Lewis visits Pike schools

Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis toured Pikeville Elementary School on Friday.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis made a visit to several local schools from the Pike County Schools District and Pikeville Independent Schools District during a trip to the county on Friday.

Lewis visited Pikeville High School and Pikeville Elementary School on Friday morning, taking a tour of each facility, learning about offered programs and meeting teachers and students. He later visited schools in the Pike County Schools District, like Valley Elementary School, among others.

The Pikeville Independent Schools District received high marks from the Kentucky Department of Education’s new five-star ranking accountability system, including five stars at the high school level and four stars at the elementary and middle school level. Pikeville High School also received five stars, making it one of only seven high schools to receive that rating.

However, Lewis said he already planned to visit Pikeville Independent before the state released the results of its accountability system.

“I had the privilege of coming out here last school year and talk to the staff,” Lewis said. “This is an exemplary school district, and the five stars only validates what we already knew.”

Superintendent Jerry Green, state Sen. Phillip Wheeler and other guests and school officials joined Lewis during his tours in Pikeville High School and Pikeville Elementary School. Green said this was the highest that Pikeville Independent Schools has performed since the state’s previous accountability system started back in 1990.

“We’re really thrilled at the opportunity to celebrate that, especially with our chief state school officer here today,” Green said.

The state’s new accountability system benchmarks the progress of each school district on a five-star rating scale. The scores given to each school district are based on K-PREP (Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress) testing results, reading and math proficiency, proficiency in social studies, science and writing, academic growth/progress over one academic year, transition readiness and graduation rates.

As a district, Pike County Schools received mixed results from the state across the board. Overall, it received three stars at the elementary school and middle school levels, and it received a ranking of two stars at the high school level. Valley Elementary School was the only school in the district to receive five stars at the elementary and middle school level.

“We’re not out here because we wanted to visit five-star schools,” Lewis said. “We’re out here because we wanted to visit Pikeville Independent. It’ll be my first time, actually, visiting Pike County, and so I’m excited to be there. I’m looking forward to spending some time there and getting to know the school district.”

Lewis said receiving five stars is something to be “admired and celebrated.”

“Rating at the 5 star-level in this accountability system means that your performance is at the pinnacle,” Lewis said. “A three-star school in Kentucky is at the very least a pretty good school, and there are some three star schools in Kentucky that are really good schools. But our four and five-star schools are performing at the exceptional level, really high-performing across every indicator.”