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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Why We Chose the Jefferson County Schools

A checklist of essential qualities for schools and school districts profiled in Edutopia's Schools That Work series.
By Edutopia Staff

Our Schools That Work series explores what goes on at some of the most innovative, successful schools around the country. These range from schools with long-standing records of high performance to turnaround schools now on the road to substantially higher achievement. We visit each school to take a close-up look at its best practices and the specific challenges it faces, then we assemble a package of stories and hands-on tools that you can use to replicate some of the school's successes.

Before we choose a school, we give it a hard look to make sure it delivers the kind of creative, effective, replicable practices that Edutopia can stand behind. Here's a quick look at our standards and the strengths we saw in the Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky. These ratings are based on the three schools in the district that we have spotlighted: Breckinridge/Franklin Elementary, Carrithers Middle, and Olmsted Academy North for boys.

Minimal Moderate Strong
  Cohesive school culture with high expectations x
  Focus on 21st-century skills and themes x
  Use of project learning and integrated studies x
  Availability and meaningful use of technology x
  High student achievement x
  High student engagement x
  High or improving scores on standard measures x
  Use of authentic assessment with real-world application x
  Emphasis on inquiry and student-directed,
  rather than only teacher-directed, learning
x
  Collaborative planning among teachers x
  Personalized instruction and regular use of assessment
  to shape teaching and learning
x
  Close, trusting relationships between staff and students x
  Empowerment of teachers to help lead school improvement x
  Relevant, ongoing, job-embedded teacher training x
  Meaningful involvement of parents and community members x
  Track record of sustained success for at least two years x
  Eagerness among staff to share best practices and help
  other schools replicate their success
x



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