LouisvilleKY schools focus of Harvard poverty study


Mayor Fischer, Superintendent Hargens and Community Leaders Begin Harvard Project to Tackle Systemic Poverty Issues

“By All Means” initiative kicks off with two-day session in Cambridge

CAMBRIDGE (May 19, 2016) – Mayor Greg Fischer, Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens and other Louisville leaders on Wednesday wrapped up two days of intensive learning at the first session of a two-year Harvard Graduate School of Education initiative to study and develop solutions to tackle the impact of poverty on education and child achievement.

“Over and over again, people share with me their dream to develop a system that gives every child a chance at success,” said Mayor Fischer. “I am excited Louisville is part of a select cohort to accelerate progress toward that goal. We know that there are no quick fixes and that solutions will require thoughtful change and time, but it is critical work for the future of our children and our city. “Jcps

Louisville is one of six cities selected to take part in this major education initiative aimed at reducing barriers to educational success caused by a child’s socioeconomic status.  The other participating cities are Oakland, Calif.; Providence, R.I.; Salem, Mass.; Somerville, Mass.; and Newton, Mass.

As outlined by Paul Reville, professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the initiative will focus teams on social service and health interventions, out of school time, and personalized learning, and it defines success by these measures:

  • Students can get and hold a 21st Century, high-skill, high-knowledge job that enables them to support a family;
  • Students become informed citizens and active leaders;
  • Students become heads of families and fulfilled lifelong learners.

Members of the Louisville team:

  • Mayor Greg Fischer, Louisville Metro Government
  • Donna Hargens, Jefferson County Public Schools
  • Joe Tolan, Metro United Way (represented by Amy Neal, Vice President Early Care and Education)
  • Mary Gwen Wheeler, 55K Degrees
  • Michael Gritton, KentuckianaWorks
  • Sadiqa Reynolds, Louisville Urban League (represented by Cassandra Webb, Youth Development Coordinator)
  • Mason Rummel, James Graham Brown Foundation
  • Tony Zipple, Seven Counties Services
  • Yvette Gentry, Community Building, Louisville Metro (represented by Rashaad Abdur-Rahman, Director of the Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods)

“The By All Means initiative aligns well with our strategic plan, and gives us an amazing opportunity to identify and develop the tools and supports our community needs for our kids to thrive and succeed,” said Dr. Hargens.

The team will be meeting frequently over the next two years, both in Louisville and at Harvard, and will engage the larger community with opportunities for involvement.