Knight Middle School continues to show progress in key areas, with strong leadership and a school culture dedicated to student learning, according to a state audit report made available last week.
The Kentucky Department of Education Two-Day Progress Monitoring Review looked at multiple reports and data, in-school observations and interviews to give the priority school feedback on improving student performance over the preceding two years. The report also outlined strategies to raise student achievement and improve conditions that support student learning.
“This independent assessment indicates that Knight is moving in the right direction,” Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens said. “It highlights the strong, supportive relationship between students and adults, and recognizes the school’s principal as a true instructional leader.”
“I am delighted with the affirmation on how our school climate allows for a focus on academics,” said Knight principal Cathy Gibbs. “Our climate for learning is clearly evident by our school’s reduction in suspensions – more than an 80 percent reduction in the last two years – while increasing proficiency in both math and reading.”
“Knight Middle is moving and improving every day,” she added. “We’re so proud of our students and staff, and look forward to continuing on this journey of improvement.”
The review team rated the school a 3 on a scale of 4 in four areas related to school leadership; mentoring and coaching programs; engaging families; and providing learning supports to meet the unique learning needs of its students.
“This report affirms the exceptional school culture at Knight Middle School that allows the focus to remain on teaching and learning,” said Assistant Superintendent Paige Hartstern, whose achievement area includes Knight. “This is a direct result of strong, committed leadership and a staff dedicated to meeting the needs of students.”
The report cited just two areas as improvement priorities – monitoring and adjusting curriculum, instruction and assessment in response to data; and implementing a formal process to promote collaborative, data-informed discussions about student learning.
The report also indicated the school had satisfactorily or partially addressed the four improvement priorities identified in the 2014-15 Internal School Review for Knight Middle. Those areas related to determining root causes for low parent involvement; refining strategies to consistently implement the schools’ instructional framework; developing a process to adjust curriculum, instruction and analysis of data from a variety of sources; and developing a process for monitoring instructional effectiveness.
“I’m extremely proud of Knight’s progress,” said Dr. Marco Munoz, director of Priority Schools. “It has great leadership, a school culture of learning and a positive behavior management system in place – all things to help lead it out of priority status.”
Schools in priority status are reviewed every two years by KDE. Knight received the shorter, two-day review which focused on the AdvancED Standard 3, Teaching and Assessing for Learning, because of its positive gains in recent years.