Personalizing the Institution: A Study of Three JCPS Middle Schools' Efforts to Improve Student Academic Outcomes
Bullard, Dana Miller
This mixed-method capstone project examines district-level strategies designed to create a strong sense of belonging and personalized learning in the Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, KY. Our research focused on three middle schools, and included a review of JCPS data books, classroom observations, leadership and teacher professional learning community observations, teacher and instructional leader interviews, and document collection. Our findings suggest that: the schools studied have created a well-developed sense of belonging for students even while leadership teams have differing approaches to motivation and creating culture; students are participating in personalized learning, but there is a high degree of uncertainty about the definition of personalized learning among staff; and district administrators conduct reviews and analyses of JCPS data in a consistent and timely manner. We recommend that JCPS develop a consistent platform for personalized learning and communicate the definition and strategies to teachers effectively. Additionally, we recommend that school leadership in the district share current practices across and within schools in creating a sense of belonging and that they begin to include an additional focus on academic press.