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Covington Schools Superintendent Gets 4-Year Contract Extension

Alvin Garrison will spend at least another four years, if he wants, as superintendent of Covington Independent Public Schools.

The Covington Board of Education voted unanimously on Thursday evening to grant a 4-year contract extension at an annual salary of $140,000.

"We're going to continue to work hard for you and take care of our kids and families and our staff," Garrison said after the vote.

Hired in 2013, Garrison vowed to raise student achievement in the district that consistently ranks near the bottom in state test scores. Some high-profile achievements since Garrison took over is Glenn O. Swing Elementary's ranking as the top elementary school in Kenton County and one of the highest ranked in the state. Other schools in the district have also showed modest gains.

But the district also faces difficulties typical of some urban schools, including teacher retention. That issue was brought up Thursday, too. The district is planning to send teams from each school in the district to a "model school" conference in Nashville, with the idea of bringing back ideas to help improve student achievement and the school environment.

When he was first hired, Garrison vowed to make Covington the best urban school district in the country. After nearly four years at the helm, Garrison sees improvements and opportunities for more gains. "We had the capacity to reach our goals. We have strong leadership from the board, great students, great families, and a great staff and teachers," he said. "We have the ingredients in place, we just have to start getting everything coordinated and all arrows moving in the same direction."

Soon, there may be a new worry for Covington and other districts as charter schools are expected to become legal in Kentucky if a bill is passed by the General Assembly, which is meeting now, and signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin. Garrison said that the district is monitoring that.
 
"We are still learning about charters," he said. "Until we see what the bill looks like, it's really hard to prepare because we're not sure which legislation it is, or what it's going to look like.
 
"We're trying to impress upon our students and families that we are the best thing for them. Our district is where it's at, and we have what they need."
 
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher
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