Kentucky Board Of Education Approves Charter School Guidelines Wednesday, Dec 7 2016 

The Kentucky Board of Education has approved a list of principles to guide state policymakers if the legislature passes a bill clearing the way for charter schools in the state.

Kentucky is one of seven states that don’t allow charters — schools that use public dollars but are operated by organizations besides the state like nonprofits, for-profit companies, or groups of parents.

The state board recommended that if a charter school bill is approved, the organizations should be run by nonprofit groups that aren’t governed by religious organizations.

The 12-member board also said that the state board or local school boards should be in charge of reviewing the charter applications and that the organizations shouldn’t “detrimentally impact” the funding to “common” schools in public school districts.

The legislature will have the final say on what a charter school system would look like in Kentucky and how to fund it.

Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt said that the principles approved Wednesday would guide officials’ conversations with lawmakers during the General Assembly.

“We are to be the education experts in the room,” said Pruitt.

He said that if a charter bill passes, the Department of Education would likely create a charter division to review applications and oversee the organizations.

Gov. Matt Bevin is in favor of allowing charter schools to open up in Kentucky; he campaigned on the issue in 2015.

For years, charter school legislation has passed the Republican-led Senate and died in the Democratic-led House. Now that the GOP has control of the governor’s mansion and supermajorities in both legislative chambers, charters will have a much easier chance of passing into law.

The board of education recommended:

  • Local boards of education should be the primary authorizers of charter schools and the Kentucky Board of Education should have final say.
  • Funding for charter schools shouldn’t hurt funding provided to other public schools.
  • Charter schools need to enter into performance-based contracts with the state. The state board or local boards would be in charge of establishing evaluation criteria to measure academic performance and the organizations’ finances.
  • Charters bust be “nonprofit, nonsectarian, and cannot be wholly or partially governed by a group that is a religious denomination or affiliation.”
  • Charter school teachers should be certified by Kentucky’s Education Professional Standards Board.
  • Whoever authorizes charter schools should focus on approving the schools in at-risk or under-served populations.
  • If there are too many student applicants to a charter school, a lottery should determine enrollment. Preference could still be given to under-served students.
  • “High expectations for parental involvement should be outlined and required.”
  • The state and local school district or board shouldn’t be held legally liable for the charter school’s actions.
  • Charter schools should have access to state funding for facilities.

Guest Commentary: Gov. Bevin’s game jeopardizes UofL accreditation Wednesday, Dec 7 2016 


By Aaron Vance | UofL Student President No one can deny that at the beginning of this summer, something was wrong with the University of Louisville administration. Our embattled president and Foundation were at the center of a quarrel that divided our Board of Trustees for months. Coming into my term as student body president […]

Jurich threatens to leave Yum! Center and build on-campus arena due to ‘criminal’ rhetoric Tuesday, Dec 6 2016 

KFC Yum! Center

In an interview on WLOU 1350 Saturday morning, University of Louisville Athletics Director Tom Jurich said that its teams should stop playing at the KFC Yum! Center because of city leaders’ rhetoric blaming the school for the arena’s financial troubles, and instead build an arena on campus. The interview took place two days after the […]

Accrediting agency places University of Louisville on probation Tuesday, Dec 6 2016 

uofl university of louisville

By Sarah Kelley and Joe Sonka The University of Louisville has been placed on probation by its accrediting agency amid concerns over the school’s governance. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools — UofL’s accrediting body — placed the school on a one-year probation, with the potential for a one-year extension of that probationary status. The move […]

U of L Put On Probation After Governor’s Trustee Changes Tuesday, Dec 6 2016 

An accreditation agency has placed the University of Louisville on probation, citing political influence with its board of trustees. But U of L leaders and Gov. Matt Bevin minimized the sanction Tuesday, saying the crucial stamp of respectability is not really at risk.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges notified U of L Tuesday of a one-year sanction that could extend to two years while the school addresses governance problems. The association cited Bevin’s use of “undue political influence” when he sought to restructure U of L’s leadership this year.

Bevin disbanded and reconstituted the school’s board of trustees in June and at the same time announced President James Ramsey would resign. A judge — tasked with weighing the legality of Bevin’s move — restored the old board in September.

Probation is uncommon — according to the accrediting association’s website, it appears seven out of 800 institutions are currently under this sanction. The association defines probation as a sanction that is “usually, but not necessarily” the last step before an institution is removed from membership.

Losing accreditation is even rarer, and almost unheard of for large public universities. But probation is the step that precedes that loss.

Bevin spokeswoman Amanda Stamper downplayed the sanction Tuesday, saying U of L’s accreditation is not at risk.

“Nor will it ever be at risk because of any action taken by Gov. Bevin,” Stamper said. “Anyone who argues otherwise does not have U of L’s best interest at heart.”

Acting U of L President Neville Pinto said the university would work hard to get the sanction removed, although it’s too soon to know what improvements the agency will demand. Pinto was confident that U of L would implement reforms by the time commission members return to campus next fall to assess the school.

“Legislators and the governor’s office want a strong university in Louisville,” Pinto said. “They will work with us to remove that sanction.”

Students on the University of Louisville's main campus.

Students on the University of Louisville’s main campus.

If U of L lost accreditation, access to federal funding and student aid would go with it. Pinto wasn’t even willing to speculate about the impact because, he said, it won’t happen.

“Accreditation is vitally important to university functioning,” Pinto said. “That’s all I’ll say.”

The announcement follows months of speculation over the school’s accreditation status, and comes on the heels of changes that faculty members feared would be viewed as a loss of independence. The accrediting body requires that university boards are “free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies, and protects the institution from such influence.”

The governing board also requires that universities ensure board members are dismissed fairly, and that only the board of trustees has power to hire, evaluate and fire presidents.

Attorney General Andy Beshear went to court with Bevin over his U of L actions. Following news of the probation Tuesday, Beshear said Bevin had “inflicted great and substantial harm” to U of L in his quest for absolute authority.

“The governor has dug a very big hole and has only one choice – rescind his executive order, dismiss his appeal and announce he will not support legislation that would impact the university’s governance,” Beshear said in a statement. “Otherwise, he will bury the University of Louisville in that hole.”

After Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd rejected Bevin’s actions and restored the old board, Bevin appealed the ruling.

Meanwhile, the state legislature, which is now majority Republican, could ratify Bevin’s plan to restructure the board during its January session.

U of L hoped to renew its accreditation following a site visit in April. Instead, that visit is postponed while the agency works with U of L to fix the problems.

A special agency committee will review U of L’s progress prior to a campus visit now tentatively scheduled for next fall.

On Tuesday, Pinto said he spoke directly to Bevin and that the governor vowed to work with U of L. Bevin also reiterated that U of L is very important to Louisville and the state, Pinto said.

The accreditation probation comes at a trying time for the major public institution. Last month, the credit ratings service Moody’s downgraded the university’s rating, citing instability, a shrinking endowment and reputation risks.

(Read “University of Louisville, Foundation Credit Ratings Take A Big Hit”)

The University of Louisville Foundation, which manages a nearly $700 million endowment for U of L, also suffered a downgrade.

Pinto noted that student aid, federal funding and the quality of U of L degrees have not changed. Functionally, nothing is different for students and faculty at U of L while the probation is underway, he added.

Kate Howard can be reached at and (502) 814.6546. 

Disclosures: 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 member Stephen Campbell and former member Sandra Frazier have donated.

Why Kentucky Ranks Third In The Nation For Student Loan Defaults Tuesday, Dec 6 2016 

When Latrice Doston was in high school, she learned if she was going to go to college, she was going to need some money. She thought tuition, room and board, books and everything else that comes with the price of college would magically get covered.

And with that, Doston entered the long and complicated process of applying for student loans. She’s 23 years old now, and lives in the Russell neighborhood with her dad and siblings. After a stint at community college, she’s finishing her degree at Lindsey Wilson College, a private liberal arts school in South-Central Kentucky. And Doston estimates she’ll owe about $25,000 for student loans when she graduates. 

“It scares me,” Doston says. “I don’t want my credit to get bad over this. But I just feel like I have to at least go for it because you need a college education now to get a good job and get the life you want. You gotta go for it.”

That’s the situation a lot of young people find themselves in: chasing a better future, but going tens of thousands of dollars into debt at the same time. And in Kentucky, more than almost anywhere else in the nation, students aren’t paying back those loans and are facing the consequences of default. 

Third in the Nation

Kentucky ranks third in the country in student loan defaults, behind New Mexico and West Virginia. More than 15 percent of borrowers end up defaulting on their student loans. That’s a little more than 12,000 borrowers.

Default is dependent on the terms of a loan. But usually it’s when a borrower hasn’t made a payment for nine straight months. And for some of these students, they just don’t know they’re in default.

“There’s obligations that the student has to have and supposedly know about,” says Lashala Goodwin, the executive director of the KentuckianaWorks College Access Center. She says some colleges haven’t done a great job explaining to teenagers the terms of a loan. But, she says financial literacy is improving.

“Before, it’s like you got a student loan and you got a student loan, that was it,” Goodwin says. “You did your counseling, but it wasn’t to the extent that’s like you know you have to pay this back.”

Molly Gesenhues is a lead counselor at the Educational Opportunity Center.  It’s a free program under KentuckianaWorks College Access Center which helps students navigate college applications, financial aid forms and other things.

“The majority of individuals that have defaulted on loans are often people that again attempted school and dropped out and didn’t even complete a semester’s worth of work,” she says. “But they got that loan money and spent it and then it’s on their record and they don’t realize, that hey, once you drop below half-time or once you graduate, you have six months before you have to start making payments.”

Her office helped about 2,800 students during the last school year — mostly first-generation college students, low-income students and students of color. And she says race and class can play a role in whether a student ends up defaulting.

Factoring in Policy

Nationally, black students are more likely to take on student debt. And in Kentucky, historically black college Kentucky State University has the highest default rate of any of the commonwealth’s public universities.

But there’s another reason Kentucky students may be more likely to go into default: government policy.

“We rank as one of the worst states for higher education cuts,” says Ashley Spalding, a research and policy associate at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

Spalding says while most states in the past year have reinvested in education, Kentucky has not. And since 2008, higher education funding has been cut 32 percent per student. That means higher tuition and more loans. But Spalding says students who default typically don’t have very much debt.

“That’s kind of counterintuitive to look at that,” she says. “But it really makes sense when you start thinking about why would someone spend $100,000 to go to school. Well often it’s to get one of these highly advanced degrees.”

Think about students who go to school for law, medicine or business or get some other advanced degree. Or even a Bachelor’s degree that garners a high salary, like petroleum engineering.  Sure, some of these students take on more debt but their salaries will reward them for their career choice making it least likely that they’ll go into default. That’s not the same for someone who gets a less advanced degree, or worse, doesn’t finish school. They’ll most likely not get a high paying job and that can lead to default.

That’s the trap Latrice Doston is trying to avoid falling into. She’s considering pursuing a master’s degree after graduating from Lindsey Wilson College. When she’s done, she could owe more than $80,000 in student loans. Her dream is to be a therapist, which has an average salary of about $35,000.

Despite this, Doston is determine to get her degree, no matter the cost.

“Hopefully I can get a place; I can get my own place in the NuLu or Highlands area and I’ll be a therapist at Seven Counties seeing children and just having a great life,” she says. You know, buying books and reading. You know, paying off my student loans.”

For students like Dotson, the dream of completing a degree outweighs the risk of default.

Louisville KY 2016-12-05 15:22:40 Monday, Dec 5 2016 

Story by Kim Butterweck at


Louisville, KY., – The Grawemeyer Awards have been a longstanding tradition at the University of Louisville, created to honor those who have impacted the world with just a single idea. UofL graduate, former Louisville Seminary trustee, and philanthropist Charles Grawemeyer founded the awards program in 1984 to pay tribute to the power of creative thought.

The awards draw nominations from all over the world, recognizing pioneers in five fields – Music Composition, Ideas Improving World Order, Education, Religion and Psychology. Past winners have included those who have studied the promise of public education in America, developed potential treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, sought ways to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East, explored why Christianity has failed in its attempts to heal racial divides, and used native, traditional music to pay tribute to victims of Cambodian genocide.

The list includes Aaron Beck, considered to be the founder of cognitive therapy, Mikhail Gorbachev, and the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development. This year’s honorees and their ideas loom just as large. Their stories are featured below.


Music Composition

Grawemeyer Awards, School of Music
Andrew Norman, recipient of the 2017 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. Photo by Jessa Anderson
Andrew Norman, a Los Angeles-based composer of orchestral, chamber and vocal music, wrote “Play” for the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, which premiered the piece in 2013 and released a recording on its own label. In three movements, “Play,” this year’s winner of the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, explores the relationship of choice and chance, freewill and control.

The piece investigates the ways musicians in an orchestra can play with, against, or apart from one another; and maps concepts from the world of video gaming onto traditional symphonic structures to tell a fractured narrative of power, manipulation, deceit and, ultimately, cooperation.

“‘Play’ combines brilliant orchestration, which is at once wildly inventive and idiomatic, with a terrific and convincing musical shape based on a relatively small amount of musical source material,” said Award Director Marc Satterwhite. “It ranges effortlessly from brash to intimate and holds the listener’s interest for all of its 47 minutes — no small feat in these days of shortened attention spans.”

“Play” has also been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition, and Norman was recently named Musical America’s 2017 Composer of the Year.

Ideas Improving World Order

Grawemeyer Awards, political science, College of Arts and Sciences
Dana Burde, recipient of the 2017 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. Photo by Jehanzaib Khan
Dana Burde’s 2014 book, “Schools for Conflict or for Peace in Afghanistan,” explores the influence foreign-backed funding for education has on war-torn countries and how such aid affects humanitarian and peace-building efforts. Because of her analysis on this topic, Burde, an associate professor of international education at NYU, is this year’s winner of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.

“I argue that instead of preventing conflict, U.S. aid to education in Afghanistan contributed to it — deliberately in the 1980s, with violence-infused, anti-Soviet curricula, and inadvertently in the 2000s, with misguided stabilization programs,” Burde wrote. “In both of these phases, education aid was subordinated to the political goals of strong states and used as a strategic tool — a situation made possible in part by humanitarians’ tendency to neglect education’s role in conflict.”

Drawing on extensive research on the impact of U.S.-funded community-based education programs, Burde also makes a case for a sounder understanding of the role of education in state-building and recommends contributing to sustainable peace through expanded access to community-based education with neutral, quality curriculum. Her book was grounded in eight years of field research in Afghanistan and Pakistan and backed by two decades of work on education in countries affected by conflict.


Diana Hess and Paula McAvoy, recipients of the 2017 Grawemeyer Award in Education
Diana Hess and Paula McAvoy, recipients of the 2017 Grawemeyer Award in Education
Immigration. Gun control. Abortion. Gay rights. Religion. Are these and other polarizing topics too controversial to be discussed in today’s high school classrooms? According to Diana Hess and Paula McAvoy, co-winners of the 2017 Grawemeyer Award in Education, teachers should encourage conversations about difficult issues. These discussions, they opine, help students understand diverse points of view and become more politically engaged adults.

Hess and McAvoy’s 2014 book, “The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education,” explores the role of teachers in perpetuating serious political deliberation in schools. The book is based on a 4-year study of 35 teachers and their 1,000-plus students.

“Teachers are beginning to worry that all controversial topics are taboo,” said Education Award Director Marion Hambrick. “This timely book dispels that notion and provides tangible evidence that the classroom is an unusual political place where students can learn to carefully examine divisive issues.”

Hess is dean of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and McAvoy directs the Center for Ethics and Education at the same university.


Gary Dorrien is the 2017 Grawemeyer Award winner for Religion.
Gary Dorrien is the 2017 Grawemeyer Award winner for Religion.
In “The New Abolition: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Black Social Gospel,” social ethicist Gary Dorrien describes the early history of the Black Social Gospel from its 19th-century founding to its close association in the 20th century with W.E.B. Du Bois. He offers a new perspective on modern Christianity and the civil rights era by delineating the tradition of social justice theology and activism that led to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dorrien’s book earned him the 2017 Grawemeyer Award in Religion, given jointly by UofL and the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

“We urgently need this historical and theological account in our religious communities and public discourse,” said Tyler Mayfield, Faculty Director of the Grawemeyer Award in Religion and the A.B. Rhodes Associate Professor of Old Testament at Louisville Seminary. “Dorrien’s book highlights a disremembered part of American religious history, one that holds relevance for contemporary discussions about race and U.S. religion. His compelling narration of the Black Social Gospel as a profoundly religious tradition of thought and activism underscores the crucial connections among the Black Church, social Christianity, the creation of black institutions, and the struggle for freedom.”

Dorrien, an Episcopal priest, is a professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and professor of Religion at Columbia University.


Marsha Linehan is the 2017 Grawemeyer Award winner for Psychology.
Marsha Linehan is the 2017 Grawemeyer Award winner for Psychology.
Marsha Linehan, a psychology professor at the University of Washington, developed Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which balances acceptance and commitment to change in treating mental illness, distinguishing it from previous standard interventions. Research shows DBT to be an effective treatment for conditions previously considered untreatable, such as borderline personality disorder.

Linehan’s work has earned her the 2017 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. In developing DBT, she sought out difficult-to-treat, suicidal individuals and, by trial and error, created an effective intervention, which led to treatment for multiple disorders. She drew on her personal experiences — she acknowledged publicly in 2011 her own longtime struggle with high suicidality — and training as a spiritual director and Zen Master to develop an approach that taught patients how to regulate dysfunctional behaviors. The therapy relies on a toolkit of behavioral skills, including mindfulness practices, that were previously not common in mainstream psychology.

“In addition to being considered the state-of-the-art treatment for chronically suicidal individuals, dialectical behavior therapy has been found to be effective for other behavioral disorders, including eating disorders, addiction, anxiety related disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression,” said Professor Woody Petry, award director.

All 2017 Grawemeyer Award winners will present free lectures about their award-winning ideas when they visit Louisville in April to accept their $100,000 prizes.

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Teddy Abrams is staying in LouisvilleKY Monday, Dec 5 2016 

Louisville Orchestra’s Teddy Abrams – Youngest Music Director of a Major American Orchestra – Renews Three-Year Contract

Louisville, KY (December 5, 2016) …The Louisville Orchestra is delighted to announce that Teddy Abrams – the “energetic young maestro” (New York Times) who at just 29 is the youngest Music Director of a major American orchestra – has renewed his contract for a further three years. Each season through 2019-20 he will not only conduct the orchestra for a full twelve weeks, but also undertake an additional six weeks of community engagement and administration – more than is offered by any other conductor of a top metropolitan or regional orchestra nationwide.

Given the truly transformative nature of Abrams’s tenure to date, the news should come as little surprise. It was he whose galvanizing leadership jumpstarted the orchestra’s current creative resurgence. Fueled by talent, energy, vision, drive, and an extraordinary commitment to community engagement, since launching his directorship two seasons ago, Abrams’s innovative, outside-the-box initiatives have succeeded in reconnecting the orchestra with its remarkable history, integrating it into the fabric of Louisville life, and re-establishing it as the cornerstone of the city’s vibrant music scene. As a result, there have been full houses, double-digit growth in contributions and ticket sales, and widespread excitement about the orchestra throughout Louisville. Even the national press is taking note. “There’s a reason for optimism at the Louisville Orchestra. Music director Teddy Abrams is the orchestra’s great young hope,” declared the Wall Street Journal. “His tireless advocacy and community outreach are putting the history-rich Louisville Orchestra – and classical music – back on the map,” agreed Listen. As Time magazine recently marveled, “A genre-defying orchestra in Louisville? Believe it. The locals do.” Click here to see Abrams perform his own music and improvise on Beethoven’s in his NPR “Tiny Desk Concert.”

Teddy Abrams

Abrams comments:

“I am incredibly excited and honored to continue my relationship with the Louisville Orchestra family and this extraordinary community. We have worked very hard these past three seasons to demonstrate that this great institution can be a vital part of our city’s culture, and a source of strength and inspiration for every person living in the Louisville region. Over the next three years we plan on growing our reach and connectivity with our community by focusing on creative music-making, innovative and experimental projects, and engagement activities that serve our citizens in the most inclusive and fun ways! I deeply love this town and our orchestra, and I will continue to do everything that I can to support our musical culture and to bring our music to every Louisvillian.”

Executive Director Andrew Kipe responds:

“Teddy’s natural enthusiasm and love of both music and people join with his incredible musical talents to make him an exceptional Music Director. I’ve enjoyed working together to build his vision into our new plan for the Louisville Orchestra’s future – we’re just getting started!”

Jim Welch, retired Vice Chairman of the Brown-Forman Corporation and President of the orchestra’s Board, adds:

“Needless to say we are truly pleased to be extending Teddy’s contract to 2020. It’s a clear statement of our commitment to him and his commitment to the community. Teddy has brought enormous creativity and energy to the Louisville Orchestra, driving the organization to inspire, enrich, and entertain in ways we’ve never done before. He is at the forefront of our effort to redefine what it means to be an orchestra in the 21st century. We are thrilled to continue to have his infectious spirit of engagement and creativity among us.”

The many innovations of Abrams’s two-year tenure include numerous initiatives to give Louisville artists a voice in the musical life of the city. He launched a series of ambitious, immersive season-launching community collaborations – 2014’s powerhouse performance of Carmina Burana, last season’s production of Bernstein’s colossal Mass, and this fall’s account of Mahler’s epic “Resurrection” Symphony – each of which has drawn on a local cast of hundreds. Integrating the orchestra ever more deeply into Louisville life, Abrams reinstated its free annual Independence Day concert, an open-air event that last year attracted an audience of 35,000, and initiated its participation in the “Thunder Over Louisville” soundtrack, which accompanies the fireworks display capping the official kick-off to the Kentucky Derby Festival. Breaking with the traditional concert formula, he presented pop-up concerts around the city, as well as performances at such non-traditional venues as restaurants, shopping centers, galleries, his own home, and – through the LG&E Music Without Borders series – local churches and synagogues, many of which were sold to capacity and filled by people who had never heard the orchestra before.

Reconnecting with the orchestra’s history as a leading commissioner and programmer of contemporary music, Abrams has made it a key component of his tenure to expand and revitalize the orchestral literature. He has commissioned and premiered new works from a variety of living composers, including award-winning Californian Sebastian Chang, jazz phenomenon Chase Morrin, and a quartet of local musicians whose genre-bending group composition represented a celebration of the diverse spectrum of homegrown talent in Louisville. He launched #SingForTheCity, an international singer-songwriter competition by which talented hopefuls submitted applications on YouTube, after which the winners – Louisville natives both – performed their original songs with the orchestra for an audience of thousands at this year’s free, season-launching “Classics Kickoff” concert. Last spring’s inaugural Festival of American Music marked the culmination of two seasons of thoughtfully stimulating programming in which new and adventurous music played an increasingly central part. The second edition will comprise two programs, the first led by guest conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, one of the great champions of new American composition, and the second by Abrams himself, who looks forward to premiering his own genre-straddling Ali Portrait in tribute to late Louisville boxing legend Muhammad Ali. A prolific and award-winning composer, the multi-talented Music Director has already written some 15 works for the orchestra.

It is thanks to Abrams that the orchestra embarked on new partnerships with a number of key Louisville institutions. They undertook their first full co-production with the Louisville Ballet, comprising three fully staged ballets with original choreography. They collaborated with the city’s Center for Interfaith Relations to supplement Bernstein’s MASS with talks by representatives of different religions. And when the Music Director issued a recording of Float Rumble Rest, his improvisatory first salute to the newly deceased Muhammad Ali, he dedicated all proceeds to the city’s Muhammad Ali Center, which is scheduled to collaborate with the orchestra this season at the second annual Festival of American Music. Under Abrams’s auspices, the season brings further inspired collaborations with Louisville’s Speed Art Museum and Louisville Slugger Museum, and the orchestra recently worked with such local institutions as the University of Louisville School of Music, the Louisville Male High School Band, psychedelic alt-rockers My Morning Jacket, the Kentucky Shakespeare theater company, the Waterfront Development Corporation, the outstanding acrobats of CirqueLouis, and the Louisville Leopards Percussionists, a non-profit organization offering free and low-cost extracurricular music to local children.

Indeed, Abrams’s commitment to education has been another hallmark of his tenure. His reimagined take on the orchestra’s signature education series, “MakingMUSIC,” had 100% participation from all 90 Jefferson County public elementary schools as well as several private schools, with fourth grade students creating symphonies inspired by their own names, and fifth grade students creating original instruments from found objects that they played in a “Landfill Orchestra.” In addition to masterclasses with school groups, extensive social media engagement and access, and numerous community performances, Abrams expanded the orchestra’s educational reach through a pair of pioneering mentorship programs. Through “Teddy’s Kids,” he gave personal conducting coaching to fourth and fifth grade students, while “Abrams Kids” saw him provide intensive mentorship – complete with special projects, career guidance, and free access to orchestral concerts – to high school juniors and seniors.

* * * * *

This winter and spring, Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra continue to strive for maximum engagement with the Louisville community. Upcoming season highlights include a collaboration with Grammy Award-winning young German violinist Augustin Hadelich, and the orchestra’s second annual Festival of American Music, featuring guest conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and the world premiere of Abrams’s Ali Portrait. Ultimately, Abrams’s mission is simple. In his words: “We want to become known as the most interesting orchestra on the planet.”

About the Louisville Orchestra

Established in 1937 through the combined efforts of the Louisville business community and later mayor Charles Farnsley and conductor Robert Whitney, the Louisville Orchestra is a cornerstone of the Louisville arts community. With the launch of First Edition Recordings in 1947, it became the first American orchestra to own a recording label. Six years later it received a Rockefeller grant of $500,000 to commission, record, and premiere 20th-century music by living composers, thereby earning a place on the international circuit and an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall. In 2001, the Louisville Orchestra received the Leonard Bernstein Award for Excellence in Educational Programming, presented annually to a North American orchestra. Continuing its commitment to new music, the Louisville Orchestra has earned 19 ASCAP awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music, and was also recently awarded large grants from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and the National Endowment for the Arts, both for the purpose of producing, manufacturing and marketing its historic First Edition Recordings collections. Over the years, the orchestra has performed for prestigious events at the White House, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and on tour in Mexico City. The feature-length, Gramophone Award-winning documentary Music Makes a City (2010) chronicles the Louisville Orchestra’s founding years. More information is available at the orchestra’s newly redesigned website.

The post Teddy Abrams is staying in LouisvilleKY appeared first on Louisville KY.

Bevin Asks Kentucky Supreme Court To Not Expedite U of L Case Saturday, Dec 3 2016 

Gov. Matt Bevin has asked the state Supreme Court to not expedite an appeal of a ruling that blocked his overhaul of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. Attorney General Andy Beshear requested that the case be fast-tracked to the high court in order for a quick resolution.

In a motion filed with the Kentucky Supreme Court, Bevin’s office said that there is no “good cause for advancement.”

“[W]hen the General Assembly convenes next month, it will either ratify the Governor’s temporary interim reorganization of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees, or it will not. Either way, this case will be rendered moot…” Bevin’s motion read.

In September, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Philip Shepherd ruled that Bevin didn’t have the authority to abolish U of L’s board and then reinstate it with all new members.

Bevin appealed the decision, sending the case to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. He has repeatedly questioned Shepherd’s motives and reasoning in the ruling, calling him a “political hack” on a radio show last month.

Beshear, who sued Bevin for overhauling the U of L board, asked that the case go straight to the Kentucky Supreme Court. He argued that the case needs to be resolved because Bevin has refused to fill vacancies on the board while the case is on appeal.

Beshear also cited concerns that U of L could lose its accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for “undue political influence.”

Bevin’s office accused Beshear of sensationalizing the case in an attempt to score political points.

“The Attorney General […] has myopically advocated that the University should lose its accreditation due to the reorganization of its Board, but the evidence in the record overwhelmingly shows that its accreditation is not in jeopardy,” Bevin said.

The General Assembly will have the opportunity to ratify Bevin’s executive order that overhauled the U of L board when the legislature reconvenes in January.

Professor who developed therapy for ‘uncurable’ mental illnesses wins 2017 Grawemeyer Award in Psychology Saturday, Dec 3 2016 

Dr. Marsha Lineham | Photo provided by Grawmeyer Awards

Marsha Linehan, director of University of Washington’s Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics, Center for Behavioral Technology, has been selected as the 2017 Grawemeyer Award winner in Psychology. Disorders like borderline personality and suicidal ideation have long been considered nearly impossible to treat, but Linehan has developed dialectical behavior therapy, which has shown positive effects during […]

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