By AMY CLIFFORD, CAROLINE KING, KATIE TALIAFERRO and KRISTEN THOMAS
The Louisville Reach Academy
An unprecedented opportunity is before our community. Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) is one of the Kentucky school districts selected by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) to become a District of Innovation. This designation allows a school district the opportunity to break out of the traditional structures of public education and try new and innovative ways to improve student achievement. As part of this initiative, JCPS conducted a community wide design competition to identify and develop innovative ideas for the creation of a new JCPS school conceptâ€”a School of Innovation. Our dream school, the Louisville Reach Academy is in the final four.
During the last year, we have worked on creating a vision for a school that will meet the needs of students in our community. From the beginning, we knew that our vision would encompass building a network of support for our students. For us, this translated into creating a school that, if selected, will serve as a â€œhub of servicesâ€ for the students we serve.
Throughout this process we had the pleasure of meeting with many community organizations and businesses. During these meetings the overwhelming response was a willingness to collaborate with us. They expressed an overwhelming desire to offer services, make donations, or create partnerships. These companies and organizations want to be a part of creating a stronger Louisville, but many simply were waiting to be asked.
Dr. James Calleroz White, Head of School at Louisville Collegiate, wrote earlier this year in the Voice-Tribune, â€œIf you want to partner with Louisville Collegiate School, I want to partner with you,â€ Calleroz White says. â€œIf you need tutoring, I want to see if I can get my kids to help your kids. If you need space â€“ any public school in this area who wants to use our space â€“ all you need to do is give me a call and you can use our space. No questions asked.â€
It is in this spirit that true change can happen in the Louisville community. Calleroz White continues, â€œFor me, itâ€™s that not only are we no better, we have an obligation to make sure that we can be better and we can help students in these different capacities.â€
This year as we approach the â€œback to schoolâ€ season, we encourage you to get involved. Make students in our community your obligation. Here are some ways to get started:
- Become an â€œEvery1 Readsâ€ volunteer http://every1reads.jefferson.kyschools.us/getinvolved.html
- Louisville Linked is in need of a variety of supports for students- contact to see how you can help http://louisvillelinked.jefferson.kyschools.us/pportal.html
- Donations of any kind (technology, school supplies, gently used books, recess equipment, time, new or gently used uniforms are always welcome)
- Volunteer to discuss your occupation to students or even just read a story
- Partner with the Volunteer Talent Center to market service learning opportunities for students in JCPS http://www.jefferson.kyschools.us/Programs/VolunteerTalentCenter/Service_Learning.html
- Get creative! Think about the time, talents, and treasures you can offer to the students in our JCPS community.
Schools, parents, and the community should all work together in partnerships to promote learning for all children in a school. These children are the future leaders of our village.