Friday, August 11, 2000

Schools OK reform plan

By Lori Hayes
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — The Covington school board Thursday night signed off on the district's action plan to improve instruction, management and operations.

        At a special meeting, the board voted to accept the district's response to a scathing state review.

        The plan includes a long list of new polices and changes, such as more teacher training, heightened administrative oversight and a new districtwide curriculum.

        The Kentucky Department

        of Education conducted academic and management audits this spring that criticized the district's instruction, budget and staff training, outlining a myriad of recommended changes. In recent years, some Covington schools have turned in some of the lowest scores in the state on standardized and performance-based tests.

        The district's response to the audits is due Aug. 15.

        Board members said they were impressed with the administration's efforts in responding to the audit so quickly. Some, however, asked for more specifics in how and when some of the tasks would be completed.

        “In order to be accountable, we've got to know who's doing it and when it will be done,” board member Jim Vogt said.

        Interim Superintendent Jack Moreland said the plan is a working document, and the district is prepared to adjust it as needed. State officials have said they will respond to the district within a week with any comments on Covington's plans.

        Then, Mr. Moreland said he will bring a final action plan back to the school board in October with more details about implementation.

        Board Chairman Hensley Jemmott said he looks forward to the coming changes, which he hopes will benefit the students the most.

        “I'm very pleased we've been able to have the Kentucky Department of Education here working with us,” he said. “I'm pleased the staff is rising to the call for professionalism to improve the curriculum and to improve equity and diversity.

        “We're not threatened by the audit. This is assistance, and we are welcoming it.”


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