News – Compassionate Schools Project - Page 6
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The Compassionate Schools Project team was honored to host Jefferson County Public Schools elementary school principals at a reception at the home of Christy Brown, one of the project’s tremendous supporters yesterday evening. We enjoyed the opportunity to express our appreciation and get to know our wonderful new colleagues a little better as we shared information about our plans to introduce a world-class health and wellness curriculum being developed by the University of Virginia in Jefferson County and to study the curriculum’s effectiveness.

During the brief speaking program, Mayor Greg Fischer discussed his role in helping to make the project a reality. Having made compassion central to his governing mission and to Louisville’s identity, he asked Owsley Brown III to champion entrepreneurial initiatives that could boost the city’s and its citizens’ capacity for caring and wellness. Owsley learned that a team of educators and scientists at his alma mater, the University of Virginia, were looking for a school district to implement and study a groundbreaking curriculum based on the latest neuroscience and education research. He made the introductions between U.Va. and JCPS and it was an instant match.

JCPS Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donna Hargens explained why. Already an innovator in the use of health and physical education hours, JCPS saw in the Compassionate Schools Project a curriculum that: 1) brought practical living time to a new level of excellence; 2) aligned perfectly with the district’s strategic plan and state standards; and 3) brought new resources into the district through philanthropic funding.

Principal investigator Dr. Patrick Tolan described the incredibly warm welcome the University of Virginia team has received, especially for the U.Va. professor deployed in Louisville, Alexis Harris. Curriculum expert and author of Mindfulness for Teachers, Dr. Tish Jennings, joined Patrick to offer more detail about the project and to thank the principals for their extraordinary leadership.