BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) – If you’ve driven on Cumberland Trace Road, you’ve probably noticed a large dirt plot where the old Cumberland Trace Elementary used to be.
It won’t be empty for long, as Warren County Public Schools broke ground at the location for their new “IMPACT Center for Leadership and Innovation” Monday evening.
“There will be students that see the impact center as their standalone school. But we plan to offer programming for students that can have access to some of the programming, perhaps not all the programming if they choose to go a different path,” said WCPS Superintendent Rob Clayton. “Our other goal of this is to ensure that we can provide access to students outside the normal traditional day.”
The center hopes to equip students with leadership skills, non-traditional educational experiences and rigorous learning.
“We do know that there’ll be an engineering pathway, there will be an entrepreneurship pathway, there’ll be a medical arts pathway. That’s part of the reason we’ve engaged our business and industry leaders,” Clayton said. “We’re asking them, what is it that you want to see in our graduates? And then where can we improve the skill sets that we’re focused on with our students upon graduation?”
Though Clayton said he also hopes the center will allow students to realize college isn’t the only option after high school. A sentiment echoed by Lieutenant Governor Jaqueline Coleman, who was also in attendance.
“Sometimes students are made to believe that they have to go a certain way to be successful. I think a place like this, with an innovation and leadership center, really helps to diversify a student’s pathway,” Coleman said. “It’s really bringing up to speed those students’ experiences. That’s exactly what we need more of to be able to propel this economy forward even more.”
Coleman also stressed the importance of modern classrooms like the IMPACT center and how they’ll challenge the next generation of leaders.
“That’s where our leaders are born, it’s through that ability to solve a problem, to communicate solutions, and to help people move forward,” Coleman said. “That’s exactly what’s going to happen here, which is a completely new way of developing leadership, and helping the next generation prepare for the jobs of the future.”
Clayton said the center will be starting out for grades nine through 12, but the possibility of opening it up to seventh and eighth graders is being explored.
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