Sunday August 18, 2019
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Mayor Greg Fischer today joined representatives from Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville Urban League, community organizations and local youth to kick off Louisville’s participation in National Youth Violence Prevention Week, a week-long initiative to raise violence prevention awareness and strategies for youth, parents, teachers, school personnel and community members to prevent youth violence before it happens.

“We owe it to our youth to do all we can as a community to keep them, their families and our neighborhoods safe, because witnessing violent crime, worrying about violent crime or being part of a violent crime should never be normal for any child,” Mayor Fischer said. “This week shows the important role young people can have, and want to have, in making their communities safer.”

From April 8 to April 12, nearly 100 activities, trainings, art projects and anti-violence campaigns will be held by Louisville schools and other youth-serving organizations throughout the community. This year’s theme is “Be A Superhero: Activate your Superpowers.”

The week is a partnership among Mayor Fischer’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, Jefferson County Public Schools, Cities United, Brown-Forman, Community Foundation of Louisville, Metro United Way, Peace Education, Centerstone, Muhammad Ali Center, Center for Women and Families, Louisville Metro Police and other groups, and part of a national initiative organized by Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), an initiative of Newtown, Connecticut-based group Sandy Hook Promise.

“Our students are taking innovative steps to ensure a positive culture and climate in our schools, not just this week but throughout the year,” said Dr. Marty Pollio, superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools. “From developing campaigns to building strategies to peacefully resolve issues, our school communities are coming together to lead by example. Safety is our highest priority and the efforts underway right now highlight our commitment to protecting students.”

According to SAVE, 60 percent of American children are exposed to violence, crime or abuse in their homes, schools or communities.

National Youth Violence Prevention Week is just one of the efforts coordinated by the Office of Safe and Health Neighborhoods, created by Mayor Fischer in 2013 and charged with helping create a city of safe neighborhoods, where everyone is supported, free of violence, and prepared for lifelong success.

The Mayor said he was “proud of the work the city has done to promote public safety and violence in Louisville.”  

As part of a comprehensive strategy that ranges from prevention, to enforcement to reentry, the city has reduced homicides by 30 percent.

Through the city’s violence interruption programs, 212 gunshot victims have been assisted since its creation. In January of 2019 alone, more than 200 hours were spent engaging patients in the University of Louisville Emergency Room, plus hundreds of hours in the Russell, Portland and Shawnee neighborhoods engaging individuals and families at risk of being impacted by gun violence.

The city’s Pivot to Peace program has reduced injury recidivism among 95 percent of its participants. The Community Response team has connected more than 300 individuals and families to trauma-related services within 48 hours of an incident taking place.  

The Mayor highlighted the success of the Reimage program, a collaboration between the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods and KentuckianaWorks. More than 500 young people have enrolled in the program that helps to break the cycle of crime and violence by connecting young people to training, jobs and education.  

Reimage is actively recruiting young people right now for training that can quickly set them on a career path in key fields such as IT, manufacturing, construction and youth development. Those wanting to participate in the Reimage program can find more information here.  

“This will be the second consecutive year that Louisville has participated in this national effort. It’s an opportunity to lift up the powerful work happening locally led by our brilliant youth, and to intentionally engage them as architects to solutions for violence” said Rashaad Abdur-Rahman, Director of Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods.

Throughout the week, JCPS students will be:

  • Engaging in random acts of kindness;
  • Learning lessons centered around conflict resolution;
  • Holding compliment days where students will say nice things and give praise to peers;
  • Learning about three steps to violence prevention – look for warning signs, act immediately to prevent a violent incident, say something to a trusted adult;
  • Holding awareness walks to encourage students to resolve issues without violence. 

Participants are encouraged to use the social media hashtags #LouYVPW and #NYVPW.

Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) today opened the application period for prospective charter schools with the release of its Request for Charter School Applications (RFCSA).  Applications, for schools looking to open in the 2020/21 school year, are due at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019.

The process includes a review by district personnel and community partners of each application submitted, applicant interviews and public comment.

This is the second cycle for charter school applications that JCPS has held.  The district opened its inaugural application cycle this spring – the only Kentucky school district to do so since passage of charter school legislation in 2017.

“Although the legislation made every district school board a charter school authorizer, JCPS is the only district to actually be proactive in putting together a process to be in compliance with the law,” said Cassie Blausey, JCPS executive administrator for school choice.

The Jefferson County RFCSA will include the Kentucky Charter School Application as well as additional questions specific to community needs in Jefferson County.  In addition, the RFCSA will include more information about the form, format and information required for the completion of the application.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Blausey at, or at (502) 485-3138, for more information.

The Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) District is reminding families that the application period for 2019-20 school year enrollment in JCPS ends December 19. All incoming kindergartners, students who are new to JCPS, students who have had a change of address, and any student who wants to be considered for a magnet school or program should register.

Families can register using the JCPS website or by visiting any JCPS school or the JCPS Parent Assistance Center at 4309 Bishop Lane. Parents or guardians should bring a photo ID and any one of the following: utility bill, lease, house contract, paycheck stub or government-issued check.

Parents who have questions regarding school registration may call 485-6250.

Families can learn more about the school choices available in JCPS here.

Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and the 15th District Parent Teacher Association (PTA) invite Louisville community members to “Take What You Can Tote” at a clothing giveaway this week.

The annual Take What You Can Tote! event will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Clothing Assistance Program (CAP) building, 319 S. 15th Street. Tables and racks of gently used clothing and accessories for men and women will be available free on a first-come, first-served basis. Items include men’s and women’s pants, shirts, shoes, belts, purses, hoodies, T-shirts, jackets, accessories and other assorted items.

While this particular clothing giveaway does not include children’s clothing or uniforms, CAP does provide new uniforms and gently used clothing to district families, by appointment, throughout the year. Families needing assistance should contact their child’s Family Resource and Youth Services Center (FRYSC) coordinator to make an appointment.

Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) is launching a new satellite office and inviting families to be a part of the process.

The new office will be located at the West Market Street entrance of The Academy @ Shawnee. On Monday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m., the district is hosting a conversation at the location, offering JCPS families and community members the opportunity to learn more about the goals of the office and share their ideas on what services they would like to see there.

“A strong commitment to family engagement has been a priority for me as superintendent,” Dr. Marty Pollio said. “A second satellite office in JCPS is one more important way we can deliver much-needed resources and services to families—and we’re excited to hear directly from them about how we can best provide that support through the opening of this new location.”

The community conversation will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at 4018 W. Market Street, West Wing. The new office is expected to open early next year.

In January 2018, Superintendent Pollio cut the ribbon on the district’s first-ever satellite office, which is located inside the California Community Center on West St. Catherine Street. The office is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) today opened a survey to gather input from parents, students and community members as the district reviews and considers changes to its student assignment plan. The survey runs through Friday, Dec. 21.

“Community input is absolutely vital to this process,” JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said. “The survey offers another avenue for families and stakeholders to weigh in on the issues and values that are important to them as the district reviews and updates how students are assigned to school. Our goal is clear: maintain our commitment to a diverse learning environment and meet the needs of the community; to do that effectively, we need to hear from as many voices as possible.”

Information from the survey, and from a series of community listening sessions held earlier in November, will help form a recommendation to the Jefferson County Board of Education in early 2019. Changes to the plan would begin being implemented in the 2020-21 school year.

The district reviews its student assignment plan every five to seven years and makes changes as necessary. Since the current student assignment plan was approved, multiple factors have changed, including population shifts and changing student demographics; passage of a racial equity policy; a districtwide review of JCPS facilities and magnet programs and policies; and the state audit.

The survey is available here. In addition, students, parents and community members will be selected at random to complete the survey, making sure to include respondents from specific groups and organizations to ensure an accurate report.

By Jennifer Brislin – JCPS Communications

Some students gear down their learning when they leave the classroom, but Saif Haqi revs his up.

That’s when the Southern High School senior, a student in the school’s Automotive Engineering Academy, heads to the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) bus garage, where, as part of his yearlong co-op, he immerses himself in the workings of a professional auto maintenance facility and shadows seasoned mechanics as they maintain the district’s vast fleet of buses.

The job earns him $10 an hour, valuable industry experience, and the opportunity to get his foot in the door with a potential employer.

“I’m learning a lot things, and I’m 70-80 percent certain I want to stay in this job. I really love it,” he said, adding that the work means more to him because “I’m basically doing something for my school.”

That’s just the reaction JCPS is hoping for.

The auto mechanic co-op is just one of 10 apprenticeship programs that JCPS will launch this year in a broad scope of fields, ranging from early childcare and graphic design to information technology and culinary arts.

In fact, “JCPS is offering registered apprenticeships in more industry sectors than any other program sponsor in Kentucky,” according to Diana Jarboe, registered apprenticeship program coordinator with the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The apprenticeships will give students an opportunity to ‘earn as they learn,’ and offer JCPS the chance to develop and hire home-grown talent.

“The talent we’re seeing in our kids is incredible,” said Christy Rogers, JCPS assistant superintendent of transition readiness.  “We have a tremendous opportunity to not only reinforce what they’re learning in the classroom with actual hands-on experience, but we can benefit by preparing our own future employees to succeed by training them in the settings they’ll be working under.”

Apprenticeships are one of the core tenets of the JCPS Academies of Louisville initiative, offering students the chance to earn money while they gain vital industry-specific experience.

The move underscores the importance of apprenticeship programs to businesses, which depend on the continued development of workers adept in increasingly technical and high-skilled fields.  Employers not only gain experienced workers who are trained to industry and employer-specific quality standards; professional apprenticeship training also reduces turnover, increases productivity and lowers job training costs.  Businesses across the country are highlighting the impact of apprenticeship programs as part of National Apprenticeship Week, which runs through Nov. 18.

Randy Frantz, director of transportation for JCPS, said auto mechanics are in high demand, and, with an unemployment rate around 4 percent, it’s difficult to find trained and certified mechanics.  

“Hopefully, we’re producing a pipeline for future mechanics,” he said.  “And at the end of the co-op, they may just decide to make a career out of being a JCPS mechanic.”

It’s a similar goal in the area of early childhood, where there’s a shortage of highly skilled, qualified educators, according to coordinator Stephanie Johnson.  The apprenticeships will lessen the impact of vacancies in the district while allowing students to work with mentors and gain hands-on experience.

“Our hope is to grow our own employees and resolve our own staffing issues through the utilization of our students while they’re in high school,” she said. “And when they graduate, they’ll have the skills necessary to seek gainful employment, and maybe they’ll stay with JCPS.”

John Owen, an automotive instructor at Southern High School, said the apprenticeship opportunities bring real meaning to what students have learned in the classroom.  “They’ll be working with an employer who is continually educating these kids; they’re going to grow leaps and bounds,” he said.

The pay may be what entices them, he said, but the practical experience is just as valuable.  “An apprenticeship is the end of that long four-year process, where everything comes to fruition.  I think it matures them a bit.”

Perhaps most significantly, the students themselves see the benefit of an apprenticeship program. “The students talk about what a great opportunity this is,” said James McCabe, the talent development academy coach at Southern.  “This is a success because I know it can lead to a career job for our kids.  They could literally work for JCPS if that’s what they want to do.”

JCPS apprenticeship fields include:

  • Accounting Technician
  • Automotive Technician Specialist
  • Cook
  • Early Childcare
  • Graphic Designer
  • Information Technology
  • Kentucky Diesel Mechanic Work
  • Kentucky Office Manager/ Administrative Services
  • Maintenance Repairer, Building
  • Medical Assistant