Partnership Between Louisville’s Two Largest Education Providers to Improve Kindergarten Readines

LOUISVILLE, KY (May 25, 2016)—Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D.; Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Donna Hargens; Jefferson County Public Education Foundation Executive Director Sam Corbett; and local foundation leaders today announced that the two largest education providers in Louisville are joining forces to expand summer camps that focus on preparing students for kindergarten.

“We are thrilled to celebrate both this partnership between the public and private school systems and the generous investment that made this collaboration possible,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “Bringing together both school systems will help us strengthen our kindergarten-readiness efforts to support children and families across the entire community. This will ensure our young people get a strong start in school and in life.”

Each year, approximately 8,000 children enter kindergarten in Louisville, and recent studies show that nearly one-half of students are not fully prepared with the basic knowledge to successfully transition to kindergarten. Incoming students are assessed for kindergarten readiness by using a state-approved screening tool that identifies strengths and weaknesses in their knowledge or cognitive ability.

“Right now, only 47.9 percent of our students are entering school ready for kindergarten. Meanwhile, we know that 71 percent of students who participated in our summer camps last year measured ready for kindergarten,” said Dr. Hargens. “With this expansion, our data analysts predict we could see a districtwide increase in the overall readiness of incoming kindergarten students of more than five percentage points. This would move the district above the current state average.”

Last summer, thanks to a grant from the C. E. & S. Foundation and the Jefferson County Public Education Foundation (JCPEF) and funding from JCPS, 300 students participated in the Ready 4K camps. This year, the Archdiocese of Louisville and the Catholic Education Foundation have joined the partnership, and the program will expand to serve 1,200 children at ten sites. Almost all of the students who participate in the four-week camps will be eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

“School readiness for all of our children is an important goal for the common good of our community,” said Archbishop Kurtz. “Our Catholic schools and parishes are excited to collaborate with our community partners to make this goal a reality.”

In addition to academic support, students will receive breakfast and lunch, and transportation to and from the camps will be provided. To apply for the camps, which will be held in July, visit


Funding for the camps totals $1.2 million and is being provided by the C. E. & S. Foundation, the Catholic Education Foundation of Louisville, the Archdiocese of Louisville, JCPS, JCPEF, the James Graham Brown Foundation, the Gheens Foundation, Delta Dental of Kentucky’s charitable initiative Making Smiles Happen, the VV Cooke Foundation, and the Lift a Life Foundation. For an inside look at the Ready 4K camps, visit

JCPS Camp Sites

  • DuValle Education Center
  • McFerran Preparatory Academy
  • Dawson Orman Education Center
  • George Unseld Early Childhood Learning Center
  • Jaeger Education Center
  • Academy @ Shawnee Early Childhood Center

Catholic School Sites

  • St. Stephen Martyr School
  • St. Nicholas Academy
  • St. Rita School
  • St. Bernard School


Ready 4K App

JCPS is also launching a Ready 4K app, which complements its Ready 4K website ( This free app features interactive games for pre-K children and tips for kindergarten readiness. The app is available on iTunes and Google Play.