Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Persistently Low-Achieving Knight Middle school recommended for principal, SBDM change

Superintendent Sheldon Berman clueless

The latest audit of a Persistently Low-Achieving School is out. This time the Knight Middle School from Jefferson County is in the spotlight, and the glare is pretty harsh. A few comments from the Audit:

• “The principal and school council have not demonstrated leadership that provides guidance and engages stakeholders within the school to meet challenges of struggling students in reading and math that address goals of No Child Left Behind.”

• “The principal has not ensured that teachers deliver student centered, rigorous, and differentiated instruction that meets the learning needs of all students.”

• “The principal has not fostered a culture of mutual respect between all staff members and students.”
(My added comment: this is a guaranteed recipe for student failure. It fosters student violence and staff apathy)

• “The principal and school council have not established an organizational structure that promotes high student achievement and staff performance.”

• “The principal has not held all staff members accountable for their roles in improving student academic and behavioral performances to sustain continuous improvement.”

• “The principal has not engaged all stakeholders in decision making to develop a common ownership in the success of all students.”

As recently happened with the audit for Newport High School in Newport Kentucky the audit team is recommending that both the school’s principal and School Based Decision Making (SBDM) authority at the school need to be transferred. Given the comments above, the auditors really had no other choice.

Now, here’s the really sad part. Jefferson County Schools superintendent Sheldon Berman told the Courier-Journal:

“I was surprised at the deficiencies in how negative the audit was about leadership.”

Surprised? How can that possibly be?

Clearly, either the audit is totally fouled up, or Berman has not been paying attention.

Berman, of course, is on the way out. If the Jefferson County Board of Education wants to do the right thing in hiring his replacement, they need to spend some time looking over the audits for their Low-Achieving Schools. In fact, the board might want to invite members of the audit team to brief on what good schools look like. That way, the board can ask intelligent questions of the new superintendent applicants to see if those applicants know what a good school really looks like and how to not be surprised when a school isn’t measuring up.

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