Taylor County: The district that's shaking things up to keep kids from dropping out

11/03/2013 12:32 PM

In the case of Taylor County students, their grade level is just a state of mind.

The school district has shuffled students into classes based on their abilities — not by how old they are. It’s a novel concept that is starting to get national attention.

Taylor County is one of four school districts that have permission from the state to color outside the lines as districts of innovation. The districts of innovation were created by the General Assembly to give districts the flexibility to get around certain state standards or rules — with the Kentucky Department of Education’s permission of course.

Taylor County, under superintendent Roger Cook, has been experimenting with different ways of helping students learn for the last four years. And that starts with how to assign students.

“Students have the chance to move at their own pace,” said Sarah Hayes, a Taylor County Middle School math teacher.

Hayes has a mix of 4th, 5th and 6th graders in her classes — all assigned by how proficient they are in math.

Here’s Don Weber’s special report:

Ford also has an overarching goal to not let a student drop out.

And he and the rest of the Taylor County School District faculty and staff have been remarkably successful over the last five years in not letting a single student leave without a diploma.

Here’s how … and why:


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