Fleming County, KY

How do underperforming schools turn around and improve? With deliberate analysis and action. Using Cognia's Diagnostic Review process, Fleming County (KY) Public Schools went from being one of the state’s lowest-performing districts to one of its most successful—a Distinguished District—in just three years.

Challenges

Fleming County, an agricultural area on the edge of the Appalachian foothills of Kentucky, is a community that inspires loyalty and support. Despite local pride in the school system, poor academic performance on state accountability assessments drew scrutiny from state officials. As a result, Fleming County High School was identified as a Priority school—meaning it was in the bottom five percent of Kentucky’s schools as measured by state assessment results.

Solutions

In Kentucky, being placed on “Priority” meant the school and the district would receive a comprehensive diagnostic review facilitated by Cognia. The district leaders’ self-assessment corroborated the Cognia external evaluation and helped validate that the district was on the right track. Acceptance of the findings motivated district leadership to change the culture, which would enable the school system to confront its challenges and own its improvement journey.

Results

After one year of using the Cognia (AdvancED) Standards as a roadmap, Fleming County accelerated to the 78th percentile. At the high school level, scores increased in reading, math, science and writing, and the middle school calculations climbed extensively in every subject tested. In three years, the district transformed from having a turnaround school to being classified as a Distinguished District.