Local News

Louisville this week gets its first look at the semi-finalists for Jefferson County Public Schools’ Schools of Innovation competition. 

Last year, JCPS asked the community to submit new, innovative concepts for schools—and 48 people or groups did. Its tied to the state’s Districts of Innovation program, which frees districts of some regulations in an effort to drive new approaches to education.

The goal is to reshape a JCPS school based on the winning Schools of Innovation submission starting in the 2015-16 academic year.

On Wednesday, JCPS will reveal the 12 semi-finalists. The submissions will be posted online for people to review, and JCPS will host a community forum on March 7 where the submitters can present their ideas, said Jonathan Lowe, the district’s student assignment director.

“It’s a really wide-ranging kind of set of things,” Lowe said of the submissions. “You know, some of them kind of reach back into more traditional ideas of what education looks like, and some are very future focused. A lot of them use resources of the community to either push the school out into the community or bring the community into the school.”

The semi-finalists were chosen by a review panel made up of JCPS administrators, teachers, community members and others. After the March meeting, the panel will come up with a slate of finalists for the Jefferson County Board of Education to consider.

A decision on which submission is implemented at a JCPS school is expected to be made this summer, Lowe said.

From the submissions that don’t make the cut, JCPS may still use parts of the concepts at other schools, Lowe added.

“I think it’s going to spark a whole bunch of new thinking on a number of levels over time,” he said.

We’ll bring you more on the Schools of Innovation submissions on Wednesday.