JCPS will give each student a digital 'backpack' to help them succeed

JCPS will give each student a digital 'backpack' to help them succeed
Students will use their portfolios to defend their readiness as they move from school to school. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A new plan aimed to help Jefferson County Public School students succeed was presented at Tuesday's school board meeting.

For the last 10 months, school leaders have been working to develop the "Backpack of Success Skills."

It's a virtual space to store each student's school work collected from kindergarten through 12th grade.

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The initiative pairs academic achievement with personal development. Students will be able to choose the work that best represents what they've learned and how they've developed academically, including creative assignments.

"For students to have good artifacts and evidence for their backpacks they've got to have great experiences," Chief Academic Officer Dr. Carmen Coleman said. "Worksheets are not going to be good evidence."

While Dr. Coleman said there's still a place for worksheets in the classroom, she said the idea here is to broaden the district's definition of success.

"Teachers get information not only on the proficiency of a student, but how much that student is growing," Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said.

Students will use their portfolios to defend their readiness when it comes time to transfer from elementary to middle school and middle to high school.

Teachers will check each student's progress three times throughout the school year. Dr. Pollio said they'll be expected to provide interventions to get students where they need to be.

The goal isn't to hold students back, but provide extra help to those who need it.

"The ownership for this is on the student, but as schools we have to do our part," Dr. Coleman said. "That's going to mean change for some and we know that's tough but I believe we will get there."

The digital backpack won't replace report cards.

School principles went through a day long training session last week. Teachers will also be trained before school starts in the fall.

"We know it won't be perfect right off the bat, it's going to be a growth process" Dr. Pollio said. "But this is not a short term initiative for us. We expect this to be a foundational piece for us that we will continue to work on year after year."

Kids entering kindergarten this year will be the first class to have a full k-12 digital portfolio when they graduate.

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