The Inside Scoop on the Local Schools

Hey Paul: We are looking into buying a home in Jessamine County and have three school age children. Where will they go to school? What are the best schools?

 I grew up here and the three schools I attended no longer exist at least in their original form. Wilmore Elementary, Jessamine Junior High, and Jessamine High school are now Providence High, the Early Learning Village and West Jessamine HS. As you likely know Jessamine is one of the fastest growing counties in the state and this has lead to the addition of schools and periodically rebalancing the schools by shifting the district boundaries.

The ELV enrolls all 900 Kindergartners in the county and then they are dispersed to one of the six Elementary schools based on where you live. A school district map can be seen at the Jessamine schools website http://goo.gl/vN8Ycm. Nicholasville, Rosenwald-Dunbar, and Wilmore Elementary students head on to West Middle and then West High. Brookside, Warner, and Red Oak Elementary students feed into East Middle and East High School. Middle school is grades six through eight.

If you look purely at the numbers such as students at proficiency level then there is a distinct advantage to Wilmore Elementary and Rosenwald-Dunbar Elementary that carries on to West Middle and West High. You can see all the statistics you want at the state school report card website, https://applications.education.ky.gov/src/.

But let me advise you to look beyond the aggregate numbers or better yet don’t look at them at all. Why do I say that? Well stats can be misleading in that they attach the success (or lack of there of) to a school rather than the student or the student’s family. Unfortunately this type of school report cards has sullied many good administrators and teachers when the blame lay somewhere else.

Laura Callisen on the Family Share blog describes the “hard capital” factors as forces largely outside of the family’s control whereas “soft capital” factors were harder to quantify but were to some degree choices a family could make to improve their child’s success rate. Your home purchase will largely dictate the quality of the schools and the neighborhood influences upon your children. But other factors such as the parent’s involvement in the child’s education, reading with your child, eating meals together and overall providing a stable family life trump the school influences. In other words if your kids turn out “bad” don’t put the entire blame on the schools.

Our local schools are across the board good schools with dedicated teachers who know their stuff. Okay probably with a few exceptions but that’s true at any school. Unlike many counties in Kentucky where the schools are subpar due to challenges such as finding quality teachers, we are fortunate not to have that problem in Jessamine County.

I would suggest focusing your house search on factors other than trying to place your children at the so-called best schools as they’ll be shaped more by the home than by where the house is located.