In 1972, the J. Graham Brown School opened its doors to students, making it the first magnet school in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Under the leadership of its founding principal, the late Martha Ellison, the Brown strived to establish a learning environment that was considered to be radical for its time. Working papers from the planning task force of that time set forth unique and somewhat unorthodox goals for the Brown School. These unusual goals included: helping each child set and work toward attainable goals at a rate determined by his/her competence and maturity, allowing each student to make continuous and upward progress, to help each student become a willing and independent learner, and to help all students move from exploratory behavior to structured learning of skills, concepts, and information essential to academic success. These unheard-of-educational priorities were to be implemented in a learning environment characterized by openness, trust and confidence.
Through the passage of time, and the refinement of our public educational system, many of those radical goals set forth by the Brown School in its early years can be found within the mainstream of public education. This, coupled with the onset of school accountability movements, helped the Brown School mature into a unique liberal arts educational program, providing an excellent high school curriculum that prepares all of its students for the challenge of college and the obligations of citizenship in the greater society.
Our small learning community provides Brown Students the unique opportunity to learn and grow where all students are known by all teachers. The Brown High School student can take advantage of the close contact and interaction with faculty and administrators that can only be provided in a small setting, while still studying a comprehensive and rigorous academic program. All students are enrolled in a college readiness curriculum that includes Advanced Placement options and off-campus college opportunities. Our unique location, just one block from the downtown Louisville Medical Campus, puts Brown School students in the midst of a thriving urban learning laboratory. Classes often go off campus for visits to the Louisville Science Center, Actors Theater, the Kentucky Center for the Arts, the Louisville Free Public Library, and the metro government complex.
Times change and school structures evolve, but those early Brown School goals endure. Students are still assisted in working toward attainable goals that fit their level of competence and maturity. And, students are expected to master structured learning of skills, concepts and information essential to success in all academic areas. Ultimately, students must develop self-regulation skills in order to thrive in an academically stressful environment. All of this is accomplished in a learning environment that nurtures confidence and trust. This unique liberal arts experience is one that helps each individual make a personal connection to the world around them as well as the academic arena in which they study. At the J. Graham Brown School, we are a community of learners, learning for life!