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2 groups unite to improve Ky. education

Two nationally recognized Kentucky non-profit organizations have merged in an initiative to improve the performance of schools across the state.

The NewCities Institute, created in 2001 by the Kentucky League of Cities, and the Partnership for Successful Schools, launched by state business leaders in 1991, announced Monday that they have merged to form the Partnership at NewCities.

Since its creation, the NewCities Institute has helped towns around Kentucky make key decisions about meeting social and economic needs. The Partnership for Successful Schools has spent more than 20 years working with schools, employers and communities with the aim of creating a stronger Kentucky workforce.

Representatives of the new Partnership at NewCities said the organization is the first of its kind in Kentucky. It will work with individual communities, coordinating efforts by workforce and economic development, education and government, to raise the performance of schools, they said.

Regular evaluations will be a key part of the new program, according to Tom Prather, executive vice president of the NewCities Institute.

"We will track progress in collaborating communities across Kentucky and provide specific reports on what is being accomplished in terms of community engagement as well as school improvement," Prather said. "This type of information is critical to ensuring a meaningful, successful effort."