A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

State diagnostic audits confirm the progress: Newport schools on path to improvement

Diagnostic Audits performed by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) show that the Newport Independent Schools are on a path to making key improvements at each of its three school buildings.
“By their very nature, audits are designed to show a school district what it is doing well and what it can do better,” said Newport Independent Schools Superintendent Kelly Middleton. “By that measure, we are largely pleased with what the audits show. We have issues that we are already addressing and making progress on. There is always room for improvement, and we are focused on making positive changes that will positively impact our students, teachers, administrators and staff.”

Supt. Kelly Middleton

Middleton pointed out that new principals have recently been hired for all three of the district’s schools – Newport High School, Newport Intermediate School and Newport Primary School – and that the new leaders are diligently working with administrators on making key improvements and changes.
“Each of our new principals is effectively leading their school improvement process,” he said.
The purpose of the diagnostic audits is to help identify areas of improvement and recommend steps schools may take to improve student achievement, said Newport schools Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer, Amy Gilkison.
“Newport began revising school improvement strategies at the beginning of this school year,” Gilkison said. “Through collaboration, school and district leaders set new expectations and improved processes and procedures regarding their school improvement strategies.”
District improvements already made include setting expectations for instruction that should occur in all classes; developing a Lesson Design Form to streamline curriculum work; revising Professional Learning Community protocol; increased professional development on school improvement strategies; and increasing teacher pay to reduce turnover.
Moving forward, administrators and teachers will develop, implement and monitor turnaround plans in each school that will focus on areas to improve. Those areas identified previously by the schools include:

• Increasing the understanding and intent of all content standards and ensuring alignment to instruction and assessments;
• Implementing a balanced assessment system to inform instructional adjustments and curricular changes;
• Intentionally selecting instructional strategies that engage the students while also meeting the intent of the standards and the instructional needs of the students.

“Work in each school will continue to focus on their problems of practice along with other areas for improvement identified in the audit reports,” Gilkison said. “The turnaround plans will embed strategies and activities related to the problems of practice along with the improvement priorities.”

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