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T.I.G.E.R. Academy to be introduced at BCS in 2016-2017

Amy Adams, district Gifted & Talented Coordinator, explains the TIGER Academy to the School Board at their April meeting.

The T.I.G.E.R. Academy is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) learning immersion program that will not only expand our current STEM program for qualifying students in grades 4 – 7, but will provide an outreach component to all students from preschool through 8th grade.

Once in 8th grade, students can continue their interest in STEAM though a pre-AP science class for high school credit and then a myriad of Advanced Placement classes in the high school.

While T.I.G.E.R. stands for Teaching Innovative Gifted Education with Relevance, the TIGER Academy will reach well beyond our students identified as gifted by state criteria to impact all students in the district.

According to Brent Holsclaw, superintendent, one of the primary goals of the TIGER Academy is to ensure that all students are exposed to and engaged in STEAM learning activities to spark an interest in these subject areas. “As a district, we think it is important that we reach all students, beginning with our three-year-olds, with STEAM related hands-on, project-based learning activities,” he said.

“Many of the jobs our young students will have the opportunity to pursue later in life don’t even exist yet,” says Amy Adams, district Gifted and Talented Coordinator. “But, we do know they will be linked to STEAM related subject areas. We want all our students to be prepared for the careers of the future.

The primary funding for the TIGER Academy will come from the Bardstown Foundation for Excellence in Public Education. Last fall, the Foundation formed a Major Project Committee with teachers from each of our schools, several administrators, and Foundation board members to consider ideas for major funding.

After months of work and presentations and discussion about many great project ideas, the committee chose the TIGER Academy as the one to present to the full Foundation board for funding. The Major Project Committee agreed that this was the next step for the STEM Initiative that the district has had in place for the past three years.

Once approved by the full Foundation board, the idea was presented to the School Board for approval.

Dr. Robert Smotherman, retired BCS Superintendent and Foundation board member, facilitated the work of the major project committee and expressed that this project is very much in keeping with the goals of the Foundation, which is to bring innovative ideas representing educational excellence to our district.

“To our knowledge, this is the only STEAM related academy in the area that will reach students beginning in preschool and impact students all the way through high school,” said Adams.

While there are still many details to be worked out, the district is excited about this opportunity for all our students and look forward to sharing more information during the coming months.