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Jefferson County Board of Education Votes to 'Repurpose' Myers Middle School

Myers Middle School is set for some major changes before the 2014-2015 school year begins.For starters, it will no longer be a middle school.What it will be, though, is still up for debate.  The Jefferson County School Board will hear proposals in June on how to "repurpose" the Myers building.  It could be an alternative school or a preschool, according to JCPS officials.The Jefferson County Board of Education on Monday approved the changes for Myers Middle.For now, focus will be on relocating nearly 800 students to other schools around the district.The estimated 200 incoming sixth graders will be placed in other middle schools.These students will instead attend The Academy at Shawnee, Carrithers, Highland, Meyzeek, Newburg, Noe, Ramsey, Thomas Jefferson, Western or Westport.You can find details of the proposalhere.These students transferring to one of these schools will be paired with a mentor to help provide support during their transition, said Bob Rodosky, JCPS director of data management, evaluation and planning.“We are going to ask central office people to be available to mentor,” he said.  “I hope it will develop into a one on one relationship.”The students that were set to head into seventh and eighth grade at Myers will now be moving to Waggener High School to finish out their middle school years.  Rodosky said these students will stay together and be separate from the Waggener High students.They will also be able to participate in all activities they had the opportunity to participate in while at Myers, he said.But despite this being seen as a move in the right direction for Myers—a school the state deemed  persistently low achieving, where merely 17 percent of all students score proficient in reading and math combined in 2013—some parents and students are not overly excited by the change.Tracy Ruth is a parent of a student that was set to be an  eighth-grader at Myers.  Now, instead of preparing to head to Waggener, they are hoping to be accepted into Carrithers Middle School.“I know they say they have options but we feel as though they’re not the right options for us,” Ruth said.  “It’s just sad that her eighth grade year we have to pick another school.”She said she feels like the last two years at Myers was an academic waste for her daughter.“I feel let down, I feel like they let her down,” she said.  “Some of her test scores don’t show a lot of progress, so we kind of spun our wheels the last two years.”JCPS officials have been working on turning around the achievement gaps at Myers for some time.  It has been the subject of several turnaround models, most recently restaffingand theremoval of the principal.School board member Debbie Wesslund said the poor performance should have been stopped "a while ago."Other school board members said they were still concerned a diagnoses has not yet been identified as to why Myers became such an underperforming school."Let's learn from this and keep improving," board member David Jones Jr. said.

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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