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Uniting People, Place & Purpose

The Nelson County Schools is part of an ongoing story tied inextricably to the people, place and community of the fourth-oldest county in Kentucky.

The district comprises over 4,000 students in 12 schools, from pre-kindergarten at the Early Learning Center for 3-year-olds to the seniors at its two high schools, Nelson County High and Thomas Nelson High. About 350 certified teachers and 300 support staff support students, families and the community.

The Nelson County Schools believes that every community member has valuable gifts to share with the world to live a happy, healthy and empowered life.

Community Collaborations enhance education experience

NCS has partnered with more than 140 local businesses and organizations to form community collaborations that give students the opportunity to put their education to practical use through profession-based learning. More than half a dozen “Community Collabs” offer students experiences ranging from pathways in sustainability or food and animal science through its Agriculture Collab to the Bluegrass Aerospace Experience at Samuels Field airport where students build an actual airplane and can attend flight school. These collabs are made possible through strong community partners like Bernheim Forest and Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.

Career & Technical Education

The Nelson County Area Technology Center unites students with industry professionals and places of work throughout the region. While still in school, students can earn credentials in high-demand, good-paying fields like welding, automotive and electrical technology, among others. New graduates can enter the workforce prepared to find their purpose.

University prep

Nelson County Schools offers several opportunities to get a head start for students focused on earning a college degree.

Students can graduate high school with an associate in science or art with credits that will transfer to many regional colleges and universities. A student can graduate high school with over 60 college hours as well. Through its partnership with ECTC, students can take college courses on-site taught by high school instructors, enroll in online dual-credit courses and take classes on ECTC’s campus.

Students also have access to nearly 20 Advanced Placement courses that offer opportunity for college credit.

Early Learning Center classroom

Early education key to success

In the 2022 school year, Nelson County Schools  expanded access to pre-kindergarten children. Its highly successful Early Learning Center located in Bardstown expanded its reach to offer classes close to home in the communities of Boston, Bloomfield and New Haven. Full-day public preschool is available for 3- and 4-year-olds led by teachers certified through the Kentucky Department of Education.

Preschool is free for those families that meet eligibility guidelines, and families that do not qualify for free service can send their children on a tuition model that is highly competitive with private care options.

Adapting to future needs

Technological, social and economic change has transformed every aspect for our community over the past century, and education has both played a role in that advancement as well as been affected by those forces. In the early 1900s the county had nearly 80 schools throughout its communities that served as a pillar of local civic life. As access to transportation increased, many of these smaller schools started to consolidate into larger community schools in the 1930s and ’40s.

Those same forces that affected education in the 20th century continue to influence our schools in the 21st, and Nelson County Schools is a forward-looking district proactively examining and adapting to what this century will demand of future leaders and the education needed to prepare them.

The district seeks to honor its history by uniting students to people, place and purpose while at the same time preparing them for future success.

In 2021, the district engaged the community in months of conversations about the future of our schools. A vision of a Community Campus model emerged from those discussions. Uniting middle and high school students onto two campuses will enable the district to ensure equity and access to opportunity for every student in the county, no matter where their families choose to live.