Kentucky Department of Education Minority Student Achievement Initiative Using Virtual Cadre Course

January 17, 2001

The Kentucky Department Of Education, Commissioner Gene Wilhoit, announced at a 11 a.m. press conference yesterday a major initiative to reduce the learning achievement gap between WHITE and AFRICAN-AMERICAN students in Kentucky.

The beginning of this process includes 6 volunteer local school districts who are involved in piloting strategies to reduce this learning gap.

The KENTUCKY VIRTUAL HIGH SCHOOL has developed and is helping to manage an course shell that is being used as a way for these 6 district leaders and KDE to communicate, collaborate, and share documents virtually. Note this is not a virtual course but a virtual “cadre management tool”.

Additional Information on the Virtual Cadre Course can found by calling

502-564-2020 EXT 203,Mr. Bob Fortney or EXT 219, Linda Pittenger Project


Minority Achievement Pilot


No. 01-003


CONTACT: Lisa Y. Gross

January 11, 2001

(502) 564-3421


(FRANKFORT, Ky.) — Six school districts are working to improve minority (specifically African American) students’ achievement in a pilot project developed from recommendations of the Minority Student Achievement Task Force(MSATF). (FRANKFORT, Ky.) — Six school districts are working to improve minority (specifically African American) students’ achievement in a pilot project developed from recommendations of the Minority Student Achievement Task Force (MSATF).

The six districts, which volunteered to join the project, include more than 70 percent of the state’s total African American student population.

  • Bardstown Independent (1,773 students; 24.5 percent African


  • Fayette County (31,725 students; 23 percent African American)

  • Hardin County (12,584 students; 15 percent African American)

  • Jefferson County (89,801 students; 33 percent African American)

  • Owensboro Independent (3,928 students; 17 percent African American)

  • Paducah Independent (3,114 students; 48 percent African American)

“Even though all demographic groups of Kentucky children have shown

improvement in academic achievement over the past 10 years, the

achievement gap that existed 10 years ago is still with us,” said

Education Commissioner Gene Wilhoit. “That’s unacceptable, and the work of

the districts involved in this pilot program will help other districts

close that gap and reach proficiency. It will help real Kentucky children

do their best — remaining true to our conviction that all children can

learn at high levels.”

The six districts will implement strategies recommended by the task force,

either in new programs or existing ones.

  • Bardstown Independent will focus on three of the ten goals (1, 6 and

    8) and target all grade levels.

  • Fayette County employs a SBDM/Equity Consultant, who provides

    information to schools and councils about equity issues. All school

    principals use disaggregated data to evaluate student performance.

  • In Hardin County, the progress of two elementary schools with high

    minority populations is being monitored. Grants will enable the schools to

    test, identify and implement a reading program for all students in exiting

    primary, 4th and 5th grades.

  • Jefferson County set up a research project to identify schools with

    achievement gaps, both high and low.

  • Owensboro Independent will focus its efforts on the Owensboro 5-6

    Center, then expand to the elementary, middle and high schools.

  • Paducah Independent set up a Minority Improvement Committee,

    including school staff, local community members and central office


The participating districts will keep in touch with each other and with

the department, and will compare strategies and results, in a special

on-line work group provided by the Kentucky Virtual High School.

The task force was formed in March, 2000, to develop specific strategies

for closing the achievement gap between white students and

African-American students. But its members recognized early in the process

that gaps also pertain to groups identified by gender, economics,

disabilities and other diverse learning needs. The task force developed

strategies centered on 10 goals:

    1. All students in the state; regardless of race, gender, ethnic

    background or socio-economic status, will have access to a rigorous

    curriculum and have support systems in place to ensure success in a

    rigorous curriculum.

    2. Kentucky’s educational accountability system will include and

    involve all stakeholders and provide incentives to assure minority


    3. Minority students are recognized as high achieving learners.

    4. Communities will have opportunities, motivations and tools to

    develop and face issues of race and achievement.

    5. All districts and schools will develop environments that result in

    respect of cultural and socio-economic differences.

    6. Students, teachers, counselors, administrators and parents must have

    a belief in high expectations for all students.

    7. The knowledge and skills of the teaching force will be expanded to

    reach minority students in ways to best assure high achievement for all


    8. Kentucky educators will effectively use data to improve educational

    achievement for all students.

    9. Educators will take ownership to assure that all students are

    challenged and motivated to achieve at high levels.

    10. All districts will show an annual increase in the diversity of

    staff, and by 2004, staff in all school districts will be in proportion

    with the number of minorities within the student population.

Lisa Y. Gross, Press Secretary

Office of Communications

KY Dept. of Education

500 Mero St.

Frankfort KY 40601

(502) 564-3421