Report Identifies Paintsville Schools as “Bright Spot”

25 September 2019 - Paintsville Herald Staff

The Paintsville Independent Schools District was named one of 12 across Kentucky as a “bright spot” in a report released by The Center for Business and Economic Research in the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky.

According to a statement, researchers from CBER, with support from and in partnership with the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, analyzed 2012-2017 education data from the state’s 173 school districts. They identified key factors affecting academic achievement and constructed statistical models to predict an expected level of performance on state assessments.

The 12 districts performed at significantly higher levels than predicted and are considered “bright spots.” Those districts are:

  • Barbourville Independent
  • Fleming County
  • Grayson County
  • Hazard Independent
  • Hickman County
  • Jenkins Independent
  • Monroe County
  • Paintsville Independent
  • Pineville Independent
  • Robertson County
  • Somerset Independent
  • Woodford County

Paintsville Independent Schools Superintendent David Gibson said the recognition was an “incredible” honor for the district.

“Despite the socio-economic hurdles our students face each day we still achieve,” Gibson said. “Our teachers  continue to prove they are some of the best teachers in the state. We are honored to be recognized for the incredible work our teachers do everyday for our students.”

Officials with the organizations responsible for the report said several measures were taken into account.

“We looked at elementary and middle school performance on the K-PREP reading and math assessments, as well as the performance of high school students on the ACT,” said Michael Childress, research associate with CBER. “Student, community and district characteristics were also taken into consideration.”

The statement said two key findings of the analysis, consistent with others across the nation, are that teacher experience and the socio-economic status of students have a significant impact on achievement levels.

“We know that teachers matter, and these results can offer insight into how Kentucky can continue to improve education, while also breaking the cycle of deep poverty in our state,” said Brigitte Blom Ramsey, executive director of the Prichard Committee. “These results can inform additional research designed to reveal best practices that facilitate better-than-expected educational outcomes ⁠— given that Kentucky remains near the bottom of the nation for families living in poverty.”

The report and its findings will be showcased at the Prichard Committee’s annual meeting Sept. 27 in Lexington.