Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio tonight announced a new task force to reimagine and reshape the district’s alternative school programs.
“It’s time to rethink how we deliver services to our most at-risk students—ensuring that we’re providing them a quality education, relevant and career-focused opportunities and the comprehensive support services they need to thrive both in school and at home,” Dr. Pollio said.
The new model would establish separate programs and facilities for middle and high school students. Additionally, it would focus on providing career-focused opportunities to students by linking them to Academies of Louisville programming and providing a more personalized learning experience. This would allow students to make progress at the appropriate pace, instead of being confined by the restraints of a particular schedule structure.
“Currently, they’re all on traditional schedules, which is particularly challenging for students in an alternative-school setting, who are often behind,” said assistant superintendent Dr. Katy Zeitz, who oversees alternative schools and will serve as the task force chair. “Our goal is to reconnect and provide support to some of our most disenfranchised students. The task force will brainstorm and consider options, think through research-based programming and best practice strategies that work best for at-risk students and help vet new programs for JCPS.”
Dr. Zeitz is working closely with the JCPS Office of Diversity, Equity and Poverty Programs (DEP) to identify and select individuals within the district and community who can provide expertise and insight into relevant practices with at-risk and court-involved youth.
“Our task is: how do we build a situation that is safe and relevant, but also meets the social and emotional needs of students who have experienced the kinds of violence and trauma that some of our kids have seen?” Dr. Zeitz said. “We want to provide more wrap-around and therapeutic supports to students, and collaborate and partner with other city efforts around response to trauma, violence prevention and safe and healthy neighborhoods.”
The group will convene for the first time this spring. Pending any needed approvals from the Jefferson County Board of Education, changes to the district’s alternative school programs would be effective with the 2019-20 school year.