United Communities to Advance our Neighborhoods, (UCAN) Inc.

"YOU CAN Change the World!"

Closing the Gaps  

Click here to scroll to Downloadable Documents below, especially regarding other states.


National study 2013:

Kentucky achievement gains among highest in the nation;
progress also seen in closing gaps among student groups. 


Kentucky Department of Education - April 2012


The Commissioner's Raising Achievement/Closing Gaps Council (CRACGC) has released a new document that is designed to help parents and community members become engaged in schools and districts with useful knowledge of the expectations KDE has for its schools with regard to the achievement gap

This document is referenced in the new state board regulation, 703 KAR 5:220, the regulation related to school and district accountability recognition and support.  The guidelines are designed to be parent-friendly so they are aware of what is expected of the schools and districts.  It also provides, as its name implies, guidelines that schools and districts can follow to help ensure that students receive a quality, consistent and, equitable education.
Click here to read more and download a copy of the new guideline.



US Education Civil Rights Report 

New Data from U.S. Department of Education Highlights

Educational Inequities Around Teacher Experience, Discipline and High School Rigor





"Most Students miss the common core standards bar" click here,


One of our northeastern Kentucky high schools are also on this list below.

We can be of support!

Six Jefferson County high schools were named among the 10 lowest-performing public schools in Kentucky and will be subject to audits that could result in major restructuring, including replacing their principals and more than half their teachers, the state Department of Education announced Monday.





 Report: U.S. K-12 Schools Failing To Educate Black Males





Editorial | "Obesity" gaps

   August 19, 2010

 ‘No child left behind” is the name given to a public education program. Those also should also be the watchwords for the nation's effort to ensure that all its children are benefiting from the best possible foods and eating habits. Sadly, but not surprisingly, that isn't happening.

A study published this week in the journal Pediatrics shows that while obesity rates among some children are on the decline — which is good news — they also are increasing for African-American and Native American girls, which adds more complications and risks for their adult lives.

The nation cannot afford to let this trend continue.

As the obesity rate for non-Hispanic white girls fell, and the rate for Hispanic girls remained stable, and boys' patterns reflected the girls' only with less disparity, the obesity rate for black girls grew to 22 percent from 20 percent in seven years' time; in American Indian girls, it shot up to 23 percent from 15 percent in the same period.

Dr. Kristine Madsen, the study's lead researcher from the University of California San Francisco, told WebMD, “On the one hand, it is really heartening to see the declines in white and Asian children and the plateau in Latino youth. But this is tempered by concerns about increasing racial disparities in childhood obesity. The fact that the gap appears to be widening is very troubling.”

It is an indication that the programs and policies aimed at fighting childhood obesity aren't effective among the most vulnerable communities, and all levels of government must step up efforts and resources in helping children avoid the lifelong costs of obesity. Likewise, the same efforts and resources must be marshaled to overcome the “food deserts” that continue to deny neighborhoods throughout the United States ready availability of fresh, healthy, affordable food. If this isn't a public health issue of the first order, then nothing is.

Just as childhood obesity has a cascading effect on the long-term futures of its sufferers, it may pack as much of an impact on them while they are still young. Other research suggests that childhood obesity may be leading to earlier puberty in the nation's girls, which carries its own health risks. And still more research indicates that obesity is a risk factor for the development of depression or depressive symptoms for teenage girls.

While these are issues for policymakers, home must be the starting point where no child is left behind, a place to exercise available options toward better health. An expert told WebMD that parents and caregivers should limit sugary drinks and snack foods, cook healthy meals at home, eat together at home when possible, keep TV sets out of kids' bedrooms — and then press schools and elected officials for better options outside the home.


 Childhood Obesity

(From Georgia PTA website.)

Obesity is defined as an excessive accumulation of body fat. It is present when total body weight is more than 25% fat in boys and more than 32% in girls (Lohman 1987). The term “Childhood obesity” often refers to both children (ages 6-11) and adolescents (ages 12-17) unless a specific age group is identified. Although childhood obesity is defined as a weight-for-height in excess of 120 percent of ideal weight, skin fold measures are often more accurate.

Childhood Obesity is a risk factor in the following medical conditions:

  • Pediatric hypertension
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Type II Diabetes Mellitus (It is important to note that for every three new cases of Diabetes in adolescents there is one diagnosed as Type II Diabetes Mellitus, most often considered to be adult onset diabetes). This condition often leads to the development of kidney disease, stroke, limb amputation, and blindness. People who develop diabetes in adolescence face a diminished quality of life and shortened life span, particularly if the disease progresses untreated.
  • Social and Psychological Problems (lower self esteem, poor interaction with peers, and bullying are significant consequences of obesity in children).

The multiple causes of Childhood Obesity center around calories obtained from food and calories expanded in the basal metabolic rate and physical activity. Several determinants play a role in the overall cause: Nutritional, Psychological, Family, and Physiological. Examples are:

  • Parents
  • Poor eating habits
  • Fast food/junk food
  • Heredity
  • Lack of PE programs/recess in schools
  • School nutrition
  • Sedentary activities (Video games, TV, and computer)
  • Unsafe neighborhoods
  • Socio economic status
  • Physically inactive lifestyle

What Can Parents Do

Going on the Offensive against Childhood Obesity

  1. Set limits on the time children engage in passive time. Pediatricians recommend restricting children to one to two hours per day of TV and computers combined - though older children may need additional time for homework.
  2. Parents should also encourage local schools to maintain their physical education programs. Afterschool extra-curricular activities and sports are also vital.
  3. Curtail visits to fast-food restaurants. Select food and drink choices wisely.
  4. Provide nutritious, well-balanced, low-calorie and low-fat meals.
  5. Limit the availability of high-fat and high-sugar snacks in your home.
  6. Create an Active Environment:
    • Make time for the entire family to participate in regular, enjoyable physical activities
    • Start an active neighborhood program
    • Plan active family outings
  7. Create a Healthy Eating Environment:
    • Implement the same healthy diet (rich in fruits, vegetables and grains) for your entire family, not just for select individuals.
    • Plan times when you prepare foods together. Children enjoy participating and can learn about healthy cooking and food preparation from their parents and extended family.
    • Eat meals together (at the dinner table) at regular times.
    • Avoid foods that are high in calories, fat or sugar.
    • Have snack foods available that are low-calorie and nutritious.
    • Avoid forcing your child to eat if he/she is not hungry. If your child shows atypical signs of not eating, consult a healthcare professional.
    • Limit the frequency of fast-food eating to no more than once per week.
    • Avoid using food as a reward or the lack of food as punishment.

Schools' Role in Creating Healthy Eating Environments
Outside of the home, children and adolescents spend the majority of their time in school. So, it makes sense that schools provide an environment that promotes healthy nutrition and physical activity habits.

The USDA and a coalition of five medical associations have developed ten keys to assist each school community in writing a prescription for change. Visit the Team Nutrition website produced by the USDA for more information. The CDC's Healthy Youth website also contains many resources pertaining to school nutrition.

Creating an Active Environment in Schools

The CDC's Healthy Youth website contains several resources that can be used to promote physical activity in schools.

(This information can be adapted as we partner with colleges in our area...see below: )

Georgia PTA and University of Georgia Take Strides to Solve Childhood Obesity

You may have already met UGA graduate student Emily Jones who is working on a research study about parent solutions to childhood obesity.   Perhaps you filled out a survey for her.  If you have not met her yet at one of your district meetings or council events, be on the lookout and help her gather the information she needs!


PRESS RELEASE (Atlanta, GA ) February 25, 2009 - Finding solutions to a growing nationwide problem is on the forefront of Georgia PTA and the University of Georgia's Department of Kinesiology agendas. These two dynamic organizations are teaming up to solicit parents' opinions and insights on solving the problem of childhood obesity. In the state of Georgia alone, obesity among children under the age of 18 has risen to an estimated 28% since 2003.  Click here to read more.