Teachers at JCPS’ Accelerated Improvement schools training for turnaround

Byck Elementary prepares for year as Accelerated Improvement school
Byck is one of several JCPS institutions listed as an Accelerated Improvement school.
Byck is one of several JCPS institutions listed as an Accelerated Improvement school. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It’s less than a week from the start of classes for Kentucky’s largest school system and under the state’s new watch of accountability for JCPS, many schools are targeted for turnaround.

For many teachers and principals at Accelerated Improvement Schools, it means they have extra work to do.

They’re not just getting the school property and classrooms ready, but getting mentally prepared to get their students improving fast. At Byck Elementary, there’s new landscaping and work on a new secure entry is underway. But the most vital improvements are found in the heart of the school.

“This is home to me,” said Dr. Carla Kolodey, the Byck Principal who talks about the upcoming first day of school like she just won the lottery. “'I’m so excited for next week. I cannot wait to see the kids.”

Kolodey said her teachers have been putting in extra effort.

Dr. Carla Kolodey, the principal of Byck Elementary, couldn't contain her excitement for the first day of school.
Dr. Carla Kolodey, the principal of Byck Elementary, couldn't contain her excitement for the first day of school. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

“We have so many teachers that go the extra mile, you know as far as checking up on kids over the summer, going and doing home visits, a teacher came into the school just three weeks ago stopped by because she saw that I was here.”

Some teachers feel the same way when they see a child recognizing their success.

“It’s amazing,” first grade teacher Brittney Gee said.

Not everyone understands why Gee and other Byck staff chose to make the school their home. She remembered a conversation about it with a relative.

“'Why would you go down there?'” Gee recalled. “I said, ‘because this is where they need me.’”

First grade teacher Brittney Gee said the new plans help teachers form consistency leading into the school year.
First grade teacher Brittney Gee said the new plans help teachers form consistency leading into the school year. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

We found the teachers taking a quick moment together having fun trying the limbo. Something silly strengthens the Byck team during Gee says can be trying times.

“We do have difficult children,” Gee said of some students.

Teachers are working early this week, teaming up to share ideas and prepare for students who arrive behind their grade level expectancy. Many have experienced trauma or have tough home lives.

Among the improvements at Byck Elementary is work on a work on a new secure entry.
Among the improvements at Byck Elementary is work on a work on a new secure entry. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

“We’re here and we’re thinking ‘have you eaten? Do you have clean clothes today? Are the lights on at your house?’” Gee said.

Gee, who has six years of experience at Byck, brings insight to new teachers about the payoff.

“All of us get together and say ‘this is what consistency will look like and here this is what love will look like here.’”

Teachers cheering one another on, knowing if they fall just like their students, the support is there to keep going.

Accelerated Improvement Schools get additional support from district staff and assistant superintendents. JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio has said he expects to see significant improvements.

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