"We were one of a consortium of 16 districts that began implementing research based reading strategies for students last year, and the reading increase is directly related to that," Saylor said. "I think we will continue to see gains there in the coming years."
Title 1 schools receive federal aid for low-income students, and under NCLB, schools must meet benchmarks in every category. If scores are deficient in any one category, the school can be sanctioned.
The sanctions range from giving students the option of transferring to better-performing schools, to a complete overhaul of the school's management.
Schools that fail to meet the federal standards fall into a five-tier system based on the number of years they fail to meet the goals. The severity of sanctions against the schools increase accordingly.
Tier 5 sanctions are the most severe, with alternate school management plans being implemented and improvement plans being revised.
Shortcomings at EJMS and WJMS
All Jessamine County schools met the benchmarks in every category except West and East Middle, where reading scores for students with disabilities were below the standard.
But while the scores failed to meet the benchmark, they were up from last year's scores, and have improved each of the last five years, Saylor said.
"They have made great strides. Last year West was below the benchmark in three categories and this year it is only one," Saylor said. "Over 72 percent of their students are proficient in reading and they had over a 16 percent increase in math scores. I know that proficiency rating will translate to good CATS scores."
West Middle is classified as a Tier 4 school and could receive sanctions, but Saylor said the district has already begun to implement several things to get the school into compliance.
One of those is an organizational restructuring team consisting of parents, teachers others, that will look at all aspects of the school and identifying those that need to be addressed to improve the deficiencies, Saylor said.
Another is placing a lead instructional administrator in the school.
"We want someone full-time who can focus their attention on helping the school make the adequate progress we know they are capable of," Saylor said.
A distance assistance team will also be organized to help implement the improvement plan and anything that emerges from the restructuring team, Saylor said.
East Middle is classified as a Tier 2 school and will have an assistance team and also some supplemental services such as the outside providers which will be working with the after school program.
"If you believe that all children are going to be successful, you have to do everything you can to help them improve," Saylor said. "When you look closely, they are improving and we will do our best to stay on top of this and make sure we give them every opportunity to succeed."
Only six Kentucky schools, four in Jefferson County and one each in Martin and Jackson counties, received Tier 5 penalties for failing to meet their goals for seven years.
Statewide, 40 schools failed to meet their goals for five years, qualifying for serious sanctions.
There was almost a 10 percent increase in the number of Kentucky schools that met federal standards under NCLB this year as opposed to last year.