Ford Connects with Jefferson County Public Schools to Help Make Learning More Relevant & Engaging for Louisville Students
Jefferson County Public Schools was recently was named a Ford Next Generation Learning community at Southern High School. It’s the 18th community in the United States to earn this designation through the Ford Next Generation Learning initiative.
The goal of the program is to help districts and communities in implementing a plan that improves student performance and readiness for college and careers.
The Ford Motor Co. Fund and America’s Promise Alliance, which works to improve communities, will invest $100,000, with the Ford Fund providing $75,000 of the total to support the plan’s implementation.
Nearly a year ago, Ford launched a pilot program at five local high schools aimed at improving students’ college and career readiness.
Now, the program will be expanded to all of JCPS’ 15 5-Star Schools in an effort to improve graduation rates from 76.5% in 2013 to 83.7% in 2016 and decrease the dropout rate to 3.8% by 2016.
The pilot program was part of an 18-month process that involved more than 90 community leaders to draft a three-year master plan. The plan is intended to increase the number of students participating in career academies within Jefferson County’s 5-Star Schools professional career themed program that launched in 2010 at 15 of the district’s high schools.
The plan also calls for a board of senior business leaders who will focus on expanding employer engagement within the schools.
Over the past year, business leaders have been working with Ford and JCPS to improve college and career readiness through a number of initiatives such as externships, cohort scheduling, individual learning plan enhancement and data enhancement.
Cheryl Carrier, director of Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford Next Generation Learning, told Business First after the announcement that the business community’s involvement thus far has been “really unbelievable.”
“Generally, the business community wants to get involved in education but they don’t know what to do,” she said. “This process — it makes it very clear for the businesses because they’re part of the planning, part of the vision, and it becomes very clear to them how they can contribute and help.”