A breakdown of Kentucky’s new school ratings


JCPS Headquarters the day of the rally. Photo by Phoebe Monseur.

Reece Gunther

Kentucky recently released their list of Kentucky schools needing improvement using a two-level scale that includes Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) and Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI). TSI schools need to make minor, focused improvements while CSI schools need to make major, turnaround-like changes to be successful.

TSI schools are in the bottom 10 percent of schools in the state while CSI schools are in the bottom five percent. Kentucky identified three high schools as CSI schools, requiring “a significant shift” in order to turn the school around.

Western, Academy @ Shawnee and Iroquois were all identified as CSI high schools.

Waggener and Valley, both of which recently celebrated their exit from priority school status, are now on the CSI list again. Here’s the process for TSI and CSI identification and improvement:

The new system overhauls the state’s previous measure of success, priority schools, usually determined solely through K-PREP scores for elementary and middle school students and ACT and AP scores for high school students.

Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio appears to be supportive of the plan while also suggesting that his goal is to eventually improve all JCPS schools enough to where they no longer meet the criteria for CSI and TSI.

For high schools, the state will take ACT scores, graduation rates and transition readiness into account when determining which schools qualify to become TSI and CSI schools. Transition readiness could mean anything from AP test scores to a dedicated career pathway depending on the school.

Manual’s lack of direct career pathways that would give students certification in specific industries forces the school to rely on AP and ACT test scores.

Unlike Manual, nearly half of JCPS schools are identified as either TSI or CSI. Only 37 percent of schools statewide are identified in these categories.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis believes that the new system will be more beneficial to previously underrepresented groups in schools, including blacks and students with disabilities.

With the new system, the state will also begin to monitor students by race and ethnicity with a special focus on special needs students and students from low income households.

Manual serves as an outline of an ideal school to many of the other JCPS schools identified as CSI or TSI, regardless of level. Manual’s AP pass rate was just above 80 percent, which is high above both the district and state average.

Kentucky’s Board of Education will monitor schools throughout the year and release a modified list of CSI and TSI schools periodically.