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National Center on School-Based Reform Created

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One of the first national organizations devoted exclusively to school-based reform is taking shape this summer in Jefferson County, Ky.

The "Center for Leadership in School Reform'' will provide technical assistance to districts interested in restructuring their schools along lines now being tried in the Greater Louisville school system. That effort includes "professional development schools,'' in which future educators could be trained, and development of new career paths for teachers.

Funding for the center, which was announced June 21, has been provided by the Matsushita, BellSouth, and Gheens foundations and the local school system.

Phillip Schlechty, who helped engineer one of the nation's first career-ladder programs in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., will serve as the center's president.

Mr. Schlechty is also executive director of the JCPS/Gheens Professional Development Academy, a joint venture of the Gheens Foundation and the Jefferson County Public Schools begun in 1985 to coordinate the district's staff-development programs.

"The experience we have gained over the past several years in working toward fundamental school reform has placed Jefferson County's public schools in the forefront of the school-reform movement,'' Mr. Schlechty said. Creation of the new center will enable the academy's staff to assist other school districts while continuing its work in Jefferson County, he said.

The three foundations have pledged more than $1 million for the enterprise over the next five years. --LO

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