KONZ | JCPS Board hears proposals from School of Innovation fina - WDRB 41 Louisville News

KONZ | JCPS Board hears proposals from School of Innovation finalists

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Four finalists seeking to create a new, innovative school within Jefferson County Public Schools presented their detailed plans to the school board Monday night, each hoping to be bring their vision to a reality in time for the 2015-16 year.

The two-hour presentations were a result of JCPS' "School of Innovation" competition. Last year, the Kentucky Department of Education designated JCPS as one of four school districts in the state that would be allowed to break out of the traditional structure of public education and experiment with learning.

As a result, JCPS challenged community members, educators and parents to come up with some ideas to design its next school. The district received 49 applications and narrowed it down to 12 semifinalists before naming the four finalists in March. The school board will select the winner at the Aug. 11 school board meeting.

Jonathan Lowe, the district's student assignment director who has overseen the School of Innovation competition, called the presentations "inspiring and exciting."

"These are four very different ways of educating our children," he said. "It will be interesting to see which one the school board will select."

The finalists include:

- Metro Museum Magnet School: It would serve students in kindergarten through fifth grade. It would be located at 745 Main Street in Museum Row and have connections with the Kentucky Science Center, Frazier Museum, Louisville Zoo, Muhammad Ali Center and several other cultural institutions.

- Louisville Reach Academy: It would serve students in kindergarten through eighth grade and operate on a year-round schedule. The campus would include opportunities for medical, dental and governmental services. It would also feature small class sizes, technology-based learning (iPads for every student) and a fully operational greenhouse.

- Catalpa School: It would serve students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade initially, with plans to expand to eighth grade. The school would be inspired by Waldorf tradition, which uses the arts to teach academics in a brain-based and developmentally appropriate manner. It's a humanities-based curriculum that incorporates movement, visual art, storytelling or drama.

- Next Generation Community School: It would serve high school students and offer them flexible scheduling with a strong community to bridge the gap between the traditional classroom and the outside world by housing satellite locations of local businesses, media outlets, and community services on-site, to be run with the help of student interns.

The cost for the plans range from several hundred thousand dollars to several million and would be incorporated into next year's budget, said Superintendent Donna Hargens.

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 585-0839 or @tkonz on Twitter. 

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