JCPS holds first meeting outside headquarters in 20 years - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS holds first meeting outside headquarters in 20 years

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Board members gathered in the auditorium at Valley High School. They say meetings at schools are more accessible for nearby families and puts them face-to-face with their schools. Board members gathered in the auditorium at Valley High School. They say meetings at schools are more accessible for nearby families and puts them face-to-face with their schools.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It has been more than 20 years since Jefferson County Public Schools held a meeting outside headquarters, but board members visited Valley High School in Valley Station Monday night for their meeting.

The school is located on Dixie Highway about 13 miles from where board meetings are normally held.

Board members say it's a place that's more accessible for nearby families and puts them face-to-face with their schools.

There was a different vibe Monday night as you walked into the auditorium. Students playing violins greeted guests with music while others provided free health screenings and blood pressure checks. Those involved in Junior ROTC also presented the colors.

Valley High School -- a seven through 12 medical magnet -- is in southwest Louisville. The meeting held there on Monday was the first of its kind since 1993.

"The schools are where the action is," said JCPS Board President David Jones. He brought up the idea of holding the meetings outside of headquarters.

"Headquarters is really important," said Jones. "A lot of the analysis, money, and the things that go through there are crucial but the action is in the schools. The schools -- as Dr. Hargens says -- those are the centers of the universe so it's appropriate that we be here."

It took a lot of planning to make it all possible. All school board meetings are televised. JCPS staff tested microphones, wi-fi, cameras and projectors days and hours before the meeting.

"Actually we're only going to be able to do it at facilities that have the infrastructure to support it and this is a school that has the infrastructure to support it," said JCPS Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens. "So we won't be able to go every school, but we will be able to go to a school in every board member's district."

Dozens showed up Monday night, including 52 teachers recognized for earning National Board Certification.

"What a great opportunity, especially for this end of town," said Valley High School Principal Rob Stephenson.

He says parents have to be involved in their child's education.

"I tell you it's the number one thing," said Stephenson. "When parents get involved, attendance is better, attitude is better, grades are better, (and) kids become more involved in the school."

The board plans to hold a few similar meetings before the school year ends.

Members will likely decide on the next site in a couple of weeks.

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