JCPS announces plans to honor the Class of 2020

JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio announces plans to celebrate graduating seniors while maintaining social distancing and safety.

JCPS+Superintendent+Dr.+Marty+Pollio+addresses+local+media+and+details+JCPS%27+plans+for+graduating+seniors.+screen+capture+by+Reece+Gunther

JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio addresses local media and details JCPS’ plans for graduating seniors. screen capture by Reece Gunther

Words by Ysa Leon, Sylvia Cassidy, and guest contributor, Reece Gunther

Dr. Marty Pollio announced that JCPS will take several measures in the remaining four weeks of NTI, including virtual graduation ceremonies, TARC bus signs, and football field lights to recognize and celebrate the Class of 2020 in a press conference earlier today.

“We want our seniors to know that this month is for you, and our hearts are with you as you finish this journey,” Pollio said. “You are an incredible class.”

The district will hold 25 virtual graduation ceremonies, with some smaller alternative schools being combined, to honor the district’s 6,159 seniors. JCPS will stream the ceremonies on the YouTube page, with schedules to be released soon.

“Those virtual ceremonies will look as traditional as possible,” Pollio said. “We are committed to having commencement ceremonies for each and every one of our classes.”

Virtual commencement ceremonies will include principal and student speeches, performances, pictures and videos, and a recognition of every graduating student. 

Along with the virtual commencement ceremonies, JCPS football fields across the county will light up from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Lynn Family Stadium — home to Louisville City FC —  will also turn on lights to honor the Class of 2020 from 8 p.m. to midnight. 

TARC will run 21 buses featuring the names of seniors beginning the week of May 18 to celebrate each school’s graduating class. 

“We will have the names of every senior with special messages to the Class of 2020,” Pollio said. “Hopefully I can stop talking and [the Class of 2020] can start talking. WHAS Radio is airing the voices of many JCPS seniors, WAMZ is running 30 second moments of our seniors.”

As for now, JCPS is transitioning many efforts into the possibilities of summer programs. Pollio said it was unlikely that summer learning will be in person, as well as summer professional development days or other events for teachers. 

“…we are working on virtual summer learning plans for our students. We know we need to engage kids in different ways than NTI,” Pollio said. 

Plans for the fall are still up in the air, according to JCPS. Pollio says the district is exploring many options, including a delayed or early start, a phased-in approach, or beginning NTI immediately in August, depending on guidelines from the state.

“Alternate days and alternate weeks really become a family issue and a work issue and a childcare issue,” Pollio said. “I have many logistical concerns. If they have already been on a bus with 40 or 50 other students… will we have to check their temperature at the bus stops?”

Per usual, Pollio ended the conference by reiterating his commitment to this year’s graduating class. 

“I’m especially proud of the Class of 2020. They’ve shown such resilience, determination, and patience through all of this. I know it is one of the most challenging things that they never thought they’d have to go through to end their high school career this way,” Pollio said.

You can watch the JCPS live-streamed conference here.