Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) is working with Phi Delta Kappa International to conduct a Curriculum Management Audit. It is similar to a financial audit, but instead it examines the district’s curriculum design and delivery system.

Phi Delta Kappa sent a team to the district that included 25 licensed auditors who have experience with large urban school systems and expertise in the areas they reviewed. Their reports will detail the extent to which JCPS is meeting standards and provide recommendations for improvement. The audit is based on a business model developed by the accounting firm of Peat, Marwick, and Mitchell, and it follows generally accepted auditing principles.

Before arriving in the district, the audit team reviewed scores of documents, including policies and practices. During the weeklong on-site visits, the team visited every school and conducted interviews with staff, parents, and community members. Additional telephone interviews with community members were conducted until November 18.

The audit compares the district’s performance against five standards that Phi Delta Kappa describes as “representing the characteristics any complex organization must have to be responsive and responsible to its clients.”

  1. Control of resources, programs, and personnel
  2. Establishment of clear and valid objectives for students
  3. Internal consistency and rational equity in program development and implementation
  4. Use of data to adjust, improve, or end ineffective practices
  5. Improved productivity

According to Superintendent Donna Hargens, JCPS is participating in the audit because “test scores have remained stagnant for several years, and several schools have been identified as low performing. Additionally, as Kentucky becomes the first state to adopt the new rigorous national core academic standards, JCPS must be proactive to ensure that there is alignment among the written curricula, the curricula that is taught, and the curricula that is tested across all 150 schools.”

The audit cost approximately $302,000, which includes the auditors’ expenses during the week of site visits. Other districts that have conducted Curriculum Management Audits include Boston, MA; St. Louis, MO; Minneapolis, MN; Raleigh, NC; Seattle, WA; Baltimore County, MD; Philadelphia, PA; and Richmond, VA.





September 15, 2011

Pre-audit review (lead auditor)

October 17–21, 2011

On-site audit (25 auditors)

October 21, 2011

Exit interview with the superintendent

January 4, 2012

Draft copy to the superintendent

January 23, 2012

Completed document to the superintendent

Followed by a post-audit report (lead auditor)

Recent Activity

148 schools visited by the audit team with:
40 end-of-day meetings held with teachers in schools
40 end-of-day meetings held with parents in schools
Interviews at Gheens:
36 personal business/community
/legislative leaders interviewed (either 
in-person or by phone)
6 JCPS Board members interviewed
9 JCTA Board members interviewed
266 JCPS leaders interviewed
Community meetings held at Gheens included:
2 business leaders/community interview opportunities
2 additional parent interview opportunities
2 additional legislator interview opportunities
1 additional teacher interview opportunity
Personal interview opportunities offered daily
Continuing personal phone interviews offered daily October 24th through November 18th, 2011. Schedule by phoning 485-6203 or email Lynne Wheat




January 23, 2012
Audit findings, recommendations presented

The Jefferson County Board of Education has received the Curriculum Management Audit™ report conducted by Phi Delta Kappa International.  The report, which includes 24 findings and 10 recommendations, was prepared based on interviews and school visits and is designed to offer a systems approach to educational improvement.

The audit is similar to a financial audit in its focus on reporting discrepancies and formulating recommendations to eliminate identified issues. The recommendations are as follows:

  1. Adopt policies governing the management of the organization and job descriptions.
  2. Review, revise, adopt, and implement Board policies to provide a sound local system of curriculum management and control. Review and revise school based decision making sample policies to be consistent with Board policy.
  3. Redesign the planning process to provide a coherent focus and improved system connectivity to fulfill the vision of the Board and the new leadership.
  4. Design and implement a comprehensive curriculum management system that integrates curriculum development, staff development, and staff appraisal, and provides continuity and consistency across all grade levels and schools. Consolidate curriculum guides and resources for all courses offered, integrating curriculum expectations for special populations within the documents.
  5. Develop and implement a comprehensive plan for student assessment and program evaluation.  District and site levels will be required to use data that is focused on closing achievement gaps among subgroups, raising achievement for all students, and providing feedback for decisions about curriculum management, program adoption, implementation, continuation, expansion, modification, or termination.
  6. Institutionalize instructional best practices for effective curriculum delivery.
  7. Establish procedures requiring formal monitoring of instructional practices to promote district-wide consistency.
  8. Design and implement a coordinated, system-wide professional development program that supports the curriculum and focuses on improved student achievement.
  9. Provide equal access to comparable programs, services, and opportunities to impact student achievement. Eliminate the achievement gap between ethnic and socioeconomic student groups. Take further steps to allocate resources based on student needs.
  10. Develop and implement a three-year plan that aligns district and building-level resources to curricular goals and strategic priorities. Include systematic cost-benefit analysis to ensure that expenditures are producing desired results.

Click here to read the complete 566-page audit report.

Click here for the Graphic Organizer that summarizes the findings, recommendations, and actions.

Return to JCPS Home

December 20, 2011

Organizational review completed

The results of a review of the district’s central office staff, requested by the Board of Education, outlines 20 specific findings and 18 recommended actions to better support students in classrooms. Read the entire report or the executive summary. View the PowerPoint presentation. Read more.

November 1, 2011

JCPS receives first recommendation of Curriculum Audit
The first recommendation from the Curriculum Management Audit (CMA) of the Jefferson County Public School System was released yesterday to the Jefferson County Board of Education (JCBE) and to Superintendent Donna Hargens.  The recommendation calls for the evaluation and revision of school district policies related to how central office positions are created and managed as well as the organizational structure of the management team.  
The recommendation comes as the district is undergoing a detailed organizational review to examine the functions and reporting relationships of all central office departments, personnel, and job responsibilities.   The audit recommendation received will inform the work of the organizational review.
“This summer, the Board of Education called for the Curriculum Management Audit to ensure that as a school system, we were using every resource we have to its maximum potential,” said Stephen Imhoff, chairman of the JCBE.  “I am confident that the results of this audit will help inform the work of the Board of Education for years to come.”
The CMA recommendation, which contains nine action steps for both the board and JCPS administration, includes the review and evaluation of all policies related to central office job descriptions and functions, departmental reporting relationships, and the organization of senior leadership who report directly to the Superintendent.  
According to the recommendation, the school district’s leadership team would be reorganized under four Chief Officers:  a Chief Academic Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Diversity, Community Relations, and Communications Officer.  In addition, the system’s Legal Counsel and the department responsible for data management and accountability would continue reporting directly to the Superintendent. The remainder of central office departments and functions would be organized under the new senior management structure.  Board of Education approval is needed before the recommendation takes effect.
“Our core business is educating our children,” said Donna Hargens, superintendent of JCPS. “This first recommendation from the CMA outlines some of the changes that we will need to consider to ensure that we are properly aligned to effectively support our core business,” Hargens said.  

To read the recommendation from Phi Delta Kappa click here.