The Model High School of the University of Kentucky was formally opened in September of 1919 as a secondary school offering four years of course work. Before this time the Model High School had been under the partial control of Lexington’s school system and had been operated as a junior high school. The teachers were furnished by the city and the building and equipment by the University. In 1919, the Model High School was made a part of the Department of Education at the University of Kentucky.
|U-high in Taylor Hall (Taylor Education Building)|
The Model High School was a four-year high school meeting all of the requirements for college and university entrance. It was fully accredited in the University of Kentucky to supports its function in the training of university seniors and graduate students for public school service.
The Model High School was located in the Education building on the University’s campus, occupying the entire third and fourth floors. The third floor contained four large classrooms and the Principal’s office. The fourth floor contained the assembly room with one hundred and twenty desks, the physics laboratory, and the home economics labs. There was equipment for sewing, cooking and a model dining room. The first floor held the art room and the football locker room.
While the primary function of the Model High School was to provide the opportunity for University seniors and graduates to receive training as practical teachers, it was seen as an educational laboratory. The school was meant to show no distinction between the rich and the poor. They sought to instill a sense of personal and collective responsibility, the dignity of hard work, and the respect for the rights of others. The students were trained to think independently, quickly, and correctly. They had the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate literature, music, and art.
In addition to academics there were numbers social activities. The annual publication was the Mohian with representation from a student in each class. The monthly school paper was published entirely through the efforts of the students. There was a Radio club to promote debate and public speaking (although its membership was limited to the male students). The school was a member of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association and had football, baseball, basketball, track, and tennis.
The program expanded to include k-12 education, but the kindergarten closed in 1961 and the elementary school in 1962. In 1964, a committee was charged with reviewing the Model High School, then called University School. The committee concluded that it was too expensive and that the limited program and facilities did not achieve the purposes for which the school was established. Later in 1964, President Oswald recommended to the Board of Trustees that the school be closed.