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Mayor and Superintendent Declare Joint Commitment to Improve Education

Thursday November 14, 2013

Goal is to drive success of students and future workforce

To compete in the 21st century global economy, Louisville must have an educated workforce that drives innovation, development and the creation of opportunity. That means significantly increasing the number of students who are prepared to succeed in school and life, Mayor Greg Fischer said today as he and Dr. Donna Hargens, Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent, signed a Joint Commitment to Improve Education Outcomes for Louisville.

Fischer took the occasion of unveiling renovations at the library at Westport Middle School to highlight the concrete ways the city and JCPS, the nation’s 28th largest public school district with more than 100,000 students, work together to make sure more children and young people are:

· Ready for School – enter kindergarten ready to learn.

· Successful in School – graduate from high school ready for college and careers.

· Prepared to Succeed – enter college (postsecondary education) and complete certificates or degrees.

“Louisville no longer only competes with cities such as Nashville, Indianapolis and Cincinnati, but also with cities around the world, from Singapore to Copenhagen,” Fischer said. “In the words of the Commitment, to “win in the 21st century global economy, our students need to be competitive with their peers throughout the world.”

The two leaders signed a three-page Joint Commitment that reinforces the 55,000 Degrees goal set out in the Greater Louisville Education Commitment signed in 2010 by 23 community leaders.

“Metro Government has been an invaluable partner as we continue our push to make JCPS the best urban school district in the country,” Hargens said.” The variety of services provided through this relationship have helped meet the needs of our students and their families so that the focus in the classroom can be achievement. Mayor Fischer and I are committed to strengthening this partnership as JCPS works to ensure every student graduates prepared to contribute to our community.”

Among other things, the JCPS-Metro Government “mutually accountable partnership” calls for collaborating on grant development opportunities, improving and expanding “Learning Places,” which are sites/programs throughout the community that extend learning time for students, exploring more joint use of facilities, developing data sharing agreements that allow for high quality service delivery, and reporting to the public on progress. The city has long been a partner with JCPS ranging from individual Metro Council members providing funding support for individual schools to sharing costs for long-standing programs such as the Louisville Education and Employment Program (LEEP) and Community Schools.

The Commitment is the result of regular meetings between the Mayor and Superintendent on concrete ways the city can support improved outcomes for students all along the education continuum. The city recognizes JCPS’ role within the classroom, and pledges to increase support for students and families outside of school, including working to:

· Increase family involvement in education;

· Improve access to quality out-of-school time programs, which have been shown to improve academic outcomes for students who participate on a regular basis;

· Devise more effective ways to retain and match talent to education, training, and employment opportunities;

· Work with business and industry to anticipate their workforce needs in order to shape the current and future activities and course offerings of educational institutions and training providers.

In addition to providing “relevant, comprehensive, quality instruction in order to educate, prepare, and inspire (its) students to learn,” JCPS will:

· Embrace innovative practices and programs;

· Increase partnerships with business and community to expand learning opportunities;

· Focus on personalized learning with a mastery approach to boost student achievement and college/career-readiness for all students.

The partners plan to hold regular joint meetings of the Superintendent’s and Mayor’s leadership teams, and to regularly report on progress.

“Dr. Hargens and I hope that other organizations will follow this lead, and declare the ways they can increase support for our students,” Fischer said.

The newly renovated Westport Middle School Community Library has since 1995 been a joint venture of the Jefferson County Board of Education and the city’s library system. At that time, the expanded library of the Westport Middle School began its service as a public library branch. During school hours, the Board of Education runs the library, and the city library system operates it during all other times.