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The road to proficiency in our school systems across the nation is a long one. There are many curves and a few potholes.
Once in a while, you find a straight stretch when you can punch the accelerator and see some progress.
In the case of the Bullitt County Public School System, the progress has been steady with some gains.
Last week, the school system received information on the federal No Child Left Behind act. This is something that few districts will meet in the years to come.
Bullitt County schools are making progress. Several schools met all their targeted goals this year that had not met them previously.
Others, narrowly missed meeting their goals.
The district received information that based on other school systems, it continued to make progress up the ladder. Getting close to 100 is a lot better than in previous years.
The question is how does the school system move forward?
That is a difficult question for any outsider. We are all great Monday morning quarterbacks.
Some people just don't like the school system -- whether it is a past experience or maybe the fact that a large part of their local tax dollars go to education.
Whatever the reason, many communities have difficulty supporting their school districts.
In Bullitt County, the building boom is probably over for awhile.
Several renovation projects will be winding down in the next year and the entire focus has been on education.
The ever-changing direction from the state is difficult. Finding a way to get the curriculum aligned has been troublesome.
Kentucky has gone from the KERA-supported independence for schools to select their path of curriculum to the current philosophy of making sure all the schools are teaching the same thing to each child at each grade level.
The schools have done an excellent job of data collection. Students are required to take several assessment tests annually. This helps teachers to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of each child.
The work is then to figure out what learning assistance each child requires.
The district continues to look for ways to push those students who need to spread their wings. Bullitt County has a large contingency of students at the Gatton Academy at Western Kentucky University, a growing number of students taking college credit course at Jefferson Community and Technical College and a new math and science academy.
Teachers and administrators are being asked to push themselves more than ever before. And students are also being asked to do more.
The most difficult part of the equitation may be getting more parental involvement.
Many homes either have two parents who work or are a single-parent household.
It is difficult to help your child with homework when they can't bring home a textbooks because the state is no longer providing any money for them.
And it is difficult because students are learning at a much higher level at a much earlier age.
To see continued improvement, there will be no magic wand that can be waved.
Instead, it will continue to take a lot of hard work. There won't be an influx of state money to raise the per pupil spending in Bullitt County, which is near the bottom.
Local taxpayers will continue to be the driving force behind more revenue.
The Central Office staff will have to continue to find the best practices both within and outside the district. Those ideas must be replicated for others..
And the community must continue to be involved with the schools.
Bullitt County has been a tremendous supporter of its schools. We don't expect that to change.
However, we won't see any miracles in terms of test scores or the No Child Left Behind act. The road will continue to be a long, winding one. Positive direction and continued hard work is the only way to complete this educational journey.