JCPS superintendent reflects on year of progress and challenges, shares vision for future

Pollio reflects on first year at helm of JCPS

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It’s been a year of challenges and progress for Jefferson County Public Schools.

Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio is taking a look back at his first year at the helm of the state’s largest school district and giving us his vision of what’s to come.

Pollio said the changes he’s proud of the most are the ones that impact students on a daily basis, but he said much more needs still needs to be done to get the district where he and the state expect it to be.

“We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us,” Pollio said. “But there’s no doubt it brings me a sense of pride to know where we’ve come in such a short period of time.”

Those accomplishments include developing a district wide policy to address racial inequality, implementing the Backpack of Success Skills, and adding more mental health support to all schools.

The district has also grown the number of student work opportunities through their Academies of Louisville program. They also opened two new specialty schools -- the W.E.B. DuBois Academy and the ESL Newcomer Academy.

The threat of a state takeover, ultimately resolved in a settlement, meant immediate adjustments for the district to meet the Kentucky Department of Education’s expectations.

“It’s challenging work, no doubt about it, because several of the areas of deficiencies that were identified for us are once again things in ways that things have been done in JCPS for a long time,” Pollio said.

The long-standing student assignment plan needs to be revised for the 2021 school year. Pollio said his team is working daily with the Department of Education.

“If Kentucky is going to be successful, then the district that has one-seventh of the students in the state has to be successful as well,” Pollio said.

There are some major decisions coming up.

The school board will vote in March on an in-house security force. They also have to consider a proposal to get students out of decaying buildings.

”The time is now to act,” Pollio said. “We cannot wait anymore.”

In three to five years from now, Pollio said he envisions the district filled with top notch facilities, offering wraparound services and equal opportunities to students.

“I believe we can get there,” he said. “I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think we could. And I believe we will have other cities visiting us to see what we are doing so they can replicate that. And we won’t rest until we get there.”

On Wednesday, Feb. 27, Pollio is holding a State of the District Address from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Olmsted on Frankfort Avenue.

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