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JCPS Partners With Software Company to Encourage Classroom Websites

Jefferson County Public Schools has partnered with eChalk software to encourage schools and teachers to have a better web presence as teachers have recently shown an interest in a more user friendly platform.

JCPS schools and teachers have access to a web platform provided by the district, but it looks outdated. Now, click over to Wheatley Elementary School’s website and it looks new and information is easy to access.

Wheatley is one of three JCPS schools that was part of the eChalk pilot in 2010, said Jana Hickey, JCPS eLearning specialist. Now all schools and teachers will have access to the platform, she said.

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Louisville Hosting National Education Conference

Louisville will host a conference next week that focuses on new education standards, which were implemented last year.

The common core state standards aim to unify students’ curriculum with future college and career goals. Kentucky was among the first states to adopt the standards and now 45 states have signed on.

The commonwealth is hosting the conference because it already has strong relationships between K through 12 education and post-secondary institutions, said Robert King, president of Kentucky’s Department of Post Secondary Education.

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Greater Clark Schools, Wilson Education Center Receive Education Grants

The Indiana Department of Education has announced recipients of its Innovation Grant funding.

The ten winners across the state will share $2.4 million that will go toward student achievement programs. Greater Clark County Schools is receiving a $280,000. Teachers from the district will collaborate to create a model curriculum for the new education standards implemented this year, said Greater Clark Superintendent Stephen Daeschner.

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Kentucky Virtual High School Decides to End Classes

Kentucky’s 12-year-old Virtual High School program will end later this year as state officials consider a new approach to online education.

The state Department of Education has offered the virtual path to a diploma since 2000, but funding has remained at $800,000 since its inception making the program hard to grow, according to a 2009 report called “Breaking New Ground.” Interest in the program has remained consistent, with around 700 students taking online classes each year, said Bob Fortney, Kentucky Virtual High School program consultant.

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Charter School Supporters Prepare for House Education Committee Tuesday

Representatives from the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) are asking state lawmakers to move forward with charter school legislation this year.

BAEO representatives held a forum at Quinn Chapel Church in west Louisville Monday night. Nearly 50 people attended the event, where advocates rallied in support of charter school legislation. The key note speaker was Dr. Howard Fuller, a former superintendent of Milwaukee Public School District and co-founder of BAEO.

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JCPS Represented in Washington D.C. Summit For Turnaround Schools

Representatives from Jefferson County Public Schools are in Washington D.C. at an invitation-only National School Turnaround Summit.

The summit was moderated by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, but JCPS also shared the stage. Superintendent Donna Hargens, Jefferson County Teacher’s Association president Brent McKim and Western High School principal David Mike were all invited to share their experiences with 26 districts with helping turn around the district’s 22 persistently low achieving schools.

The conference helped education leaders share ideas and success in boosting low-achieving schools, said Hargens. Western High School principal David Mike shared the story of his school’s success. Western is one of 22 JCPS turnaround schools and met all testing goals last year.

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Kentucky, Indiana Granted Waiver From No Child Left Behind

Kentucky and Indiana have been granted a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind standards.

NCLB has been criticized the past few years as having unreachable goals for education. Kentucky and Indiana were among the 11 states that applied for the waiver last fall and 28 more states have announced they plan to seek waiver later this year. In the first round ten states were granted a waiver.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was in Jefferson County in November to discuss the application with Education Commissioner Terry Holliday, who told WFPL last week he felt confident that Kentucky would be granted a waiver.

The state will now be charged with implementing its own accountability system, which the state was been preparing since passing Senate Bill 1 in 2009. The system provides a new model for school growth and will award schools that make a certain amount of progress, said Kentucky Department of Education’s Lisa Gross. The “Unbridled Learning Accountability Model” gives schools credit for meeting broader goals like being college-and-career ready.

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JCPS Represented in Next-Generation Student Council

Jefferson County Public Schools will be represented in the Kentucky Department of Education’s Next-Generation Student Council.

Commissioner Terry Holliday created the council to give KDE ideas for how to improve the education system. The 11 member council is made up 10th and 11th grade students from across the commonwealth.

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Yale Students to Plan Urban Distillery in Louisville

A group of students from the Yale School of Architecture will visit Louisville this year to design an urban distillery downtown, though the project won’t necessarily result in the distillery being built.

The visit is part of Yale’s advanced design studios program. In addition to Kentucky, students in other studios will visit Venice, Denmark, Finland, Los Angeles and Switzerland. The latter trip will be led by Frank Gehry.

The Louisville team will be led by Deborah Berke, who was one of the lead designers of 21c. The students will visit various distilleries in the area, as well as in Columbus, Indiana, Cincinnati and New York. They will then design an urban distillery on the block across from Whiskey Row.

According to a statement announcing the project, the students will look for innovation through architecture in the spirits industry and offer “an opportunity to rethink urban manufacturing in the 21st Century.”

From the course outline:

We will study the logistics of material handling, the overlapping paths of goods, workers, visitors, waste, and traffic within the distillery and the city. We will confront the demands of energy consumption, water-use, hygiene, and the pungent odors for which distilleries are infamous. Students will be asked to consider the performative requirements for the architectural envelope in regards to scale, day-light, energy-use, interior climate, brand-identity, and transparency.

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JCPS Board Hears Results of Audit, 10 Recommendations Offered

The Jefferson County Board of Education has received its much anticipated curriculum management audit from Phi Delta Kappa International.

“We didn’t find chaos. We didn’t find a reason to abandon the system,” lead auditor Dr. John Murdoch told the JCPS board.

The board requested the audit last year to help support staff and student achievement. On Monday night, the firm presented the board with 24 findings and 10 recommendations including the one provided to JCPS last November. Auditors found several inadequacies and areas for improvement, but the district’s status is not as bad as the public may think, said Murdoch.