seniors celebrates those seniors with a tee-shirt that says “I GOT IN” and they sign the I Got In banner that hangs in the school hallway. The district and high school have maintained the College Coach position as well as the RTT College Counselor who work with students on college admission and finances. Time has been provided in the school schedule for senior students who have not met benchmark to work on a program that helps them better their ACT scores and prepare for the COMPASS and KYOTE exams. The high school has increased the number of CTE pathways for students to become career ready. A conscience effort is used while scheduling to ensure that students are in a career pathway. Several ACT bootcamps are offered after school and on Saturdays to help prepare students for the ACT. A week of “KOSSA” cram is held prior to the KOSSA exams.

Debbie Herndon, Board Chair, “I am very excited about what we have accomplished thus far with our college & career readiness and hopeful of greater advancements if our funding holds out.”

The Commonwealth Commitment was tied to the passage of Senate Bill 1 (2009), which required that P-12 and postsecondary education leaders produce a plan to reduce the number of high school graduates needing remediation when they enter college by 50 percent – effectively saving students from paying tuition for remedial courses for which they do not earn college credit and increasing the likelihood they will persist in college and graduate with a degree.