State Test Scores Show Promise, and Invite a Call to Action

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For Immediate Release
State Test Scores Show Promise, and Invite a Call to Action
Lexington, KY – October 3, 2014 - With today’s release of state test scores, Fayette County Public Schools posted remarkable gains and achievements with a number of schools scoring at distinguished and proficient levels. At the state and district level, graduation rates and college and career readiness rates continue to rise. While these are measurable successes, United Way of the Bluegrass, supporters of education as a pillar of community success, sees the results as sobering, as some schools continue to fall behind.
For Fayette County, this year’s results give our community many reasons to celebrate.  They also include a call to action.  Four Fayette County Public Schools outperformed nearly all other schools in Kentucky – posting scores in the 99th percentile on the state’s annual testing and accountability system, while one Lexington elementary school, Williams Wells Brown, was listed as the lowest performing elementary school in the state.  Because of this, Fayette County Public Schools announced today that United Way of the Bluegrass will lead a community-wide volunteer effort to help the students, parents and teachers at William Wells Brown move forward. 
“This is what United Way is about – convening the people, organizations, businesses and resources needed to tackle the toughest issues facing our children and families today,” said Bill Farmer, President and CEO of United Way of the Bluegrass. “United Way is here and we stand together with Fayette County Schools and William Wells Brown Elementary. We are fully committed to the students, parents and teachers as we pioneer this effort to help give every student the opportunity to perform to their fullest potential,” said Farmer.   United Way of the Bluegrass has committed to recruiting 400 volunteers – one adult to work with every single student at William Wells Brown. 
“We’re thrilled to see so many of our schools knocking the top off the new, more rigorous state standards and tests,” said Fayette Superintendent, Tom Shelton. “But these scores absolutely show us that we have not achieved parity for all students.”
Recently, United Way launched its Big Bold Goal for the community that 10,000 more families will be self-sufficient by 2020. “This important work is critical to our Big Bold Goal for the community. We know that we must come together and collaborate to help remove barriers for many families, financial and otherwise, that are preventing so many children from reaching their fullest potential,” said Bill Farmer.  “The primary reason United Way and the community assist schools is to help ensure ‎that poverty or the impact of poverty on children is never the reason for poor academic performance. “ District officials and United Way representatives say that reaching out to families and community members to be a part of this important work will be critical.
Fayette County is organizing a district service team that will begin working immediately with the leaders and staff at William Wells Brown Elementary to identify areas of need, provide additional resources and develop a customized and strategic plan of action to improve teaching and learning at the school. “The goal of our service team efforts will be to move the school leadership team to self-sufficiency over the period of one, two or three years,” said Chief Academic Officer Lu Young. “I am very confident that with additional support, time and a strategic effort we will see quick and dramatic improvements at William Wells Brown.
United Way is hopeful that community support and partnerships will allow similar volunteer efforts and programs to be extended to other schools in the future.  United Way will be involved in discussions with Fayette County Public Schools in the coming days as the district service team puts together a plan of action for Williams Wells Brown.   United Way volunteers could be in the school as early as January 2015.
If you are interested in joining the volunteer effort or learning more about United Way, please dial 2-1-1.
About United Way of the Bluegrass
United Way of the Bluegrass is a leader and motivator of change for long-terms solutions for Central Kentucky communities. We have a bold goal that together, we will increase the number of self-sufficient families by 10,000 before 2020. United Way has committed to four key drivers of success for community and economic success:  basic needs, school readiness, student success and financial stability.  Systems have been developed to evaluate the quality and success of programs supported by UWBG, so investors can be assured that dollars will have maximum impact on the community. For more information, visit or call 859.233.4460.
Media Contact:
Katie Williams
Vice President, Marketing
United Way of the Bluegrass