Principals at G.R. Hampton Elementary and Knox County Middle received unexpected news when the Prichard Committee named both as Bright Spots in Kentucky Education.
Through a research project the Prichard Committee hosted in partnership with the University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research, G R Hampton Elementary School and Knox County Middle School were identified as Bright Spots in the analysis that included 35 outcome-based variables from school years 2012 to 2019.
Brigitte Blom Ramsey, president of the Prichard Committee, provided details on how the two were among schools selected.
“There are two conditions that a school must meet to satisfy our definition as a “bright spot.”
“First, we evaluate all students on an outcome measure, such as K-PREP elementary mathematics outcomes, to assess whether a school exhibits better-than-expected performance at least once from 2011-12 to 2018-19.
Second, while focusing on the same educational outcome measure, but for low-income or disabled students, we assess whether a school exhibited a significant improvement in performance relative to expectations over the time period,” explained Ramsey.
As Principal of G.R. Hampton, we are honored to have been identified as a Bright Spot in Kentucky Education! At G.R. Hampton, our number one goal is to always keep our students’ best interests at the center of every decision. We, undoubtedly, have the hardest working staff around, that exhibits a genuine love for our children, and are willing to put in the extra effort to ensure we are offering the best education possible, to all students. As a team, we have managed to create a family-centered learning environment, create opportunities for parents to be a part of our school community and focus on their child’s education, and use data to drive every aspect of our instruction. It has been our goal to learn to be very fluid, and often change our course of instruction to best meet the needs of our students. There is no magic trick, or short-cut to academic achievement, we are constantly committed to finding the best ways to enhance our curriculum, utilize strategies to reach every child, and create a loving learning environment that our children feel safe and loved in. At our school, we are a family and our success is based on every child improving, and taking pride in their work and accomplishments.
There are always challenges to overcome, especially now in the midst of trying to ensure a quality education can take place during a global pandemic. Like any other challenge, we are facing it head on by offering virtual instruction and making many accommodations to help our students continue with their learning. We are offering daily google meets with live instruction, porch pick-ups for materials, one-on-one tutoring sessions with our teachers, and weekly food preparation to help meet the needs of the whole child. It may not be possible to be with every child in person every day, but we still want to make sure they know that we are here for them every step of the way, that they are loved, that it is possible to learn at home with our support, and that we really will get through all of this together.
Education is always about adapting to change, and I truly believe that our strength and success can be attributed to our constant drive to always find the best possible way to address the needs of our students, even if that means changing what we are comfortable doing. At G.R. Hampton, every member of our team is vital to our success, and we have the very best team around. It’s an honor and a privilege to help coach this team, and continue to help our students make improvements. My focus will always be to make each decision keeping the best interests of the children in mind, and I’m so thankful that I have a staff that feels the same way. I hope we always understand it’s about helping every child, every day. – Brian Frederick, Principal
We are thrilled to be recognized as an Educational Bright Spot for Kentucky Public Schools. Our school became a School of Distinction in 2016 and in 2019 KCMS became a Top 10% performing middle school in the state. I’m very excited that the Prichard Committee recognized the work of the KCMS family and our commitment to see all students succeed. It was great to know that we were recognized not only in one category but in three. I am very proud of our community, students, and staff for the hard work they put in to make Knox County Middle School successful. – Jeremy Ledford, Principal
Knox County Superintendent Kelly Sprinkles said the educators and students at G.R. Hampton Elementary School and Knox County Middle School have worked diligently over the years to achieve this distinction.
“The work of the Prichard Committee once again has provided a spotlight on great work being accomplished in Kentucky’s public schools. Schools like G R Hampton and Knox Middle are breaking through barriers to reach students. It takes the entire school community to see that students have what they need in order to come to school prepared to learn. While Knox County and the Commonwealth as a whole have much more work to do, the research data is beginning to show that bright spot in Kentucky public education,” said Sprinkles.
An example provided by the Prichard Committee further helps explain how the two schools were deemed as Bright Spots.
Knox County Middle School and South Laurel Middle School in Laurel County performed similarly on the 2018-2019 K-PREP middle school mathematics assessment, demonstrated by 50.9 and 51.1 percent of their students scoring proficient or distinguished, respectively. Yet, once we consider student, school, district, and community factors, only one of these schools performs “better than expect”—Knox County Middle School. While South Laurel Middle School performs at a level we expect, Knox County Middle School performs much better than we expect; in fact, it performs 20 percentage points higher than we expect.
The Prichard Committee states that the analysis work is best viewed as a statistical sieve designed to narrow the list of candidate schools worthy of closer examination. By subjecting a school to closer scrutiny, one can gain a sense of confidence about identifying the constellation of factors facilitating exceptional performance—and hopefully facilitate the adoption of these practices to other schools.
“To that end, we hope to continue to investigate the good work being done at G R Hampton Elementary School and Knox County Middle School and explore how that work has transitioned through the pandemic,” stated Ramsey.