EnergyState guest column by Teresa Morgan, Superintendent for Hardin County Schools
Published in News-Enterprise October 20, 2023
Over the course of its history, Hardin County Schools has been the cornerstone of achievement for countless leaders and inspirational figures within and beyond our community. It is imperative that we proactively adapt to the evolving landscape of our community to uphold and continue this remarkable legacy.
New economic developments, as revealed in a recently released economic impact study commissioned by the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce, signal significant changes on the horizon for our region. The study, titled Assessing the Influence of BlueOval SK Battery Park on the Elizabethtown Metro Area, indicates we may see nearly 4,000 new K-12 students in Hardin County, based on population projections.
To put this in perspective, this projected surge in student population amounts to over a quarter of our district’s current student enrollment.
While this growth is undeniably exciting for our school district, it necessitates meticulous planning to thrive alongside it. The imminent need for new facilities and the bonding capacity to accommodate these changes will become evident.
Our commitment to delivering a high-quality education remains unwavering. This entails providing our students with quality learning environments staffed by skilled and dedicated educators. We will uphold this standard even as our community undergoes this expansion.
However, this growth extends beyond the demographics of our community. It also will transform the composition of our workforce. As secondary schools play a pivotal role in workforce development, this is a matter of utmost significance for our school district.
Our high schools are instrumental in guiding and preparing local students for their technical careers or college journeys. The Hardin County Schools Early College and Career Center (EC3) has been part of that process for nearly a decade.
Our Board of Education recently approved the purchase of additional land adjacent to EC3 that will lead to a proposed expansion of the facility. That expansion will encompass additional parking, new classrooms and media studios. It not only fortifies our existing programs but also creates space for new pathways.
While discussions about expanding EC3 were underway prior to the BlueOval SK announcement, these planned enhancements will be instrumental in equipping our local students with the skills needed to seize the abundant career opportunities the battery plant and our longstanding industry partners offer.
The curriculum offered through our nearly 40 career pathways have effectively positioned students for success across a diverse range of professions, aligning their passions with clear pathways to both careers and higher education. As we anticipate a wealth of fresh career prospects emerging locally, our mission is set to become even more pivotal in guiding and preparing our students for these exciting opportunities within our community.
As we stand on the threshold of transformative growth in our community, Hardin County Schools remain steadfast in its commitment to nurturing the potential of our students and adapting to the changing landscape. The impending impact of growth presents exciting opportunities and challenges that we are eager to embrace.
With careful planning, a dedication to maintaining educational excellence and a focus on preparing our students for the evolving workforce, we are poised to not only weather this transition but thrive alongside it.
To access the entire economic impact study, go to hardinchamber.com/energystate.
Teresa Morgan serves as superintendent for Hardin County Schools and wasrecipient of the 2024 Kentucky Association of School Administrators Superintendent of the Year award. She also is co-chair of the Kentucky Coalition to Sustain the Education Profession. Direct questions about the weekly EnergyState column to EnergyState@HardinChamber.com.