JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio donates clothes to the PTA Clothing Assistance Program during blitz week. JCPS schools are back in session Aug. 15. | Photo by Rebekah Alvey

Amid continued uncertainty surrounding a possible state takeover of the school district, JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio Tuesday morning focused on changes that are taking place within JCPS this coming school year, including an initiative aimed at ensuring kids are school ready.

Pollio spoke at the PTA Clothing Assistance Program, which kicked off a week of providing clothing to JCPS students in need. Pollio even donated some of his own clothing.

During the week, six families are scheduled to come in every 10 minutes to receive a new uniform and look through gently used clothing. During the event, children also receive a free lunch courtesy of JCPS School and Community Nutrition Services. Families can register for the event through the child’s school.

JCPS students will go back to school Aug. 15.

Pollio, who plans to visit nine of the district’s schools that day, said it has been an intense summer of improvement and preparation for the district.

It also has been a summer of tumult for the school district. The Kentucky Board of Education set dates for a hearing to consider a potential state takeover of JCPS, although a hearing may not happen if the local school board agrees to a deal that Interim Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis recently presented. JCPS may face legal action from the former Manual principal, and multiple parents are suing over alleged abuse of pre-school-aged children.

“With all the things that are happening outside,” Pollio said, he is “so excited for some of the work that is taking place inside this district and the changes people are really grasping. He cited the school board’s approval of its Vision 2020 action plan and this year’s implementation of Backpack of Success Skills.

More than 100,000 students, he said, will have an online backpack where they can store “artifacts” of learning and demonstrate an authentic learning experience. The backpack will be accessible to students, teachers and parents.

Pollio said the program has received national acclaim, and he has high hopes for the next year, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

“I think it is going to really transform our district to ensure that every single student is ready for kindergarten, middle school, high school and then finally college,” Pollio said. “There is definitely a level of excitement that has not been seen in this district.”

Additionally, Pollio said the board has been working with principals on a racial equity policy, specifically addressing achievement gaps. The board and principals looked at data concerning current gaps and what can be done to address them from a district and school level, he added.

Parents also can prepare for the new academic year by visiting JCPS’s back to school page and using its bus finder program to find out where a school bus will pick up their child or children.