Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia

News of the Region

Kentucky

Change in Leadership Recommended
April 9, 2019 – “Jefferson County Public Schools should consider changing leadership at two of its lowest performing schools, according to a recommendation from the state. The Kentucky Department of Education notified JCPS on Monday that the principals of Shelby Traditional Academy and Johnsontown Road Elementary did not have the skill to lead their schools to improved student achievement.”

Governor Vetoes Pension Bill
April 9, 2019 – A bill that would have provided financial relief to universities and other agencies that face increases in the amount they pay into the state pension system has been vetoed. Governor Matt Bevin indicates he’ll call a special legislative session to address the issue before July 1.

New KEA President
April 9, 2019 – Members of the Kentucky Education Association have elected former vice president Eddie Campbell to serve as the organization’s new president. His priorities will include raising the voice of educators, fully funding public education, and ensuring that students have the highest quality education possible.  Campbell replaces current president Stephanie Winkler. 

JCPS Appoints Special Education Chief
April 9, 2019 – For the first time, Jefferson County Public Schools has a special education chief. This comes as part of the fulfillment of a key portion of the district’s corrective action plan. The position will be filled by Kim Chevalier, an assistant superintendent with Walton-Verona Independent Schools, beginning May 6.

Tennessee

Commissioner Believes State in Better Position with Testing
April 10, 2019 – Although difficulties with online testing have occurred the past three years, the new commissioner believes the process is stronger this year. She has established a “control room” for the heaviest days of testing, and two other companies will triple-check the work of the testing company (Questar).  By the end of the month, about 700,000 online exams should be completed.

Senate Advances ESA Plan, But With Changes
April 10, 2019 – “Gov. Bill Lee's proposal to bring education savings accounts to Tennessee cleared two legislative hurdles Wednesday, but not before the Senate made significant changes to its version of the controversial legislation. The latest amendment, introduced by Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Sen. Dolores Gresham, would permit up to 30,000 students in the six lowest-performing districts and the Achievement School District to use the program to attend private schools or cover other education expenses.”

MNPS Director Terminated
April 9, 2019 – MNPS Community Superintendent Adrienne Battle will serve as interim director of Metro Nashville Public Schools following the Metro Nashville School Board’s 5 to 3 vote to terminate Director Shawn Joseph’s contract effective April 12. Joseph announced last month that he would voluntarily not seek renewal of his contract.

Voucher Bill Draws Protest
April 9, 2019 – Teachers in the state are speaking out against a proposed voucher bill that would “expand the amount of taxpayer dollars that can be used to pray for private schools and other expenses.”

Legislation Calls for Online Testing Hiatus
April 4, 2019 – A bill approved by a House education subcommittee would provide for a one-year hiatus from online testing before returning to online exams for older students in 2020-21. Plans to test high school students online this month would not be affected. The bill goes next to the chamber’s full committee.

Virginia

Student Hunger/Homelessness an Issue
April 10, 2019 – “As research shows many students are choosing tuition and books over meals, Virginia community colleges are making student hunger and homelessness a priority. The Government Accountability Office says 9-50% of college students are food insecure, but community colleges are the hardest hit.”

State Official Wants to Move Away from Standardized Tests
April 10, 2019 – During a visit to Stafford County Schools, Virginia’s Secretary of Education talked about his desire to move away from the standardized testing model and a need for students to focus on deeper learning. He noted he would like to see project-based assessments supplement and even replace standardized tests.

West Virginia

Education Forums Completed
April 11, 2019 – More than 1,600 people attended the education forums that were held around the state to gather input on what would be valuable in an education reform initiative. Officials will compile information gathered from the forums and an online survey that was conducted. Results will be released in May and are intended to help guide lawmakers’ decision-making during an upcoming special legislative session on education. 

Preliminary Findings Point to Lack of Time and Flexibility
April 10, 2019 – Preliminary results of the West Virginia Educator Voice survey reveal a common them among educators—more time and flexibility needed to help improve student achievement. Teachers indicate little time for collaborative planning with other teachers, and little flexibility at the school level.

Stakeholders Share Concerns During Forum
April 9, 2019 – During a recent education stakeholder forum, those attending had the opportunity to respond regarding what might be most beneficial to improving school systems and increasing student achievement.  Among the responses were training for service personnel, better access to technology, vocational classes for underclassmen, and smaller class sizes.