JCPS: A year in review

JCPS: A year in review
Updated: Dec. 14, 2016 at 7:07 PM EST
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. - LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Looking back at the year within the Jefferson County Public School System, it has been one with achievements for students and staff along with some district challenges.

The year kicked off with a nationwide trend that JCPS experienced too; school threats.

In September, several schools received clown-related threats including Farnsley, Highland and Crosby middle schools and Western, Butler, Valley and Manual High Schools.

In March, a major data revelation caused confusion and mistrust.

The school district reported 174 times when a student was restrained or secluded in a state system called infinite campus, but the actual number of times was 4,400. The reporting error led to an audit that said employees may have felt pressure to not report incidents because of backlash.

JCPS abandoned its internal data system and began solely reporting restraint data to the state system.
Once the actual number of restraints were revealed; parents came forward and spoke about how their children were restrained - like 16-year-old student Brennan Long. JCPS paid $1.75 million to the Long family after he suffered a life threatening injury at the Binet School.

In March, the district came up with a new plan for several middle schools in southwest Louisville.
The plan proposed at Tuesday's board meeting suggested relocating Frost Sixth-Grade Academy and Valley Prep to the Stuart Middle School campus. All sixth-grade students would attend a separate, small sixth-grade academy, equaling about 434 students on the Stuart campus. Seventh and eighth grade students at Valley and Stuart would go to another separate academy, also on the Stuart campus.

In April the state had to get involved forcing out the Principal at Moore Traditional High School.

A report by the Kentucky Department of Education found Lete was unfit to lead the turnaround efforts at Moore Traditional School, which is a priority school with the Jefferson County Public School system.
At the end of April, there was talk of a possible pay freeze after a salary study said JCPS teachers and administrators were overpaid.
The study prompted protests until the teachers' union and the district came to a salary agreement.

April wasn't only full of challenges. One 16-year-old invented a hearing aid for just $60.

In May, The Brown School Student Semhal Araya racked up $1.3 million in scholarship money.
The summer brought talk of a change in discipline approach, focusing on restorative practice and ditching some suspensions consequences to keep students in the classroom and off the streets. The change was upsetting for teachers who said classrooms were already out of control.

WATCH: Kasey Cunningham's report

Proponents of the change said the new method works. Schools like Minor Daniels Academy have used restorative practices to create a more empathetic and culturally sensitive environment. Principal Don Dillard said the discipline method is working and helping to build meaningful relationships between staff and students.

The September school year started out with some bus driver shortages, but has improved with an incentive of cash for drivers who do not miss any days of work in a two week period.

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