Inside Ky.'s best-kept education secret: Part 1

02/10/2013 04:26 PM

For the last six years, some of Kentucky’s brightest high school math and science students have come to Bowling Green to finish out their high school education — and get a big jump on college.

It’s a public high school experiment that, so far, has justified the state’s $2.8 million a year investment. In fact, the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science is the Newsweek Magazine reining No. 1 school in the country. But one could argue that the school has received more accolades from outside the state than from within Kentucky’s borders.

Last month, Hannah Weber, daughter of cn|2 senior reporter Don Weber joined 127 other high school juniors and seniors in the program, which has them living and learning on Western Kentucky University’s campus. That has given Don a unique perspective from which to tell the story of how the Gatton Academy develops and why it works.

Here’s the first part from Friday’s edition of Pure Politics:

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics with Ryan Alessi airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.


  • Delinda Johnson wrote on February 13, 2013 07:33 AM :

    Some people have questioned why I would allow my son to go off to college two years early. As an educator at his former high school, I saw too often that students in 11th or 12th grade get “stifled,” and just seem to “wait it out” until graduation. When my son came to me and asked permission to apply to Gatton, I had no reservation in saying “Yes!” At Gatton Academy, my son has been challenged, and he has learned how to study and prioritize, and he has made some of his best friends ever because they have similar goals. The Gatton staff has been a second family to my son, and I cannot thank the staff enough. I am so thankful that Kentucky has a program like Gatton Academy.

  • Vicky Bailey wrote on February 18, 2013 12:10 PM :

    Thank you for your support of the Gatton Academy. My son was one of the students interviewed for this segment. Though he is in his second year at Gatton, I still get asked why we let him leave home to attend the academy. When I tell them that Gatton was the best fit for our son, the next question is “ Yes. but how could you let him go”? I usually reply by telling them that it wasn’t easy. That drive home from Bowling Green the day we dropped him off was one of the toughest drives of my life, though I knew in my heart that he was ready for the change. Jon practically grew up in our home school; I work there. He knew most of the staff, and thought of many of them as “Aunts” and “Uncles”. In fact, it was one of these “adopted aunt’s” within our local school system that introduced him to the academy. So even though he said in your segment that he had become bored at his school, he had received a lot of individual attention from many of the staff there.
    In all fairness, our home high school has changed greatly in the last few years. The goal is to accommodate as many students as possible with their varied and individual needs. We have many students that take AP classes both on-line, and in class room settings. We also have classes that allow students to reach into their individual area of interest. Our school offers an Aviation program, among other specialized classes. Yes, the academy is indeed a great place for gifted students. I greatly appreciate all that they have done for our son. But the fact is there are many local schools that are working hard to achieve this same goal, only they are working to serve a larger base of students with varied needs. I personally think that it says a lot about a school just having students prepared for that leap that is Gatton. Thank You for Your Time, V.B.

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