Jefferson County, Kentucky Public Schools
One hundred thousand students in 155 schools speak 100 different languages. Ten percent are homeless and 60% receive free or reduced-price school lunches. However, two-thirds of graduates go on to college, and each year dozens become National Merit and National Achievement Scholarship semifinalists.
Behind these statistics are the individual children served by Jefferson County, Kentucky Public Schools (JCPS) and its educators and support staff.
Given the cultural, ethnic and economic range of its students, JCPS has strived for decades to avoid racial isolation in the schools and balance that goal against student preference. Earlier this year, JCPS won a landmark case before the Kentucky Supreme Court that affirmed its right and the right of elected school boards across Kentucky to make decisions regarding student assignment – allowing boards to focus with renewed energy on improving student achievement.
The JCPS district is making headway. In the 2011 Nation’s Report Card, JCPS students showed gains in reading and math, and closed the white-black achievement gap in both areas. Additionally, JCPS last year adopted rigorous national academic standards that focus on developing a deeper understanding of concepts – not just the ability to restate facts. These new standards also make it possible to track an individual child’s progress over time and individually tailor instruction to meet his or her needs.
Wyatt represented JCPS in this historic case and serves as outside legal counsel to the school district in litigation and other matters.