The Kentucky Department of Education School Report Card shows that state schools earned an overall ranking of three stars out of a possible five. Schools in 173 districts were rated on multiple assessments, including proficiency in math and reading, readiness for a career or college, graduation rates and achievement gaps.
Bowling Green city schools are on par with the statewide average, but one issue facing the district is an achievement gap that arises from its large number of students who speak English as a second language.
Bowling Green Independent Schools have students who speak a total of 49 different languages. Superintendent Gary Fields said the district celebrates diversity, but that wide range of languages needs the most attention for students in 6th to 8thgrades.
"The junior high would have had a score high enough for a four-star, but we still have an achievement gap with our African-American students," said Fields. "But I will say that last year the junior high actually had achievement gaps, in addition to African-American students, with Hispanic students, English language learners, as well as students with disabilities.”
Fields said staff efforts and special programs reduced those other three gaps, but the gap in achievement of African-American students has to take into consideration that the junior high currently has 190 students whose native language is Swahili, as well as 50 students from Somalia.
Other districts that earned an overall three-star rating include Warren and Daviess counties. In Pulaski County the middle schools earned a three-star rating while the elementary and high schools earned four stars.
McLean County Schools
The small McLean County School District, which has 1,450 students, rated above the state average for elementary and middle schools, with four-star ratings.
One elementary school earned a five-star rating -Marie Gatton Phillips Elementary in Sacramento. Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Jodie Brackett said the school has 117 students in kindergarten through 5thgrade.
“The teachers and staff there are very intentional about the rigor and the state standards and following it. I think the things they’re doing in that school can be done in any school," said Brackett. "It has the same make-up of free and reduced students and things as our other schools, so there’s not an economic advantage or anything there. It fits right in to our rural community.”
McLean County High school got a three-star rating, in line with the state average.
Owensboro Public Schools have elementary and middle schools on par with the state average, but the high school has an achievement gap based on multiple factors.
Owensboro Public Schools
Owensboro Public Schools Chief Academic Officer Matthew Constant said he applauds the multiple rating measures used in the state’s School Report Card. But he said it’s important to look at the extensive information for each school.
“We have just about every gap population in our jurisdiction," said Constant. "We have English language learners, multiracial, socioeconomic and we have special education students."
He said those multiple “gap populations” contribute to Owensboro High School earning a two-star rating, and the district is continuing to explore ways to address the needs of the diverse student body.
Constant pointed to a bright spot in the Owensboro High School rating - one of best transition rate it’s had in quite a while. That means the high school is doing a good job of preparing students for college or a career. The high school has programs that allow students to earn college credit, take part in internships and start on career pathways in subject such as computer science, biomedicine and engineering
Click here for a link to the "School Report Card" that includes every one of the 1,478 schools in Kentucky.