2021 – Compassionate Schools Project
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November 12, 2021 — Kenwood Elementary School has been named a National Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Distinguished School for 2021, the first school in Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) to ever earn the distinction and one of only 100 schools in the country recognized for the distinction this year.

The school was identified by the Kentucky Department of Education and the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators for excellence in serving its English learner population.

“Proud doesn’t even begin to describe the feelings this recognition brings,” said Jill Handley, principal of Kenwood. “The Kenwood community has worked tirelessly over the years to refine the systems and structures we have in place to support students, families, and one another. I am humbled to lead such an amazing group of educators who are committed to doing whatever it takes for our students and their families.”

The National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program recognizes qualifying federally funded schools for the outstanding academic achievements of their students. Schools demonstrate a wide array of strengths, including team approaches to teaching and learning, focused professional development opportunities for staff, individualized programs for student · success, and strong partnerships between the school, parents, and the community.

The program, which has been in place since 1996, showcases the success of schools in one of three categories:

• Exceptional student performance (and academic growth) for two or more consecutive years;
• Closing the achievement gap between student groups for two or more consecutive years; or
• Excellence in serving special populations of students.

Handley said she attended the National ESEA Conference four years ago, and during the recognition ceremony for the National Distinguished Schools told a colleague, “We are going to be on that stage one day celebrating all of the magic that occurs at Kenwood.”

“Fast forward four years and here we are,” she said. “One of only two schools in the entire state receiving this recognition, and the only school in JCPS to have received this honor.”

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View the press release at the Jefferson County Public Schools website.