By LISA SIMPSON STRANGE
Glasgow Daily Times
Starting the 2012-13 school year next fall in a new, state-of-the-art building isn’t a big enough challenge for Glasgow High School’s new principal.
Keith Hale wants to make sure his students not only have a new roof over their heads, but a strong academic foundation to build upon as well.
“Right now, I’m really wanting to build excitement and get that spark with the new school,” Hale said. “A new school’s not going to fix everything. You also have to think about what’s the quality of instruction in the classroom?”
Taking his inspiration from the district’s new CELTIC (Creating Enriched Learning Through Innovative Curriculum) Academy for students in third through seventh grades, Hale is proposing a CELTIC College for the high school.
He presented his plans to Glasgow Board of Education members during a special-called meeting Wednesday night at the school district’s central office.
The goal is to make coursework more “relevant and rigorous” for all students beginning with their freshmen year.
“We’re sitting on a gold mine of opportunities,” he told board members.
Hale has been meeting and working with representatives from the Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS), Western Kentucky University (WKU) and the Barren County Area Technology Center during the last month and a half. He wants to involve each of these entities in plans for the change in course offerings to allow students all through high school the opportunity to take dual credit classes for college credit.
Glasgow and Barren County have the unique advantage of having all three institutions located in close proximity on Trojan Trail.
KCTCS and the vocational school have a greater emphasis on technical programs such as engineering, health services, etc., while WKU can bring more of the arts including music and theater to the mix.
“Dual credit is the buzzword around the state now. Everyone is wanting to get on board,” Hale told board members. “What we’re wanting to do is to create that general education dual credit umbrella and call it CELTIC College.”
Under that umbrella, Hale wants to create a series of “academies” dedicated to several different fields of study. An array of dual credit opportunities would be provided within each of those fields. To count as an academy, each field would have to offer at least nine college credits.
Hale proposed several different areas of concentration including arts, pre-engineering, culinary arts, business, education and health services that would be included in the program as academies.
“In each one of these areas, we’re going to be able to offer multiple hours past general education within each discipline,” Hale said.
The students will have an array of electives they can take up to 31 or 32 credits throughout high school.
Some Advanced Placement (AP) courses will be added in as well, he said.
Hale is also looking at different scheduling models including hybrid schedules to make it possible for all students to participate in CELTIC College if they want.
“I think this is going to change to outlook of our kids. It’s going to be a spark. It’s going to get them excited about coming to school,” he said.
This initiative is designed to address several problems that have been facing the high school during the last few years. Decreasing test results in some areas and a higher- than-targeted dropout rate are two negatives that Hale hopes will be improved by the changes.
Superintendent Sean Howard asked board members to give Hale their support for the plan and they unanimously agreed.
“It’s exciting to me that you’re thinking about not just the new building, but what’s going to be going on in that building,” said Elaine Richardson, board chairperson.