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Kentucky 2010 Development Grant Abstract


Jefferson County Board of Education DBA Jefferson County Public Schools

PR Award Number:


Project Title:

Making Time for What Matters Most

Project Director:

Pamela Royster

Amount of Award:


Length of Award:

4 years

Absolute Priority:

AP4: Persistently Low-Performing Schools

List of Partners (with states for each):

There are no partners.

Project Website:


Description of Project:

Making Time for What Matters Most will demonstrate the power of a coherent, targeted strategy to turn around six persistently low-performing high schools in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) in Louisville, Kentucky, in the context of a trimester schedule that will drive academic acceleration, promote social and emotional well-being, and advance teacher professional growth.

Many innovative reforms in large urban systems have failed to reach their potential because they were done incompletely or in isolation. Making Time for What Matters Most derives power through the synergy of three strategies that address student needs while reaching deeply and sustainably into the operations and culture of schools and district:

  • Academic acceleration: Struggling students have 30 percent more learning time to catch up with their peers, including increased time for in-depth study and increased opportunities for electives and advanced study. The goal is successful completion of all core courses in 1 year or less.
  • Personalized student support: All students have 55 minutes each week of College Access Timefor regular, small-group meetings that support a strong relationship with an adult who is, from the student's perspective, "on my case and on my side"; affiliation with peers who have similar interests and career focus; and adult support for encouragement, course selection, habits and persistence for college readiness. The goal is to increase student engagement in school and promote college readiness.
  • Teacher professional growth: Teachers have 120 minutes of increased time for collaboration and reflection within disciplines about teaching and learning, collaboration across disciplines about students and time for work with content experts. The program draws on international models of the highest-performing countries to develop professional learning communities.The goal is to improve teachers' pedagogical and student support practices to maximize the effectiveness of increased learning time.

The super ordinate goals of the project are to improve overall student achievement, narrow achievement gaps, strengthen students' college readiness skills, and increase the percentage of students who graduate and the percentage who go on to college.

While the i3 grant targets six high schools, the strategies and lessons learned will be immediately replicable and scalable to the school district's other high schools. In addition, at the end of the grant period, Education Northwest will collaborate with JCPS to produce a user guide to effective use of increased learning time. The guide will describe lessons learned about the affordances and challenges in the processes of continuous improvement.

Description of Evaluation:

A mixed-methods approach will integrate measurement of structure, process and outcomes. The process evaluation examines fidelity, adaptations or deviations from planned implementation; interim student outcomes related to contextual, student and implementation characteristics; and relationship of changes in teacher relationships to interim student outcomes. The outcome evaluation examines effectiveness of intervention components in raising achievement and narrowing achievement gaps. Research questions address average effects on key intermediate and long-term school outcomes relative to comparison schools and students; differential outcomes experienced by students in the target schools; the relationship of discrepancies to contextual, student and implementation characteristics and activities; and whether a best practice model can be identified that is scalable to other settings.

Project Evaluator:

Carol Nixon


Edvantia, Inc.

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Last Modified: 05/01/2012