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JCPS Board Approves Restaffing of Myers Middle School

The Jefferson County Board of Education on Monday unanimously approved the restaffing of the faculty at Myers Middle School.Myers Middle was among the district's lowest-performing schools in thelatest round of state testing, ranking in the first percentile of Kentucky middle schools. The state considers Myers a low-performing "priority" school, and the school's current transformation model has not shown the success school leaders were looking for, district officials said.Dewey Hensley, chief academic officer at JCPS, said restaffing a school can provide a “fresh start.”“The principal will have the opportunity to redefine what the school is all about,” Hensley said.As many as half of the faculty can be reassigned; any teacher wishing to remain at Myers will need to reapply.Myers Middle Principal Jack Baldwin said the idea of the restaffing model is not to get bad teachers out, but to find teachers that fit the needs of the school.“Myers has good teachers, Myers has teachers I would be proud to be teaching a child of mine,” he said.  “The level of challenge that Myers has takes a special breed.”Baldwin said he'd expect the school’s overall performance score to increase to 41.8—from the 32.3 in the latest round ‚—once restaffing is complete.Hensley said Myers is a challenging school and creates an environment in which some teachers cannot succeed.“All turnaround schools, all priority schools have, to some degree, unique challenges,” he said.  “It’s not a matter of teacher quality, sometimes it is a matter teacher fit.”A committee including education officials, parents and staff will be formed to develop criteria which will outline the ideal faculty population.Baldwin said the amount of available quality teachers is promising.“The talent pool out there looks pretty good,” he said.  “I’m confident that we can find, for the vacancies we will have, some talented and enthusiastic people that are just the right fit.” Restaffing is one of four improvement models available to schools wishing to increase academic performance to levels that qualify for a federal grant program. 

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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