JCPS school board to approve boundary lines, name new school in - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS school board to approve boundary lines, name new school in Norton Commons

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Proposed boundary change for the new elementary school (Courtesy: JCPS) Proposed boundary change for the new elementary school (Courtesy: JCPS)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After months of consideration, Jefferson County Public Schools will finally ask the school board Monday to name the district's newest school after the community in which it is located. 

"The name Norton Commons alludes to the history of the land, which was once owned by the Norton family, and also serves as a geographic reference," states the district's recommendation, which will be voted on at Monday's 7 p.m. meeting at the Van Hoose Education Center. "The rich history and community pride of the residents would be reflected in naming the school Norton Commons Elementary School."

In addition, the school board will be asked to a approve a plan for the assignment of students at the new school. The proposal being considered would draw the boundary using only Chancey Elementary School's existing boundary area and there would be no changes to Zachary Taylor Elementary School students.

"The recommended boundary has several advantages, including being the least disruptive and providing extra capacity within Cluster 10 for future growth," states the proposal.

Three names were being considered for the new school, which is located in the 595-acre community in northeastern Jefferson County where the school is being built:

  • Stephen Tyra Elementary (former district principal who retired in June after 27 years with the district) 
  • Jack Crowner Elementary (legendary veteran broadcaster who passed away last year)
  • Norton Commons Elementary (Norton Commons donated the land the school is being built on to JCPS years ago)

Michael Raisor, JCPS chief operations officer, said the district received numerous letters from community members, lawmakers and others who support naming the school Norton Commons Elementary. Seventeen of those letters are attached the school board's agenda for Monday night.

"As a result of the school’s location, the school will have access to Norton Commons’ parks and amenities and it is fitting to choose a name that reflects this distinctive community," Raisor said.

At the Oct. 12 school board meeting, retired teacher Judith Caldwell addressed the board about the naming of the school. She made the initial recommendation to name it after Tyra.

"In June, JCPS posted a notice that stated your input is wanted in choosing a school name, I attended this meeting which was hosted by school board member Stephanie Horne," Caldwell told board meetings. "Stephen Tyra's name was selected as one of the top three school name choices. In fact, Stephen R. Tyra Elementary was the top choice overall. We were told at the conclusion of the meeting that preference would be given to the name recommended by the citizens."

Neither Raisor nor Horne could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.

The school, which will cost approximately $15 million to build and have a capacity of 650 students, will open at the start of the 2016-17 year. 

Officials considered four things in drawing the boundary lines, including the number of students the building can accommodate, the number of students who attend JCPS, the continued development at Norton Commons and the expected development in other parts of northeastern Jefferson County.

District officials say that even though the school is being built in Norton Commons, it is not a school just for that community — it will serve students across the entire county.

Board member Diane Porter was the only person to vote against the school over concerns that the district had plenty of open seats at other elementary schools. She also said she was worried the new school would not fit within the perimeters of the student-assignment plan, which looks at race, income and education levels of students' neighborhoods when assigning children to schools.

PREVIOUS | Retired principal, legendary broadcaster among names being considered for new JCPS school

PREVIOUS | New JCPS elementary school at Norton Commons has list of three possible names

PREVIOUS | JCPS school board to discuss Norton Commons school boundary lines

In addition, the school board is also being asked to name the district's new early childhood education center at the former Presbyterian Community Center site on Hancock Street the Ernest "Camp" Edwards Education Complex.

According to the district recommendation, Edwards was a Smoketown native who received his Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Louisville. He worked in several county youth programs while also instructing as a professor at Jefferson Community College.

"He instilled values by mentoring young people of the community through leadership roles at his church, Grace Hope Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Community Center," the proposal reads.

PREVIOUS | JCPS expansion of early childhood education begins with reopening of Presbyterian Community Center

Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter. 

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