LDG Development and Bezos Academy announce partnership to bring tuition-free preschool education to Louisville
Bezos Academy to open its first Montessori-inspired preschool in Kentucky at Jefferson’s Landing in Louisville, bringing quality housing, access to health care and education to the Okolona area
Louisville, KY. – [March 30, 2023] – LDG Development today announced it has signed a ten-year lease agreement with Bezos Academy to open Bezos Academy Louisville – Okolona, a tuition-free, Montessori-inspired preschool that will be adjoined to Jefferson Green and Jefferson’s Landing. This marks Bezos Academy’s first school in Kentucky.
This announcement follows a groundbreaking the two organizations held in December 2022 when they announced they announced the organizations would be partnering to develop Bezos Academy preschools at various LDG communities across the country. The first preschool, Bezos Academy Dallas – Singing Hills—is located in South Dallas and is expected to open in 2024.
“From the very beginning of our conversations with the Bezos Academy team, we made it clear that having several Bezos Academy preschools in Louisville was a priority for LDG,” said Chris Dischinger, co-founder of LDG Development. “The Bezos Academy team recognized the importance of Louisville and remained committed to achieving this goal.”
The Bezos Academy preschool will be located adjacent to Jefferson’s Landing. The school will feature four classrooms and will follow a full-day, year-round schedule. Students will be provided with breakfast, lunch, snacks and an optional boxed dinner. At full capacity, the preschool will accommodate up to 80 children, some of whom may reside at one of the two LDG developments.
According to Bezos Academy President Mike George, affordable housing developments are natural partners given their focus on serving the needs of the community and commitment to wrap-around services. Currently, around 25% of Bezos Academy’s host partners are affordable housing providers. School sites are selected based on regional data that identifies gaps in access to early learning programs, combined with input from interested partners and community leaders.
“With fewer than half of three- and four-year-olds in school in the U.S., it’s clear there are many barriers families must overcome to give their kids the great start that quality preschool provides. Having a free full-day, year-round preschool on the site of an affordable housing community makes it that much easier for residents and neighbors to enroll their children,” said George. “We’re so grateful to Chris and Lisa Dischinger and their team at LDG Development and LDG Foundation for helping us bring this opportunity to the children of Louisville.”
The LDG Foundation is leading the effort to locate Bezos Academy preschools at LDG communities. In addition to access to quality housing and education, students living at Jefferson Green and Landing will also have access to onsite medical care provided by Norton Healthcare, including wellness checks, vaccinations and other health services focused on prevention.
Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg says that today’s announcement supports his focus on expanding access to universal pre-kindergarten for students living in Louisville.
“Louisville is so proud to welcome the Bezos Foundation to our city and incredibly proud of LDG Development for their role in making this amazing program a reality,” said Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg. “Having Bezos Academy to provide tuition-free pre-school is going to help families ensure their children are ready for school on day-one but also serve as an amazing catalyst for change in our entire community. I hope that this program, which connects affordable housing with educational opportunities, serves as a model for resilient community building across our city, across Kentucky and beyond.”
Lisa Dischinger, chair of the LDG Foundation, says this partnership will benefit the entire community, reflects the organization’s efforts to provide services focused on education and health care, and has the potential to transform the lives of residents who call an LDG community home.
“From after school and summer programs that have been tremendously successful in boosting reading scores, to removing the barriers many families encounter when trying to access preventative care, the LDG Foundation is keenly focused on improving outcomes that can improve the lives of our residents,” said Dischinger.
Families earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level with children aged 3-4 years old are eligible to apply. This means that, for a family of four, the annual household income can be up to $120,000 to qualify. Children in foster care or who are experiencing homelessness are given priority in the lottery. More information and an application to the lottery-based selection process will be posted at www.bezosacademy.org once the school opening date is set.
Bezos Academy Louisville – Okolona is expected to open in 2025. Updates to the opening date will be shared here. Additionally, both organizations are discussing other LDG sites in Louisville and other communities for future Bezos Academy preschools. This is the 27th preschool lease agreement announced by Bezos Academy, and the first in Kentucky. Due to construction and teacher training timelines, it can take up to 2 years after an agreement is signed to open a school. Today, Bezos Academy has 11 preschools open in Florida, Texas, and Washington.
For more information on LDG Development, visit ldgdevelopment.com
For more information on Bezos Academy, visit bezosacademy.org.
About LDG Development
LDG Development is the nation’s largest developer of affordable housing. The company was founded more than 27 years ago by Chris Dischinger and Mark Lechner based on their shared belief that everyone deserves a quality place to live. Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, the company has created more than 22,000 units of high-quality affordable housing for working families and active seniors in seven states. The work of LDG is supported by more than 200 employees who are in the company’s Louisville, Kentucky; Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia offices. For more information about LDG Development, please visit www.ldgdevelopment.com.
About Bezos Academy
Bezos Academy is a non-profit organization that is building a network of tuition-free preschools. Our preschools offer year-round, full-day programming, five days a week, for children ages 3-5 years old from low-income families. Bezos Academy also provides students with all necessary educational supplies and services to set each student up for success, including Montessori materials, books, arts and crafts, field trips, and meals. For more information, visit: www.bezosacademy.org.
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