Spalding University unveils new restorative justice program to lower youth incarceration rate Thursday, Sep 29 2016 

Spalding_university

Spalding University has announced the establishment of its new Center for Restorative Justice, which will feature a program aimed at lowering youth incarceration rates in Kentucky. In a press release issued Thursday, Spalding stated the Center for Restorative Justice will focus on compassion, restorative practices and improved behavioral and mental health outcomes for youth through its Center […]

REimage program expands to give more LouisvilleKY youth a second chance, help prevent violence Monday, Sep 26 2016 

Initiative targets third west Louisville neighborhood, Park Hill

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 26, 2016) – Mayor Greg Fischer and Rashaad Abdur-Rahman, director of the city’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, today announced the expansion of REImage, an initiative that helps stop the cycle of crime and violence by intervening with youth who have been charged with a crime or are at high risk of criminal behavior.

Over the next year, the program will work with up to 250 youth, ages 16-24, helping them stay in school, further their education, get a job, navigate the court system and address drug and alcohol issues.

“Connecting with these young people and giving them a second chance is not only the right thing to do, it’s a key part of our strategy for preventing violence and creating safer neighborhoods,” the Mayor said. “Connecting them to education and jobs increases their chance for success, while simultaneously reducing the odds that they will be further involved in crime and violence.”

Launched in September 2015 by the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, REimage has targeted youth in the Shawnee and Russell neighborhoods and is now expanding to include the Park Hill area.

reimage

In its first year, REimage has worked with 109 youth, exceeding its enrollment goal. Among program participants, 52 were placed into jobs, 10 entered college or postsecondary training and 45 completed workforce education.

The Mayor started REimage to build on the work of two federally funded programs known as Right Turn and Right Turn 2.0, which began in 2014. With federal support for Right Turn having ended earlier this year, and funding for Right Turn 2.0 ending in 2017, Mayor Fischer and the Metro Council put $500,000 in the current city budget to continue a comprehensive intervention effort under the single name of REimage.

Since 2014, nearly 600 youth total have been served through Right Turn and REimage.

Abdur-Rahman said the key to the success of REimage is the direct contact youth participants have with the program’s case managers and adult volunteer mentors. The mentors help provide a strong role model in addition to helping young people set and meet personal goals related to education, jobs and family and personal issues.

“REimage is a great example of how we can sustain investments in our youth, and in a real way, support young folks who are trying to change their lives,” he said. “The commitment we are making to this program is very encouraging, and we need the help of businesses and employers who not only recognize the added value to our city, but understand how this is part of how we come together to secure a safer more vibrant community.”

To that end, he and the Mayor said, many more adult mentors are needed, and they urged people throughout the community to consider volunteering. All volunteers will be screened and trained. Individuals and organizations interested in mentoring should contact the Kentucky Youth Career Center at 574-4115 or apply online at kentuckianaworks.org.

Recruitment for REimage, which is run by KentuckianaWorks, will focus primarily on the Russell, Shawnee and Park Hill neighborhoods of west Louisville, although eligible youth from other areas across the community can also participate.

Youth are also referred to the program from the Department of Juvenile Justice, Louisville Metro Youth Detention Services, Department of Community-Based Services, the Louisville Public Defender, YMCA Safe Place, Kentucky Youth Career Center, Restorative Justice Louisville, local high schools and other partners.

Assistance with navigating the court system is provided to youth through a contract with the Legal Aid Society.

The original Right Turn program was funded by an Institution for Educational Leadership grant of nearly $750,000 awarded to KentuckianaWorks in 2013. Only four other organizations – in Nashville, Houston, Los Angeles and Lansing — received similar grants.

Right Turn 2.0 was funded by a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration.

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Mayor Fischer moves his office to LouisvilleKy’s IdeaFestival Monday, Sep 26 2016 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (September 26, 2016) — For the sixth year, Mayor Greg Fischer and his leadership team are relocating their offices to the IdeaFestival in an effort designed to encourage breakthrough thinking.

This year, the Mayor’s temporary office will include the Louisville prototype of a “parklet” — a small public park that serves as an extension of a sidewalk over an on-street parking space. The prototype, called “The Community Table,” will be inside the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, where Mayor Fischer’s team can interact with festival attendees. The parklet was designed and fabricated by Gresham, Smith and Partners, and Nomi Design. At the conclusion of IdeaFestival, the parklet prototype will move to outside space at The Table restaurant in Portland.

“Louisville is a city where ideas can form and grow to change the world, and moving our offices to IdeaFestival is a symbol of how Metro Government leads by example,” Mayor Fischer said. “The parklet is another innovation that festival-goers will be able to check out, and I encourage citizens to stop by to meet with my team and share their own innovative ideas.”

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

The Mayor’s Office staff will be working out of the Kentucky Center lobby Tuesday through Friday.

IdeaFestival brings global innovators and thinkers to Louisville for events and presentations. Tuesday’s program features Thrivals, a future-focused, innovative learning experience that sets the tone for the event each year and caters to broad thinkers of all ages, with a focus on high school and college students.

Other festival presenters and topics include:

MIT theoretical physicist Alan Lightman is the author of many books and essays on science, as well as five works of fiction. At IF, he explores how science and the humanities intersect and contribute to our understanding of the universe.

Few people have not seen the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1972 photograph of nine-year-old Kim Phuc, the victim of a napalm attack, running naked down a road in Trang Bang, Vietnam. Kim, now a Canadian citizen, comes to IF to share her story.

Cognitive scientist and philosopher Susan Schneider discusses her work for NASA that delves into the question: If we were to encounter extraterrestrial intelligence and consciousness … what might it “look” like and would we even recognize it?

Virtual reality (VR) is rapidly emerging as perhaps the next big thing in work, entertainment and medicine. Ben Kuchera, senior opinions editor at the video game and technology website Polycom.com, discusses (and demonstrates) VR and where it’s headed.

Award-winning science journalist Sonia Shah explores the history and future of pathogens, including the profound influence of global developments on future trends.

A full schedule and ticket information are available at www.ideafestival.com.

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UofL Foundation board nears compromise with trustees on independent audit of foundation finances Friday, Sep 23 2016 

uofl university of louisville

Following weeks of tension between the boards of the University of Louisville and its nonprofit foundation, the chairs of both boards appeared happy with a compromise reached Friday on the terms by which the foundation’s finances will be audited by an independent, national accounting firm. After nearly two hours in a closed executive session, the […]

U of L Foundation To Share Oversight Of Financial Audit Friday, Sep 23 2016 

University of Louisville leaders nailed down plans Friday for a financial audit of its Foundation.

The decision ended weeks of arguments between the members of the Foundation and university boards over who gets to pick, and direct the work of, an independent auditing firm. They ultimately agreed both boards should have a role.

A joint committee, led by new Foundation board member Diane Medley, will oversee the audit after U of L solicits and hires a firm.

The moves come in response to a turbulent year of scrutiny of the Foundation’s finances, governance and leadership, culminating last week with former university president James Ramsey’s resignation from the Foundation.

“I think the future going forward is bright,” Foundation chair Brucie Moore said Friday. “I think that this is a transitionary period.”

The Foundation board also created a committee Friday that will look at the Foundation’s governance structure. A state audit is underway on the same topic, and Moore said she expects the results this fall.

Until last week, the Foundation’s leader was Ramsey, who held a dual role while university president until he left via a $690,000 buyout in July. But the board on Friday created an executive director position, and will conduct a national search to find a permanent executive director.

Moore said the board plans to hire an interim executive director in the meantime.

The Foundation’s chief financial officer, Jason Tomlinson, also gave a presentation Friday on the endowment’s performance under Ramsey. Tomlinson defended the Foundation’s money management in light of a recent story by the Courier-Journal that said the $681 million endowment has dropped dramatically in value since 2006.

Tomlinson said the diversity of the Foundation’s assets have insulated it from worse losses.

“Our endowment goals are for a long period of time… the track record of the endowment speaks for itself,” Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson also discussed a $38 million loan the university made to a Foundation subsidiary called University Holdings Inc., first reported by WDRB. According to Tomlinson, it was an investment, not a loan, and the University of Louisville Board of Trustees should have known about the line of credit because it was included in an audit report.

Larry Benz, chair of the trustees and a Foundation board member, said that neither board approved the transaction and it violated the Foundation’s short-term money policy.

Overall, Benz said, the financial information presented reinforced the need for an audit.

Kate Howard can be reached at khoward@kycir.org and (502) 814.6546.

Disclosure: In 2015, the University of Louisville, which for years has donated to Louisville Public Media, earmarked $3,000 to KyCIR as part of a larger LPM donation. University board members Stephen Campbell and Sandra Frazier have donated to KyCIR.

U of L Trustees Talk Of Accord Amid Bitter Public Dissent Thursday, Sep 22 2016 

Leaders of the University of Louisville and its foundation pledged Thursday to continue working through their differences even amid more public dissent.

U of L Board of Trustees chair Larry Benz and U of L Foundation chair Brucie Moore vowed to reach amicable solutions for the university and the nonprofit that financially supports its programs. But a power struggle between the two entities hasn’t gone away and on Thursday they continued to spar over who will oversee a Foundation audit.

“Both Chair Moore and I are committed to working together… to reconcile, and come up with creative solutions, to get us to the restored confidence from the community in the Foundation,” Benz said.

Moore said she’s worked to address concerns over the Foundation’s governance since her election as its board chair last week, and that she was glad to hear Benz agreeing “with many of the comments I’ve already made.”

“Unity is important but most important is to bring confidence to the university, including the Foundation,” Moore said.

The public show of unity came a couple hours after heated discussion. Benz was re-elected as chair as part of an all male slate of officers, creating an all-male executive committee.

Moore joined trustees Marie Abrams, Bob Hughes and faculty representative Enid Trucios-Haynes in criticizing the lack of female representation. No one nominated an alternate slate, however.

Moore also drew criticism for saying the Foundation board would move forward with selecting a nationally recognized firm to conduct a Foundation audit. When Benz threatened a lawsuit earlier this month, he laid out a “pathway to restored confidence” that included letting the university trustees oversee an audit.

“I ask everyone to simmer down, take a breath, let this group meet and see what their request is… and let’s all move forward,” Moore said.

Trustee Craig Greenberg said Moore appeared to be thumbing her nose at the board.

Moore noted that lots had changed since she supported a resolution to sue the Foundation, notably James Ramsey’s resignation from his position as president of the Foundation. She said the tone of the discourse needs to change, too.

Moore claimed Benz called her last week and demanded fast action to avoid a lawsuit — a statement that contradicted his most recent public pronouncement.

“I will not be bullied like this,” Moore said.

Asked later about the allegation, Benz said he’s made public his requests and letters laying out his concerns.

“We remain committed to that, but we also remain committed to working together for the mutual benefit of the University of Louisville,” Benz said.

There was no discussion Thursday of a WDRB story that found the U of L Foundation has withdrawn as much as $60 million from the endowment since 2008 and loaned it to its own real estate company. Moore said she hadn’t read the story yet.

Kate Howard can be reached at khoward@kycir.org and (502) 814.6546.

Disclosure: In 2015, the University of Louisville, which for years has donated to Louisville Public Media, earmarked $3,000 to KyCIR as part of a larger LPM donation. University board members Stephen Campbell and Sandra Frazier have donated to KyCIR.

UofL Foundation board to ‘move quickly on critical issues’ of audit and hiring interim director Tuesday, Sep 20 2016 

uofl Foundation

The University of Louisville Foundation’s board of directors will meet Friday to “move forward on critical issues,” according to a press release sent out by its newly elected chairwoman Brucie Moore. The meeting will address an audit of the foundation and complying with open records requests — a recent point of contention with the UofL Board of […]

LouisvilleKY’s Metro Corrections and Seven Counties Services launching new ‘Second Chance’ program Tuesday, Sep 20 2016 

Goal is to reduce recidivism among ‘dual diagnosis’ inmates

LOUISVILLE (September 20, 2016) – Mayor Greg Fischer announced a new program today that is designed to reduce recidivism at Louisville Metro Corrections by better ensuring that people arrested while battling mental health challenges and substance abuse get the support necessary to make more stable lives for themselves when released from jail.

The Second Chance Reentry Grant Program is a two-year, $600,000 project, funded by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Second Chance Act Reentry Program for Adults with Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Disorders. Seven Counties Services is the community provider, based on its success with diversion services for adults with serious mental illness over the past 38 years.

Photo from Mayor Fischer's Twitter page

Photo from Mayor Fischer’s Twitter page

In a press conference today, the Mayor was joined by Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton and Seven Counties Services president and CEO Tony Zipple in outlining the program, which targets “dual diagnosis inmates,” who are among the jail’s most challenging population – and who are often repeat offenders.

Research findings reported by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2015 suggest that nationally, more than 70 percent of offenders have substance abuse disorders, and that up to 34 percent of jail inmates have a recent history of mental disorders — rates that greatly exceed those among the general population.

Studies also indicate that more than 60 percent of justice-involved individuals with severe mental illness have co-occurring substance use disorders.

That’s also true for Louisville, where the Metro Department of Corrections is one of the region’s largest mental health and substance abuse treatment and detox facilities. There are approximately 100 people arrested and booked in the jail each day, and many of them are dealing with these kinds of challenges, which cause them to cycle in and out of jail regularly.

“These inmates face huge challenges in finding the opportunity and support necessary to keep them from re-offending,” Mayor Fischer said. “And helping them find that support is of benefit to all citizens. It helps provides our neighbors with the opportunity for a better life, which in turn helps reduce crime.”

As part of the new Second Chance program, Seven Counties will do an inmate risk assessment to ensure the program would be beneficial. Then, after receiving court approval, staffers will work to enroll the inmate in intensive outpatient treatment immediately upon release, with case management, peer support and follow-up. That includes assistance with treatment, housing and other financial and health needs.

The Second Chance team consists of the Seven Counties Court Liaison, a therapist, two case managers, and two peer support specialists, who will work closely with the courts, LMDC and various community-based providers to assess, admit, monitor, intervene and transition participants back to the community.

Second Chance, which designed to serve approximately 80 individuals over the course of the next two years, began implementation in July, and currently has three active participants.

Eligible inmates must be 18 years old and a resident of Jefferson County whose offenses include things like assault , burglary, criminal mischief; criminal trespass and misdemeanor narcotics. Cases involving the use of a firearm are excluded from the program.

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Here’s Why You May Want A College Degree, Even To Be A Bartender Tuesday, Sep 20 2016 

Along with the gender and racial wage gap, income disparities may also exist within the same profession. And the education divide may be a factor.

If you’re a bartender, for example, with a Bachelor’s degree — a job that doesn’t require it — you still might earn more than a bartender without a degree. That’s according to Dewayne Matthews, vice president of strategy development at Lumina Foundation, an organization seeking to increase the number of Americans with a post-secondary degree or other recognized credential to 60 percent by 2025. Currently, a little more than 40 percent of Americans aged 25 and older hold an Associate degree.

Matthews says economic growth is dependent upon the skill level of the population.

“We’re at a knowledge economy,” he says. “And the demand for the people who have the necessary knowledge and skills is what’s really driving the economy.”

Matthews says there are two types of skills a worker might possess: general and technical. General skills include the foundational skills you learn in school: problem solving, critical thinking, abstract reasoning, among others.

“These skills don’t desert you when your industry collapses,” he says.

Technical skills, on the other hand, are particular to an occupation. Matthews says employers are willing to pay more for workers with the right blend of know-how.

“There’s something magical about the combination of general skills and technical skills,” he says. “And it’s those people who have both that are doing best in this economy.”

That may be why the commonwealth is pushing for more of its population to be educated. The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education released an accountability report earlier this month that showed how the state is doing in areas that include student success, college readiness and education attainment.

In 2013-2014, the CPE aimed for more than 37 percent of Kentucky adults ages 25-44 to acquire an Associate degree or higher. The state slightly missed the mark with 36.5 percent attainment, but that’s up nearly five percentage points from 2009. The percentage is even higher when industry-recognized certificates are included.

The CPE’s report also measured the number of degrees and credentials awarded in 2013-2014 in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as health-related fields. The goal was to award 19,350 STEM degrees in Kentucky. Over that time, the state handed out more than 21,000 STEM degrees.

“We also know that the economy continues to need more people with those degrees,” says Robert King, president of the Kentucky Council of Postsecondary Education.

Experts also say that education attainment is important for attracting and keeping employers. King says if Kentucky can’t improve those numbers, it risks losing employers.

Getting a college degree or recognized credential isn’t only good for your pockets. It also affects where you live, your health, and possibly who you vote for.

Says Dewayne Matthews, of Lumina Foundation, “It’s not a news flash anymore to note the wide disparity in people’s political attitudes in this country as reflected in the presidential campaign based on education level and how that it’s a very stark divide.”

How College Aid Is Like A Bad Coupon Saturday, Sep 17 2016 

Ian grew up in Milwaukee, in an African-American family with five kids where the annual income was just $25,000. He was involved in sports and after-school activities, and spent a year working after high school to save up for college. He saw himself as a role model in his community: “They see me going to college and are like, ‘Oh, he’s doing something positive, he’s breaking through the ceiling.’ “

Our college aid system is generally assumed to be set up to help students like Ian, one of six young people profiled in Sara Goldrick-Rab’s new book Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream. But when he enrolled in a public university in 2008, even after the federal Pell grant and a Wisconsin state grant, Ian found himself short $10,000 a year — the full cost of books, supplies, transportation, room and board.

In other words, his unmet need, as policy wonks call it, was 40 percent of his family’s annual income.

Goldrick-Rab is a Temple University professor — a scholar-advocate known for her outspokenness on issues including tenure and the fate of public universities. This book, however, is grounded in data, not rhetoric.

She and and her team studied 3,000 people who entered public colleges and universities in Wisconsin in the fall of 2008. Twelve hundred were selected to receive an extra grant for college from a private donor fund, and the rest were a comparison group. (The study’s funders included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which also supports NPR Ed).

Her team pored through everything from the students’ financial aid packages to their transcripts, and they had the students complete long surveys. The researchers also traveled to six different campuses to interview a representative group of 50 students in depth, over and over, for six years.

The results match what other studies have told us: Half the students in the study left college without a degree, while fewer than 20 percent finished within five years. But it was through getting to know that smaller subset of students, Goldrick-Rab says, that they were able to capture the details and texture that other research has left out.

The financial aid system is both meager and unwieldy, she tells NPR Ed in an interview: “Our first really big takeaway was that if the goal is to get people money, financial aid doesn’t do a great job. There’s 50 steps between you and the money you need.”

And even when students like Ian jump through all the necessary hoops, often it turns out there are huge shortfalls.

I always heard this statement that the ‘purchasing power of the Pell Grant has declined.’ But that doesn’t really capture how it feels.

Pell Grant recipients don’t think they’re going to have to take loans to go to school. The message out there, including from Michelle Obama, is, ‘Things are going to be cool, do your FAFSA and everything is going to be fine.’

From the student’s eyes, it’s like you bought a Groupon that when you read it you got the impression it paid for 75 percent of whatever you were buying. You went to a nice restaurant you would never go to. And once you ate dinner you find out it only pays for 30 percent.

I used the word betrayal in the subtitle for a reason. They feel betrayed by a system that tells people they’re going to take care of them, and leaves them way short.

What are some other ways you feel traditional higher education research doesn’t capture all the nuances of students’ lives today?

I could make a list of 10 things that researchers are completely missing that leads them to downplay the challenges students face. Like, they don’t know in how many cases the “expected family contribution” [part of the federal aid formula that describes how much families are supposed to throw in for college costs] was actually paid by the student. Or when the student actually had a negative EFC, because they were supposed to be helping support their families, but it’s truncated at zero by federal formula. So it looks like a student who should be able to make it is not.

And another finding in the book was that the times that students worked could affect their success as much as their hours.

Yes. I was inspired to look at this because one of my students was falling asleep in class. One of the effects of the grant [from the private donors] was that it cut in half the number of people working the graveyard shift. Faced with the option, you don’t want to be working all night and then come to class.

What else were you surprised by?

When we talk about the labor force in general, we know the unemployment rate typically includes people who are actively seeking work. But with undergrads, all that the studies ever ask is, ‘Are you working or not?’ We found that in Milwaukee, 60 percent of the students who were not employed were looking for work. They were often grappling with racial discrimination, and looking for work took up time.

It sounds like part of your agenda here is to look at students more broadly as workers, and think about the economic decisions that govern their lives.

Exactly. I think part of the special treatment that happens in higher education research is there are a lot of things we don’t assess because we assume mommy and daddy are taking care of them.

You’re publishing this book just as a number of proposals to make college free have become part of the presidential campaign. How do you feel about that?

I am thrilled that the conversation is going as far as it has. It’s been faster and more detailed than I thought it would be.

Nancy Kendall and I wrote this proposal for two free years of college [for the Lumina Foundation in 2014]. The idea is to make the program simple and universal and to deal with people’s lack of trust.

What I’ve laid out in the book and more generally has been halfway between Hillary [Clinton’s] and Bernie [Sanders’] proposals.

I don’t like capping at $125,000 [family income]. We don’t want to figure out who has $125,000. But I didn’t go for Bernie’s ALL four years: I knew the prospect of sending people to UW Madison or Berkeley for free would freak people out.

What’s your thoughts on other approaches to getting more students through college? We recently covered the topic of “nudges” or better communications strategies for financial aid from behavioral economics.

If you’re a social psychologist, a behavioral economist, or just really into more money: each of those camps can find their evidence in this book. But the money thing is just so basic. All the rest is dessert.

In addition to launching the book you’ve recently announced a philanthropic project called the FAST Fund, where the idea is to have faculty target emergency cash grants directly to their students. What inspired that?

FAST stands for Faculty And Students Together. The point is that when students are having trouble with money they usually think about their aid officer, who they don’t trust. But they tend to like their faculty, who aren’t in a position to help them. I want to build up the power of that relationship. We know money feels differently depending on who’s giving it and how they talk about it.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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