Gatton and Craft Academies look to educate Kentucky's brightest which could lead to economic development for Kentucky

06/08/2015 06:30 PM

FRANKFORT — Members of the Interim Joint Committee on Education heard on Monday how students at the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science and the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics could lead to economic development for the commonwealth, with many of those students potentially choosing to stay in state and be a major economic contributor to Kentucky.

Both academies are two year dual-credit residential high schools located on college campuses for academically exceptional Kentucky students who actually take college courses taught by university professors.

Gatton Academy, on the campus of Western Kentucky University, opened in 2008 and has been named the top public high school in the country by Newsweek and The Daily Beast for three consecutive years.

The Craft Academy will welcome their first class of 60 juniors to the campus of Morehead State University this fall.

Gatton is in the process of expanding its capacity from 126 to 200 students by renovating Florence Schneider Hall.

The school will welcome 100 juniors in August 2016 and 100 more in the fall of 2017 to bring the total enrollment up to 200.

Lynette Breedlove, director of the Gatton Academy says that the expansion will give more of Kentucky’s best and brightest a chance to excel.

“We certainly are attracting accomplished students, and Kentucky has accomplished students statewide,” Breedlove said. “It’s wonderful to have opportunities for these students to have a place where they can do in depth study in science, in mathematics, in computer science, to really figure out what it is they want to do next, and prepare them to be very successful in college.

Carol Christian, director of the Craft Academy, in responding to a question from Rep. Hubert Collins, D-Wittensville, says that she feels that the academy can help Kentucky become stronger by turning out top professionals in their fields to benefit the commonwealth.

“We just don’t want to turn out the next generation of young people interested in science, technology, engineering or math, but use those skills to come back and impact the economic development of Kentucky,” Christian said. “A lot of kids have said that they want to start a business, and we’re hoping they want to start that business in Kentucky.”

Students at the Craft Academy will be housed in the renovated Grote-Thompson Hall.

Funding for the Craft Academy comes from a $4 million pledge from Joe Craft and a $2.3 million appropriation from the Kentucky General Assembly.


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