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School Profile

School Spotlight: Central
Hardin High School

Cecilia, KY 
Hardin County School District

Focus Areas:

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Meaningful and Equitable Instruction

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Supportive and Inclusive Culture

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College and Career Ready Outcomes

Central Hardin High School: Creating Improved Outcomes Through Continuous Improvement

Central Hardin High School, located on the outskirts of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, is a comprehensive high school accredited by both the Kentucky State Department of Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The school serves approximately 1,950 students in grades 9-12 and is one of three high schools in the Hardin County School System, catering to the southern end of Hardin County. 

The school community is characterized by its diversity, drawing students from several small communities. Over the past few years, the local economy has transitioned from agriculture/farming to include industry, service jobs, medical, and small business, with an unemployment rate of 4.3% as of July 2022. The presence of Fort Knox in the proximity has led to a significant number of active and retired military families in the area, contributing to the culturally diverse mix of students. The increase of business and industry in the area also means that many graduates can find work locally upon graduation. 

Central Hardin staff and leadership are committed to fostering an inclusive and nurturing learning environment. The school actively prepares its educators with advanced teaching techniques and methods to effectively engage students of diverse learning styles, such as collaborative learning, practical activities, laboratory-based teaching, community-centered learning, and personalized instruction. 

To address the unique needs of students facing challenges, the school has established an Interventions Assistance Team, comprising a multidisciplinary group of professionals dedicated to providing targeted support. In compliance with Senate Bill 1, Central has implemented a comprehensive support system to ensure all students are equipped for future pursuits. This includes specific efforts to motivate and support minority students and maintain a balanced representation of genders in nontraditional career paths. Likewise, the school is committed to accommodating students with special needs by offering a range of classroom environments, emphasizing community-based learning. Furthermore, Central Hardin High School provides a wide array of advanced placement and dual credit courses to cater to high-achieving students, along with an early college program in collaboration with ECTC and EC3 for eligible juniors and seniors.

From Initial Implementation to Scaling Up: A Successful PBL Journey

From the first to the second year of PBL implementation, Central Hardin High School experienced significant growth and needed to effectively scale its newly implemented instructional and cultural practices across the school. Initially, only a few teachers used these strategies. Now, these practices are implemented by the majority of teachers. This progress can be attributed to the key components of the New Tech Network Model which includes school-wide project-based learning training. 

To further strengthen scaling its PBL implementation, Central Hardin created a PBL leadership team comprising teachers from each department, including Special Education, who effectively lead and support their colleagues with the assistance of the PBL Coach. This team has played a crucial role in advancing PBL throughout the school. As a result, there has been an increase in student engagement in classrooms and a renewed enthusiasm for learning among students.

New Tech Network Framework for a Supportive and Inclusive Culture at Central Hardin 

Central Hardin understands that lasting change will not occur without structural shifts to support its staff at every level. Key shifts have included:

  • Central Hardin High School, in its second year of PBL, created a part-time PBL Coach position to better support teachers, increase buy-in from staff, and improve culture.
  • The school created a PBL leadership team comprising teachers from each content department, including Special Education, that meets monthly to assess goals and current supports.
  • The PBL leadership team hosts monthly professional development sessions focused on specific aspects of PBL to strengthen staff capacity and tackle problems of practice.
  • Monthly PLC meetings incorporate PBL with the PBL Coach providing support, updates, and opportunities for all teachers.
  • The NTN Coach gathers data from all PLCs to assess additional support needs which has resulted in three one-hour workshops held during the PLD Days.

 

Following these shifts, Central Hardin measured feedback from staff through its Staff Impact Culture Survey. Recent survey data has indicated improvements in all areas, reflecting the positive impact of the implemented strategies. With a dedicated focus on continuous improvement and a supportive, inclusive environment, Central Hardin High School is committed to empowering its students and staff to achieve their full potential.

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