A man holding a book reads to children sitting outside.

Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass reads a book to Molly Mounce’s 1st-grade class during his tour of Somerset Independent Schools on Aug. 20. Glass’ tour included stops at Hopkins Elementary and Somerset High School.
Photo by Jacob Perkins, Aug. 20, 2021

By Jacob Perkins

Kentucky’s Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass received a tour of Somerset Independent Schools on Aug. 20, his first district visit of the 2021-2022 school year.

“It is always a privilege to be able to spend time with the heart of our education system,” Glass said. “Having meaningful conversations with those who are in the classrooms every day is vital as we all work together to build a brighter future for Kentucky’s education system.”

The day began with a tour of Hopkins Elementary, led by the school’s principal, Hubert Schroer. While on the visit, Glass read a book to Molly Mounce’s 1st-grade class and spent time fielding questions from the school’s 2nd-grade teachers.

One of the teachers, Kaleena Reams, asked Glass for advice on addressing achievement gaps that were created because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My advice to educators has been to start with the relationships,” Glass said. “Even though we were able to come back much of last year, students still have had all sorts of disruptions in their lives. The first thing is to build those relationships.

“We know we have gaps, you’ve seen that. Students may have some stuff they need to catch up on, and we need to address that. But that shouldn’t be the most urgent thing right now. We have time to address those. Focus on experiences. Have kids be in love with school and love being here. If we can do those things, then we can work on the academics.”

Two mean wearing face masks talk in a school hallway.

Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass, from left, speaks with Somerset High School Principal Jeff Wesley during his tour of the school on Aug. 20.
Photo by Jacob Perkins, Aug. 20, 2021

As the tour continued, Superintendent Kyle Lively and Somerset High School Principal Jeff Wesley led Glass on a tour of the district’s high school.

The tour included a stop at the school’s Carnegie Academy, an advanced dual-credit academy of Somerset High School that launched in 2019, as well as a visit to the school’s engineering program.

Engineering is one of four career and technical education (CTE) courses offered by the district. Others include business, marketing and family and consumer sciences. Students also can enroll in other CTE courses offered by the nearby Pulaski County Area Technology Center.

“It was a pleasure hosting Dr. Glass in Somerset,” Lively said. “We appreciate having a commissioner of education that interacts with students, teachers and administrators in a sincere and personable manner. The Somerset Independent School District is extremely proud to have a rich tradition of excellence and enjoyed the opportunity to showcase the great work taking place by our students and staff.”

“There are so many tremendous things going on in Somerset,” Glass added. “That’s truly a testament to the outstanding leadership of Superintendent Lively. It was an honor to tour the schools and speak with students and staff about their experiences as we work to move education forward here in the Commonwealth.”