Somerset Schools Build Character Into the Curriculum
Three distinct public school systems operate in the Somerset area: Pulaski County Schools, Somerset Independent Schools and the Science Hill Independent School District. Each system offers diverse programs that indicate the districts’ dedication to improving not only the classroom education, but also the lives of their students. Building Character In the Pulaski County school system, students receive what administrators call “character education.” Their observation that some of the most important lessons go beyond academics is the driving force that integrates academics and positive character development in the curriculum. Pulaski County schools provide a renewed focus on modeling and teaching positive character traits to prepare students to become productive citizens. The academic curriculum also has a tailor-made emphasis for each grade. In the lower grades, the emphasis is on the improvement of reading. In the upper levels, the priority is teaching students about technology by providing the chance to earn advanced technology certifications. Incidentally, Pulaski County schools have won national awards for producing some of the most technologically literate students in the state. Addressing Every Need In the Somerset City School system, teachers and administrators focus on meeting the students’ needs both inside and outside of the classroom. These students benefit from programs offered by the Somerset Family Resource and Youth Service Center at Hopkins Elementary and Meece Middle schools and the Somerset High School Youth Service Center. Both centers provide registered nurses and mental health counselors in the schools. Somerset FRYSC enrolls 100 in a childcare program that has become a model for other programs in the state. The center also offers parenting classes and sponsors Readifest, a program in which school supplies, clothing and parent information are provided to those in need before classes start. Education At Its Best In the Science Hill School District, success can be partly measured by the district’s impressive state-wide test scores. In both the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS/5) and the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS), Science Hill consistently ranks high in the state. Also, in this district, just about every classroom boasts a published author. The Writing Club and “I Can Be an Author” play central roles in promoting the improvement of writing proficiency. “I Can Be an Author” encourages students to write books, which are published with assistance from teachers and parents through a parent-run publishing center. So far 300 students have authored books. For those who desire a Christian education for their children, the Kentucky town has Somerset Christian school. Their curriculum, in addition to traditional subjects such as English, math, science and history offers Bible study classes each day. Somerset Christian believes in giving a school day with “a greater emphasis on the Lord Jesus,” states one of the school’s pastoral councilors, Mark Harrell. According to Harrell, the goal of Somerset Christian is to provide an option for families who value Christian education. With such a comprehensive education, each school system provides improvement for students both inside and outside of the classroom. In Somerset students, not one aspect of life and development are neglected as Pulaski County continually produces some of Kentucky’s best and brightest leaders of tomorrow.