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JCPS ends another school year overcoming hurdles from COVID-19 pandemic with more looming

May 26th, 2022|

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Thursday marked the final day for students at Jefferson County Public Schools, and the 2021-22 school year won’t be one Superintendent Marty Pollio will forget soon.The 2021-22 school year has “definitely been the most interesting and challenging” of Pollio’s career, he said during a news conference Thursday at Crosby Middle.“I think most educators would say that, but I’m really proud of the way that JCPS worked our way through this year,” Pollio said.The 2021-22 term marked the first time students were back in classrooms for the entire school year since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, barring a few days of nontraditional instruction amid surges in coronavirus cases.The school year began with mandatory masking, though the Jefferson County Board of Education eventually gave Pollio authority to lift that requirement as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations dropped, and eventually included other coronavirus mitigation steps like “test to stay” and “test to play.”While prevention measures were in place, JCPS had to navigate tens of thousands mandatory quarantines for students and staff who either tested positive for COVID-19 or were exposed. JCPS reported 13,229 positive cases of COVID-19 among students and 4,952 among staff and 36,076 quarantines for students and 973 for staff throughout the 2021-22 school year as of Thursday morning.“I’m proud of what we did here in JCPS to make sure that we mitigated COVID in our schools, thousands and thousands of tests every single week,” Pollio said.“Meanwhile, in probably the most significant staff shortage in education history all across the nation, our schools stepped up to meet that challenge, meet that need whether it was transportation, custodial staff, teaching staff, no matter what it was.”The 2021-22 school year posed new challenges for JCPS as students grappled with lost classroom time because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a process Pollio has said could take Kentucky’s largest school district years to overcome.While Pollio expressed some misgivings about using nationally normed Measures of Academic Progress testing for student proficiency in subjects, the diagnostic tests showed JCPS students, like others throughout the country, struggled academically because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Winter MAP results show that 45% of JCPS students tested at grade level in reading and 36% hit that mark in math.“Our drop seemed to be less than some of our other peer cities,” Pollio said of the district’s MAP results, which showed progression from the fall to winter and winter to spring rounds. “… There's no way to replace what we do inside of a school building on a daily basis, the relationships, the supports the teaching.”JCPS must also grapple with chronic absenteeism, which affects nearly a third of JCPS students. About 30,000 students missed at least 10% of instruction time at JCPS, Pollio said. A WDRB News analysis of MAP and attendance data found a correlation between schools with high rates of chronic absenteeism and lower diagnostic testing scores.Pollio said he believed the district’s proposed revisions to it student assignment plan, which the school board is scheduled to consider during a special meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday, will help reverse that trend. District data show more than 22,000 JCPS students, or 22.8% of enrollment, were chronically absent in the 2018-19 school year, the last uninterrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.Missing school is especially problematic for students who live far from their schools, primarily in the satellite resides areas in and near west Louisville. Crosby Middle in Middletown has about 150 students who are bused in from satellite resides zones, Pollio said.“If they miss that bus, my question would be, how do they get out here?” he said. “How do they get out here without reliable transportation to make it to the other side of the city? I think they should have access to this wonderful school, without a doubt, and take advantage of that opportunity, but it should be the parent that has the opportunity to say, ‘I would rather my child be close to home.’”The superintendent also wants to challenge schools, families and the Louisville community to help form solutions to the problem of students regularly missing classes.About 6,500 seniors are poised to walk for graduation ceremonies in the days ahead, but some are still working to earn enough credits for their diplomas.The district’s graduation rate for 2021-22 won’t be known until later, though Pollio said he expected it would hold steady compared to the 2020-21 school year. Last year’s four-year graduation rate at JCPS was 84.4%, according to state data.Pollio said he expected college readiness for JCPS graduates will top 70% in 2022, “which is about a 20% growth for us over the past couple of years.”“Those years were interrupted by COVID, so it’s hard to directly measure those years, but it will be the highest we’ve ever seen,” Pollio said.Copyright 2022 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

Wisconsin election official quits, citing Republican criticism over 2020 | The Mighty 790 KFGO

May 26th, 2022|

By Andy Sullivan(Reuters) – An election official in Wisconsin has resigned, saying he lost the backing of fellow Republicans because of his refusal to support former President Donald Trump’s false claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election.The announcement by Wisconsin Elections Commission member Dean Knudson, a Republican, creates more uncertainty as the embattled panel plans to elect a chairman ahead of competitive congressional and gubernatorial elections in November.“It’s become clear to me that I cannot be effective in my role of representing Republicans on the commission,” Knudson said at a Wednesday meeting of the bipartisan commission, which oversees elections in the Midwestern industrial state.Trump won Wisconsin by nearly 21,000 votes in 2020, but many Republican officials and candidates in the state have refused to acknowledge Trump’s defeat despite multiple recounts and a state audit affirming the result. Several Republican candidates have called for abolishing the commission.Knudson’s replacement will be selected by Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican who ordered an investigation of the 2020 election despite scant evidence of fraud. However, Vos also has acknowledged Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the state.Vos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Trump has pressed fellow Republicans to continue challenging his 2020 election defeat, even though lawsuits, recounts and audits have not uncovered any evidence of fraud.He has not always been successful: Republican primary voters in Georgia on Tuesday rejected several high-profile candidates who put those claims front and center.(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Our Story, America's Glory: What to know about Louisville's 9-day Juneteenth celebration

May 26th, 2022|

Louisville's Juneteenth festivities are expanding this year.The Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration Commission has a nine-day series of events planned for the community between June 11-19 to celebrate the holiday, which was first recognized as a federal holiday by President Joe Biden in 2021. There are over 10 events this year, including an art camp for children put on by Louisville Visual Art and Waterfront Park, a pageant hosted by radio stations WLLV and WLOU and a "Race for Justice" to honor Breonna Taylor by Future Ancestors and Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center.Juneteenth, or June 19, is the celebration of the effective end of slavery in the United States. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on Jan. 1, 1863, it was not until over two years later on June 19, 1865 that federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to enforce the end of slavery. Since then, Juneteenth has become a day to celebrate freedom for Black Americans.Mayor Fischer, who declared racism a public health crisis in 2020, said the theme of this year's celebration is "Our Story, America's Glory." Chosen by the commission, the theme is meant to "remind us all of the importance of learning about that story and about our nation's history, the good and the bad." Housing:East End apartment complex discriminated against Black renters, report saysThere will be opportunities to highlight Black businesses and entrepreneurship, teach young people about the works and history of artist Ed Hamilton, Muhammad Ali and the Underground Railroad and attend educational events. Lean Into Louisville will also have a panel about redistricting and an event about reconstructing family trees, said Joi McAtee, the project manager of the organization.To close out Thursday's announcement Mayor Fischer gave a message to those who may not think that the holiday pertains to them."It applies to everybody. Right. So whether you're white, Black, brown, from the south, east, north, west, it doesn't matter. This will be a tremendous celebration of who we are as Louisvillians," he said.Here’s a look at events planned by the Juneteenth Commission:First Tee Louisville’s 22nd annual George 'GG' Johnson Golf ScrambleWHAT: Shawnee Golf Course Lunch will begin at 11 a.m. with raffle prizes to win. The four-person scramble (three adults and one first tee participant) will tee off at 1 p.m. Register at firstteelouisville.org or contact Bhardesty@firstteelouisville.org. WHERE: Shawnee Golf Course, 460 Northwestern Pkwy.WHEN: June 11, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.MORE INFORMATION: Register at firstteelouisville.org or contact Bhardesty@firstteelouisville.org.More:'I'm here now': Mayor Greg Fischer apologizes to Louisville's wrongly accused Black SixJuneteenth CampWHAT: Louisville Visual Art and Waterfront Park are hosting a day camp for youth ages 7-12. Campers will be introduced to the works and history of Ed Hamilton, Muhammad Ali, the Underground Railroad and more, then create their own artworks to express themselves and their newfound knowledge; in the afternoons, campers will explore Waterfront Park for fun camp activities. Limited to 10 students.WHERE: Louisville Visual Art and Waterfront ParkWHEN: June 13-17, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. WAVE Country with Dawne GeeWHAT: WAVE-TV anchor and reporter Dawne Gee will discuss Juneteenth highlights and moderate panel discussions.WHEN: June 13-14, 2 p.m.Lean Into Louisville, Redistricting Panel DiscussionWHAT: Mayor Fischer will greet and introduce a diverse panel that will address and examine why redistricting happens, who it helps, harms, and short-term/long-term implications. MetroTV and Lean Into Louisville will livestream the event on social media.WHEN: June 14, 6:30 p.m.Lean Into Louisville, Presentation: The Kentucky African American Civil War Soldiers ProjectWHAT: The Kentucky African American Civil War Soldiers Project seeks to uncover archival documents about the lives of these soldiers and their family members, and use them as the basis for constructing family trees going as far backward and forward as possible. Dan Gediman and Denyce Peyton will share stories and photographs about selected soldiers from Louisville, as well as discuss their newly created searchable online database.WHERE: First Gethsemane Baptist Church, 1159 Algonquin ParkwayWHEN: June 15, 12 p.m.You may like:Here's everything you need to know about the four-day Louisville Juneteenth FestivalThe Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission Celebrates 60th Anniversary/Juneteenth LuncheonWHAT: The luncheon will celebrate HRC’s achievements in safeguarding all individuals within Jefferson County from all forms of discrimination. The Mayor will speak, along with keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Daniel Corrie Shull, senior pastor of Burnett Avenue Baptist Church.WHERE: Kentucky Center for African American Heritage Center, 1701 W Muhammad Ali Blvd.WHEN: June 16, 11 a.m. COST: $25 per personMiss Juneteenth PageantWHAT: WLLV and WLOU will host the inaugural Miss Juneteenth Pageant at Fourth Street Live. The inaugural pageant will feature 30 contestants. The Mayor is expected to crown the winners.WHERE: Fourth Street LiveWHEN: June 16, 1-5 p.m.Agape Day, Dare to Care & National Panhellenic CouncilWHAT: Local Divine 9 Black Greek fraternities and sororities will partner with Dare to Care to deliver food to communities.WHEN: June 17, 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration: Our Story, America’s Glory Inaugural GalaWHAT: Mayor Fischer will speak at the red carpet gala that will feature dinner, spoken word by Hannah Drake and special performances by the Dr. Jerry Tolson Orchestra, Syreeta Thompson “Trumpet Lady” and Donna & The Atone Band. WAVE3’s Dawne Gee, a Juneteenth Jubilee commissioner, will emcee the event. WHERE: The Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. 6th St.WHEN: June 17, 6 p.m.MORE INFORMATION: Tickets can be purchased for $150 at juneteenthlou.com or for more information, email June.Embers@louisvilleky.gov.You may like:This Louisville native never saw himself as an artist. Then a museum bought his work'Race for Justice' by Future Ancestors, Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning CenterWHAT: Participants will honor Breonna Taylor by running or walking 26 laps as team, one for every year she was alive, or by walking/running a 1.3-mile individual race; she was killed on March 13, 2020.WHERE: Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center, 3029 W Muhammad Ali Blvd.WHEN: June 18, 8 a.m.Juneteenth Youth JamboreeWHAT: Reviving Urban Neighborhoods, Inc. will host a fun-filled family event where youths can win prizes by demonstrating their knowledge of Juneteenth facts.WHERE: Berrytown Park, 1300 Heafer RoadWHEN: June 18, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.Presbyterian Church USA, hybrid serviceWHAT: The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will be preaching at the service. The service can be viewed by visiting: ga-pcusa.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/spiritofga.WHEN: June 19, 11 a.m.For more information about how to celebrate, visit juneteenthlou.com.Reach Eleanor McCrary at emccrary@gannett.com and follow her on Twitter @ellie_mccrary.

After 2020 slump, Chicago sees a surge in votes cast for Local School Council election

May 26th, 2022|

Chicago Public Schools saw a significant increase in overall voter turnout during this year’s Local School Council election after a dramatic drop in 2020 when school officials navigated the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.More than 110,700 parents, staff, students, and community members voted for council candidates at nearly 500 schools this spring. More than three times as many people cast votes in this year’s election than in 2020, when about 35,066 people voted, according to figures obtained by Chalkbeat through a records request.Local School Councils, an example of hyperlocal school governance, are elected every two years. A facet of Chicago school governance since the mid-1990s, the councils vote on the annual school budget, approve the school academic plan, and select and evaluate principals. The councils are traditionally made up of the school’s principal, six parents, two community members, two teachers, one non-teaching staff, and one to three students. For the first time in the district’s history, elementary students in the sixth grade and higher were eligible to serve one-year terms on their school’s LSC. “This is the highest turnout we’ve seen since 2010,” Chief Education Officer Bogdana Chkoumbova said during the April board meeting. “This level of engagement is a huge part of what our district needs to emerge from this challenging time and once again take our place as a national leader in urban education.”More than 6,000 parents, staff, students, and community members ran for open seats during the April election, officials said.The largest turnout was among students, who cast 71,142 votes – a dramatic increase from the 2020 election when only 4,869 students cast a ballot, data shows.Chicago Public School staff voter turnout also more than doubled. About 15,257 ballots were cast in April, compared with 6,286 in 2020.But parent and community voters only saw marginal increases of 2 to 3%, figures show. About 17,065 parents cast a vote in the spring election, compared with 16,802 votes in 2020. Parent voters turned out at higher levels prior to the pandemic when 28,888 cast in 2018. In April, community voters cast 7,328 votes, compared with 7,109 in 2020. This group cast 9,741 votes in the 2018 election, figures show.The district has struggled with tepid participation in the last decade.  After the last election, about 900 seats remained unfilled — a situation that prompted a wave of appointments.A few days shy of the district’s deadline in March, only 722 candidate applications had been submitted for 6,239 total positions on councils across 509 schools. About 307 schools had no candidates for open positions.  The district ultimately received enough candidates to reach a quorum at 485 schools. About 24 schools did not garner enough applicants to meet quorum, according to the district.Vacancies from the election will not be known until July 1.The District’s LSC Relations Department will work with school communities to fill vacancies.Mauricio Peña is a reporter for Chalkbeat Chicago, covering K-12 schools. Contact Mauricio at mpena@chalkbeat.org.

Wisconsin election official quits, citing Republican criticism over 2020 | Reuters

May 26th, 2022|

Signs and flags supporting U.S. President Donald Trump are seen inside the Republican Party of Eau Claire County office during a “MAGA meetup” presidential debate watch party in Altoona, Wisconsin, U.S., October 22, 2020. REUTERS/Bing GuanRegister now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comRegisterMay 26 (Reuters) - An election official in Wisconsin has resigned, saying he lost the backing of fellow Republicans because of his refusal to support former President Donald Trump's false claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election.The announcement by Wisconsin Elections Commission member Dean Knudson, a Republican, creates more uncertainty as the embattled panel plans to elect a chairman ahead of competitive congressional and gubernatorial elections in November."It's become clear to me that I cannot be effective in my role of representing Republicans on the commission," Knudson said at a Wednesday meeting of the bipartisan commission, which oversees elections in the Midwestern industrial state.Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comRegisterTrump won Wisconsin by nearly 21,000 votes in 2020, but many Republican officials and candidates in the state have refused to acknowledge Trump's defeat despite multiple recounts and a state audit affirming the result. Several Republican candidates have called for abolishing the commission.Knudson's replacement will be selected by Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican who ordered an investigation of the 2020 election despite scant evidence of fraud. However, Vos also has acknowledged Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the state.Vos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Trump has pressed fellow Republicans to continue challenging his 2020 election defeat, even though lawsuits, recounts and audits have not uncovered any evidence of fraud.He has not always been successful: Republican primary voters in Georgia on Tuesday rejected several high-profile candidates who put those claims front and center. read more Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comRegisterReporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Leslie AdlerOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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