JCPS holds first meeting at J.B. Atkinson on new School of Innov - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS holds first meeting at J.B. Atkinson on new School of Innovation plan

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Parents at J.B. Atkinson Elementary in Louisville got their first look at a proposed School of Innovation Tuesday night.

There were a lot of questions from the few parents who were there, but most said the Louisville Reach Academy would be a positive influence on their kids.

Out of 160 chairs that were set up, only about a dozen were filled with parents. One mom says it's because they just found out about this meeting on Thursday, making it too late for many to rearrange their schedules.

"My biggest question is, is it going to ruin what's already amazing here?" said Maggie Elder, whose daughter is a first grader at Atkinson.

"I understand why they don't have all the answers,” said Elder, “but I want to know if the teachers in the school are going to be excited about it and feel like it's a way to continue to support our students and children or if it's not. And if it's going to continue to support our students, I'm more comfortable with it."

Atkinson currently has about 360 students but there's enough space for 720, which is one reason the district chose the location. Other reasons included lower test scores at the school and the fact that nearly every student qualifies for free or reduced lunch.

The overall plan includes:

  • Longer school days (including after school programs)
  • Year round classes (with longer winter and shorter summer breaks)
  • A greenhouse (run by students)
  • Lunch buddies (who would serve as mentors)
  • Special areas that would focus on art, music and science
  • Two technology labs
  • iPads for every student
  • Monthly clinics for legal, financial and medical assistance for families.

"My one daughter is in kindergarten and she is a little bit on the slow side because she didn't do any pre-K or anything like that,” said William Harris, “so I think the extra services for her would just grow that much quicker."

"You know, it's hard,” said Elder, “but I think that if we're not striving for that support through our schools how are we going to get it anyway? I think it's good, just don't ruin what's already here."

The school board is expected to vote on the Atkinson recommendation October 27th.

The meeting is open to the public and starts at 7 p.m. at the VanHoose Education Center at 3332 Newburg Road.

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