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The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science is the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s first residential high school for students interested in pursuing advanced careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. More than 190 students take all of their coursework through Western Kentucky University with regularly enrolled college students. The Gatton Academy empowers Kentucky’s exceptional young scientists and mathematicians to live and learn in an environment that offers advanced educational opportunities, preparing them for leadership roles.
The academic rigor of The Gatton Academy is meant to challenge students to excel at the highest levels, while drawing connections between the classroom and real-world research options. All coursework is taught at the college level by university professors. The coursework for a student includes three to four courses of mathematics, five courses of core science, three to four classes of electives, two English courses, and three Academy Seminar courses.
Coursework is just a part of the experience at The Gatton Academy. All students have the opportunity to take part in research led by university faculty. These one-on-one mentorships allow students to work on STEM research projects completely outside of the classroom, taking research on as an extracurricular interest. Students share their findings through presentations at local, state, and national conferences.
Another valuable aspect of The Gatton Academy is the community that is built around the relationships formed during a student’s two years here. Students are able to participate in a wide range of clubs and activities at The Gatton Academy. Existing clubs include FBLA, Beta Club, Coed-Y, chess club, gaming clubs, student government, and intramural athletics teams. Like traditional high schools, The Gatton Academy has its own yearbook, prom, and graduation ceremony. Additionally, Gatton Academy students are able to participate in numerous WKU organizations and attend events on campus.
Gatton Academy students reside in a living/learning community located in Florence Schneider Hall. A residence life staff member lives on each wing of The Gatton Academy to help create a safe, healthy, and nurturing living/learning environment. Additionally, desk clerks provide 24-hour assistance services. Students attending The Gatton Academy share an air-conditioned suite-style room with semi-private bathrooms (meaning each room shares a bathroom with one additional room).
Now the important question…how do you apply? Gatton Academy applicants are Kentucky sophomores who will have completed Geometry, Algebra I and Algebra II by the end of their sophomore year. Students are selected based on SAT or ACT scores, academic grades from ninth and tenth grades, interest in advanced careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, student responses to application essays, an in person interview, and recommendations from teachers and other individuals who can attest to a student’s need and preparedness for the program. The Gatton Academy’s application due date is February 1 of a student’s sophomore year, with initial acceptance decisions being emailed to approximately 95 students in March of 2017.