CADIZ - Some high school students in western Kentucky are learning in new ways after the state Department of Education named Trigg County a district of innovation.
The designation allows a district to redesign how students are educated by exempting it from administrative regulations, statutory provisions and local board policies.
That means students at Trigg County High School can test out of traditional language arts or math classes and instead take fusion or dual-enrollment courses. Fusion classes focus on learning that is collaborative and problem-based while dual learning incorporates computers and online classes.
Trigg County Superintendent Travis Hamby said that ninth-graders are piloting the initiative, but plans call for expanding it to the sophomore class next year.
He said the new classes help students develop essential skills for the workforce including communication, creativity, collaboration, critical-thinking and problem solving.
"Business and industry want to employ people with those skills," Hamby said. "Our approach has been that we want students to be competent in both sets of skills. When it comes to the academic side and students have mastered the content, we should let them go ahead and be accelerated through that content."
Trigg County is one of seven school districts across the state approved for the innovation designation.
Freshmen at the school worked on a program in the fall about distracted driving that was used in the application to the Department of Education.
Trigg County High School Principal Shannon Burcham said the changes would lead to improvement.
"It is an exciting time to be in this school and this district," Burcham said. "This designation is due in large part to the work that has been initiated at TCHS by teachers, students, and staff members who are committed to something better for all Trigg County students and our surrounding community."