JCPS celebrates 'Signing Day' between 13 businesses, Academies of Louisville

JCPS seeks to establish 82 business partnerships by July 1, 2018 

By Toni Konz Tatman | JCPS Communications

principal and businessman sign paper celebrating partnership

Thirteen businesses signed partnerships with Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) on Tuesday as part of the district's Academies of Louisville initiative that seeks to equip high school students with the skills and know-how to meet the needs of a twenty-first-century workforce.

The announcement—made during the district's Signing Day ceremony held at Marion C. Moore School—also came with a call to action. JCPS needs a total of 82 established partnerships by July 1 for the start of the 2018-19 school year.

"Our business partners are working one-on-one with the Academies of Louisville to transform education, strengthen economic development, and increase community prosperity for all of us," said Acting JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio, adding that "what happens in our classrooms today impacts what happens in our world tomorrow."

“The academy model connects participating schools to committed business partners and links what students learn in the classroom to real-world experiences so that all academy graduates are prepared for college, career, and life, and ready to compete in a global economy," Pollio said. 

The Academies of Louisville initiative was launched at the start of the 2017-18 school year at 11 of the district's high schools and with plans to expand to more schools during the 2018-19 year. It's a model that benefits all students through a personalized learning experience within a small learning community; participation in hands-on, project-based learning; the development of twenty-first-century essential skills; and community involvement. 

"It's probably one of the best-kept secrets in America," said Larry Parker with UPS Airlines, which has partnered with the Academy @ Shawnee. "A lot of people don't know that you can go to high school and by the time you get out of high school, you can have your pilot's license. I think if more people knew about it, they would be flocking to it."

Local leaders said the academies initiative is the educational link to economic development in Louisville.

“One of our goals is for Louisville to be a city of lifelong learning, and the Academies of Louisville are a great boost to that effort,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “I encourage all Louisville businesses to get involved. This is an investment in your future and in our city’s future.”

The Academies of Louisville are built on the framework developed by Ford Next Generation Learning (NGL), which has been transforming education in communities across the United States for more than a decade. 

“For years, we have been seeking new ways to help students make the connection between their high school classwork and a career. The launch of the Academies of Louisville is a large and positive step in the right direction,” said Kent Oyler, president and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. “We now look forward to expanding our partnership, engaging new businesses, and seeing how our business and education leaders really make it their own.”

The 13 businesses that have signed on so far include the following: 

  • UPS at Academy @Shawnee High School 
  • New West Agency at Ballard High School 
  • GE Appliances at Doss High School 
  • Ford and Lantech at Jeffersontown High School 
  • Kentucky Kingdom at Marion C. Moore School 
  • Norton Healthcare at PRP High School 
  • Masonic Homes of Kentucky at Seneca High School 
  • Class Act Credit Union and Oxmoor Auto Group at Southern High School 
  • Paradise Tomato Kitchen at Valley High School 
  • Trilogy Health Services at Waggener High School 
  • Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville at Western High School 

Wayne D. Lewis Jr., executive director of educational programs with the Kentucky Education & Workforce Development Cabinet, says "the time is now to align Kentucky’s education and workforce development efforts to better prepare students for productive careers."

“We owe that to our students, and the twenty-first-century economy demands it," Lewis said. "The academies model has the potential to be a critically important tool for achieving that alignment.”

For more information on the Academies of Louisville, click here.

VIDEO | 13 inaugural business partners sign on to Academies of Louisville
Images from Business Signing Day

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