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UofL and Atkinson Elementary celebrate partnership

March 3rd, 2009


UofL President James Ramsey talks with a JB Atkinson student after the morning assembly.

Erica Reed, a fourth grader at JB Atkinson Elementary School in Louisville doesn’t know what she wants to do when she grows up — but she does know that 2017 is the year she will go to college.

With help from the University of Louisville, Erica and her classmates have every reason to expect a bright future.

Working in partnership with Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), UofL will help transform Atkinson into a magnet for excellence in teaching and learning. The focus of this new magnet program will be to identify and implement effective approaches to teaching that engage students and help them learn in new ways.

Even the name of the school will change. In fall 2009 the school will open as the JB Atkinson Academy for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Atkinson is already a part of the university’s Signature Partnership Initiative, an effort to enhance quality of life and economic opportunities for residents of West Louisville. Building on that relationship, JCPS paired UofL with Atkinson as part of a new program to create clusters of magnet schools throughout the county.

During a celebration to kick-off the new magnet program, UofL President James Ramsey told the students to never give up on their dream of going to college.

“You can do it and you will do it,” said Ramsey.“Never has it been more important for you to go on to college.”

Ramsey called upon a crowd of UofL faculty and staff members to join him on the stage during the celebration to help distribute UofL t-shirts to the students in the class of the week. The t-shirts feature the school’s pledge which reads:


Lohelen Hambrick, College of Education and Human Development, greets an Atkinson student after the assembly. Adults from the school greet each student personally after assemblies.

I am proud of me
I am proud of my teachers
I am proud of my school
Each day I pledge to:
Show how much I care
Demonstrate character
Meet all challenges

UofL and Atkinson have been working together for years. The College of Education and Human Development sends six student teachers to Atkinson every day and some CEHD faculty members make weekly visits to the school. Ten students from the School of Nursing go to Atkinson on Wednesdays and a faculty member in the School of Music is introducing the students to the Suzuki String program.

Three students from the Kent School of Social Work work closely with Lisa Hirsch-Aarvig, who heads the Family Resource Center at Atkinson. One of the Kent students has volunteered to coach the girl’s basketball team.

Also, UofL Staff Senate member Tammy Lawson organized a drive to help fulfill the school’s wish list — a list of much-needed school supplies. In eight days, the university community contributed enough to fill eight large plastic tubs, plus more than $1,000 in cash donations. Lawson estimated that the total value of the donations topped $3,000.

Atkinson principal Dewey Hensley emphasized the importance of the UofL-Atkinson partnership.

“You create partnerships with people to make good things happen in your community and today we are celebrating our Signature Partnership with the University of Louisville,” he told the students.

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