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Jefferson County Board of Education to Choose School of Innovation

The Jefferson County Board of Education is expected during Monday's meeting to choose a winner for the Schools of Innovationcompetition. 

The competition called for community members to submit proposals for a new public school concept. It began in December after the state designated Jefferson County Public Schools a Kentucky District of Innovation, which allows it to forego certain state education rules.

More than 60 applications were considered for the School of Innovation competition. 

The board will consider one of four finalists(here are details on each proposal),though one board member says she still needs more information from JCPS administrators before making a choice.

Linda Duncan, who represents District 5, said a 90-minute work session to discuss the competition before the meeting will not be enough to educate her on all of her options.

“I don’t feel like we are well prepared to make the best, informed decision,” she said.

Magnet School Task Force?

The board will also consider whether to develop a task force to study and process findings of a recent review of JCPS magnet schools. 

The review found that some of JCPS’ magnet schools and programs should be “phased out” and others need to be expanded. 

Related: Some JCPS Magnet School Programs Should Be Phased Out, Review Says

Students' Cell Phone Use

The board will also consider the future of cell phone use in JCPS schools. In September 2013 the board voted unanimously to begin allowing schools to apply for a waiver that would allow limited cell phone use in school.  Each schools’ policy on cell phone  use varied.

Related: JCPS Board Approves Cell Phone Use For Student Learning In Eight High Schools

The board will hear a report on how the use of cell phones in schools has impacted student learning and the school environment.

Amy Dennis, the assistant superintendent of schools in the district’s Area 2, said continuing to allow students to have limited access to cell phone during the school day is needed to ensure they have the knowledge needed for modern times.

“We want to teach kids to be thoughtful users of technology, how you can use your cell phone in public and do it well,” she said.  “We’re teaching students to be responsible digital citizens.”

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.