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Covington School Board Approves Turnaround Plan for Holmes Middle

The Covington Board of Education voted to approved a turnaround plan for Holmes Middle School.

The school was classified by the Kentucky Department of Education as a "comprehensive support and improvement" school, or CSI. Its test scores were among the lowest in the state.

The turnaround plan, adopted by the board on Thursday, was developed in response to that classification.

Covington Assistant Superintendent Charlene Ball explained the plan, since Holmes Middle School principal Jeanetta Kathman was ill. She said the school district will go with a program at Jim Shipley Institute, which will be a 3-year program to improve the school's performance.

Various programs will also be instituted within the school as a mandatory school plan designed to improve student learning, and to perform with evidence-based interventions.

The program will be reviewed for approval by Superintendent Alvin Garrison and the board of education and shall be subject to review, approval, and monitoring by the department of education.

"They told us we have a skeleton that works well, but we have to add meat to it," said Ball. "One of the improvement priorities is to improve the way we collect and analyze data. But they are leaving the design of the program to us."

She said the team will design a clear learning program, then assess, and then go forward with the program again. Ball told the board that the state team was not definitive in any suggestions about how to move forward.

District Assessment Coordinator Bill Grein commented that he was glad the team left the design to the district without telling it what to do.

The board liked the plan, and voted to approve it. The board also voted to approve the application process for a School Improvement Fund grant.

The board approved a salary schedule with recommended changes. One is a 3 percent raise for certified personnel, and a 2 percent raise for classified personnel. Board member Glenda Huff was satisfied when she was told they would revisit the classified percentage later to see if the district could afford to do a 3 percent raise for both classified and certified. However, when the board voted, member April Brockhoff voted no.

The Kings program, which is designed for male students in the 9th grade is an academic and social week-long program from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It was approved for a cost of $10,000 by the board.

The program has five main principles: expect greatness, seize opportunities, carpe diem, give back, and no excuses. Brockhoff also opposed this because, she said, the board needed more information.

Superintendent Alvin Garrison said the district has been looking at instituting a central enrollment, because currently there is some confusion about siblings and guardians within the enrollment process at so many different schools. Garrison said other districts have gone to central enrollment, and it seems to be working well. If the district would go to central enrollment for all elementary schools, the middle school, and the high school, students would then be able to go to the school they opted to enroll in for their schedules.

Garrison believes it would cut down on the confusion, making the information they receive more reliable, especially as it is related to siblings, and allow the schools to have more accurate data on the students they have. This is one of the priorities that the state team specified.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor