LDG Development announces second tuition-free Bezos Academy preschool in Louisville
Bezos Academy Louisville – Russell will be located in the historic Russell Neighborhood and will help improve access to early childhood education in the area
Louisville, KY. – [October 26,2023] – LDG Development today announced it has signed a ten-year lease agreement with Bezos Academy to open Bezos Academy Louisville – Russell, a tuition-free, Montessori-inspired preschool. The preschool will be adjacent to The Eclipse in Russell—a 280-unit LDG development that is currently under construction and is expected to open in the Winter 2025.
In December 2022, LDG Development and Bezos Academy began working together to explore bringing tuition-free, full-day preschools to LDG communities. Today’s announcement marks the third preschool the two groups have agreed to launch together. Bezos Academy Dallas – Singing Hills, located in South Dallas, TX, is expected to open in 2024. Bezos Academy Louisville – Okolona, announced in March 2023, is expected to open in 2025.
“Bezos Academy – Louisville Russell reflects LDG’s commitment to investing in resources that strengthen our community while improving outcomes in a number of key areas,” said Chris Dischinger, co-founder and co-principal of LDG Development. “LDG is proud that the partnership we have created with Bezos Academy will provide families with access to a high-quality education that will ensure more children enter school prepared and ready to learn.”
Bezos Academy Louisville – Russell will be located at 3026 River Park Drive. The preschool will feature four classrooms and will follow a full-day, year-round schedule. Bezos Academy covers all the operating expenses for preschool programs at no cost to the families they serve. The organization hires, trains, develops, and pays talented educators, and provides everything that the children need during their day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. The preschool will have room for 80 children.
“Access to preschool is a struggle for families across the country – with two of the biggest barriers being affordability and location,” said Mike George, President of Bezos Academy. “Partnering with affordable housing communities allows us to build schools where our families live and work, making it easier for them to enroll their children, and for us to truly understand their needs. Thank you to Chris and Lisa Dischinger, Mark and Barbara Lechner, and the team at LDG Development for helping us make sure that the children of Louisville get the great start that tuition-free preschool can provide.”
The LDG Foundation and its chair, Lisa Dischinger, are leading the effort to identify locations for Bezos Academy preschools at or near LDG communities. School locations are selected based on regional data that identifies gaps in access to early learning programs, combined with input from interested partners and community leaders. In addition to access to quality housing and education, children who live at The Eclipse and attend Bezos Academy will benefit from a partnership with Norton Healthcare’s West Louisville Hospital. This initiative will be an extension of a program LDG and Norton Healthcare announced in May 2021 that provides access to onsite medical care through a mobile health unit that visits the property twice a week and provides services focused on wellness and prevention.
Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said that today’s announcement supports his focus on expanding access to universal pre-kindergarten for students living in Louisville and builds on the robust economic development activity taking place throughout the Russell neighborhood.
“This announcement means more parents in the Russell neighborhood won’t have to choose between staying home with their children and going back to work,” said Mayor Greenberg. “My administration is ready to build on the foundation created by LDG Development and Bezos Academy by providing quality early childhood education to every three-and four-year old in Louisville.”
Lisa Dischinger said the partnership with Bezos Academy was in part driven by The LDG Foundation’s commitment to provide quality programming and partnerships that can produce measurable improvements for residents and the surrounding communities. In addition to the partnership with Bezos Academy, LDG offers after school programming and enrichment activities focused on improving reading scores for school-aged children; added a food pantry program that has distributed more than 17,000 items of food to residents facing food insecurity; and developed youth programs for middle and high school students that are focused on helping to engage students and refine their leadership skills.
“Chris and I understand what it is like to balance the needs of a family on a limited household budget,” said Lisa. “When we started LDG more than 30 years ago, we swore that we would find a way to give back to not only the families we serve, but Louisville—the place we are proud to call home. We know that Bezos Academy Russell will serve as a launching pad for the next generation of teachers, doctors, lawyers and policymakers and that this entire community will benefit from this partnership and other investments we have and will continue to make.”
Commonwealth of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear agrees and is working to make universal pre-K a reality for all Kentucky children.
“As a dad, I want every Kentucky child to have the best start at a strong education, and this new, tuition-free preschool will help deliver that for more children in Louisville. In addition to the benefits this provides for our children, it will help boost our workforce by creating more child-care opportunities for parents and caregivers. I am grateful for all those who made this new Bezos Academy possible and look forward to seeing it come to the Russell neighborhood.”
Bezos Academy Louisville – Russell is expected to open in 2025 after construction is complete. Updates about the school opening date, and application for the lottery-based selection process will be posted at www.bezosacademy.org. Families earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level, (about $120,000 per year for a family of four) with children aged 3-4 years old are eligible to apply.
For more information on LDG Development, visit www.ldgdevelopment.com.