Listen to Details From the 12 Semifinalists in the JCPS School of Innovation Competition

Jefferson County Public Schools will on Monday night unveil the finalists from the 48 community submissions to design a new school.

The school district plans to open the winning School of Innovation design in the 2015-16 academic year. Last month, JCPS unveiled 12 semifinalists in the competition. Submitters included several teams of JCPS teachers, a group of Louisville museum leaders and a team of educators from Michigan.

Ideas range from a collaboration with those Louisville museums, flexible schedules, the use of real-time video for instruction and the creation of a Waldorf-style school.

The school district has a goal of increasing community involvement, Superintendent Donna Hargens said.

“Stakeholder involvement and engagement—we can’t do this alone, we can’t think through this alone,” she said. “We need everybody at the table.”

On Friday night, JCPS hosted a public forum where the 12 semi-finalists presented their ideas to the community and a review panel that will decide the finalists. You can listen to the 12 presentations below and read summaries of their ideas here.

Abby Terranova is a teacher at Byck Elementary School and part of a team proposing The Catalpa School, which is inspired by the less-structured, creativity-focused Waldorf approach. Terranova said there’s an advantage in the competition to being a JCPS educator—that they have direct knowledge of the issues, of what works and what does not. But she added that she’s pleased to see the community response. 

“I think that it’s encouraging to hear that there are different people in all different roles in the community working to find improvements or ways to better our education system,” Terranova said.

The School of Innovation competition is part of the school district’s designation by the state as a District of Innovation initiative, which frees districts from some rules and regulations in an effort to encourage new thinking. 

JCPS is accepting feedback on the competition here. Jonathan Lowe, the school district’s director of student assignment, said JCPS may use the submissions—48 in total—to inform school designs in the future.

School of Innovation finalists will be announced Monday night at the Jefferson County Board of Education meeting. The board is charged with choosing the winning design this summer.

WFPL will cover the meeting and let you know which are the finalists.

Joseph Lord

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

@joseph_Lord

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