School leaders respond to demand for change at Scott High School

TAYLOR MILL, Ky. – "We as a student body are asking for help.”

Those are the words spoken by a Scott High School student Monday night at an education meeting that have set school leaders into action.

Casey Child, the school's junior class vice president, addressed a packed roomed of parents and students at the Kenton County Board of Education monthly meeting demanding change.

He painted a picture of out-of-control students and school leaders unable to institute rules to keep the 1,150 student body in line.

RELATED: Parents, students say Scott HS is out of control

Scott High School is last among the Kenton County School District's three high schools in state test scores and has the lowest student body population.

"If a teacher were to try to give a kid an assignment, often a kid will refuse to do an assignment, and there will be no repercussions," Child said.

But two days after the meeting, school officials say they're acting.

"That feedback did not fall on deaf ears,” said Kenton County School District Spokesperson Jess Dykes. “We care very much about what our parents and what our students have to say about their school."

Dykes said discussions have already begun to outline changes that need to be made.

“Immediately the next day we were talking about academic urgency, and what we could do to move forward with a positive outlook," she said.

In Kentucky’s 2012-2013 uniformed testing report card of Scott, the Taylor Mill school fell in the 41st percentile for scores among public schools in the state. The score landed Scott in the “needs improvement” category for the second year in a row.

Kenton County’s two other high schools, Simon Kenton and Dixie Heights, both scored in the 87th percentile last year.

A recent survey of Scott teachers also shows educators there believe 18 percent of students follow school conduct rules and only 39 percent of respondents said the school’s administration makes a sufficient effort to manage student behavior.

"I have a friend that actually has skipped class multiple times in order to go sit in the library and do his school work just so he could be out of class from the other students who are distracting him," Child said.

A Scott High School parent, Chris Poole, expressed similar concern for his children.

"They're interrupted by things going on in the hallway,” Poole said. “They're interrupted by kids taking phone calls in class.”

WCPO was sent a photo Wednesday showing what a teacher wrote on a classroom’s chalkboard Tuesday.

The message reads: "Your classmates told the board last night that there is no discipline at SHS, therefore I will be enforcing all classroom rules rigorously, cell phones included.”

"Students here take great pride in being a Scott Eagle, and they don't want to be known as an underperforming school within the district," Dykes said.

Officials said enrollment at the high school is down in part because parents are choosing to move students to other schools through an open enrollment option.

But not all things are negative at Scott High School.

Scott did see nominal progress on its state testing score between the 2012 and 2013 school year. The school went from an overall score of 51.2 to 52.9 between those two years.

For now, teachers at Scott continue to work to bring up the school's test scores, and change a negative perception held by some in the area.

"The students that go here and the teachers that go here take great pride in what they do each day,” Dykes said. “They don't want to have a negative stereotype and they're working very hard right now from bell to bell with each instructional minute to change that."

WCPO Web Editors Maxim Alter and Brian Mains contributed to this report

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