What started as an experimental high school program last year in Bullitt County has snowballed.
“It’s no longer experimental,” said Superintendent Keith Davis.
In fact, educators from Shelby, Spencer, Oldham and Nelson county districts visited the Bullitt Advanced Math and Science program last year, said Kelly Cleavinger, who teaches and oversees the program.
The highly selective, four-year program began its first year with 20 freshmen; this year 25 more students will be added – out of 116 applicants – along with a second teacher. BAMS began when administrators hit on the idea of establishing a program like the residential Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at Western Kentucky University, but would allow students to stay in their community.
“I think we finally realized we were underserving our gifted and talented kids a great deal,” Cleavinger said.
Students are accepted based on the kind of rigorous application process used by private universities, including requisite test scores, teacher recommendations, interview and essay. Once accepted, they find the course work is equally tough, Cleavinger said.
Picture - Bullitt Advanced Math and Science program student Marty Brand studies an anatomical model during an open house.
“Some have never worked that hard,” he said.
The program uses the same computer-based program as the Kentucky Virtual High School, along with classroom lessons and hands-on projects. Students do advanced research in astronomy through partnerships with University of Louisville and the University of Queensland, Australia. BAMS works with Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, for which students have been monitoring stream water quality and wildlife.