LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Four finalists seeking to create a new, innovative school within Jefferson County Public Schools will find out tonight which plan will become a reality in time for the 2015-16 school year.

The Jefferson County Board of Education will hold a work session at 4 p.m. to discuss the four innovative plans and will vote on which one they want to move forward with during their regular meeting at 7 p.m. Both meetings will be held at the Van Hoose Education Center, 3331 Newburg Road.

The four finalists presented their
detailed plans to the school board on July 28
as part 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.

"These are four very different ways of educating our children," said Jonathan Lowe, the district's student assignment director who has overseen the School of Innovation competition. "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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