06/27/10 — Wayne Education Network introduces website

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Wayne Education Network introduces website

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 27, 2010 1:50 AM

A website was introduced last week that will provide access to the wide array of educational programs available in the community -- targeting not only local residents and families, but those anticipating a move to Wayne County.

It is just one of the initiatives of Wayne Education Network, a committee formed in recent years by the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce to enhance education and shore up the relationship with area businesses.

Others efforts have included adding a countywide career fair for middle school students, evaluating workforce/tech programs within schools, and focusing on such areas as preparing for the workforce and dropout prevention and intervention.

The committee has also continued to build on an enhanced teacher incentive package and teacher job fair to draw teachers to Wayne County.

WEN is comprised of representatives from the Wayne County Public Schools, Wayne Community College, Wayne County Development Alliance, Mount Olive College, Wayne County Public Library, Wayne Community College, Partnership for Children of Wayne County, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Wayne County Public Library and the Chamber of Commerce.

One of the projects that has been a long time in coming is a website for the group, said Dr. Ed Wilson, WEN chairman.

"We have been working on this for 18 months, but we believe we're at a place now where we need to go ahead and make people aware," he said during the group's recent council meeting. "It's not 100 percent complete, but we do have a lot of activities and a lot of programs in there. We want to go ahead and release it so people can see it and where we see holes, we can fix it."

The main goal for the website, which features an education programs directory, is to communicate to parents about services that are available for their children, Wilson said.

"If you move from another state to Wayne County and have a child that needs a particular program, they can research that," he said. "Pre-K all the way through college, the whole idea is to have an education programs directory that we can access, link to the public schools.

"We'll have some descriptions and then they can link to the college or to a high school to see what a particular (place) has."

Janet Brock, education coordinator for Wayne Charitable Partnership Inc., said the website is still a work-in-progress.

"A lot of information is missing, but we're working on it," she said. "We're requesting more information ... the idea is to promote all the programs we have in Wayne County."

Rather than simply listing agencies, however, information is listed by category -- academic programs, character education, English as a Second Language, after school programs.

There will also be links to other sites, such as the chamber, the library and area colleges and schools.

The site's main page uses the committee's acronym to encapsulate its aim -- "In Wayne County, we spell WIN with an E for Education."

Committee members said they were pleased with the appearance of the new web- site and its potential for getting out information.

"I can say for the library, because we're in the information business, this isterrific," said Jane Rustin, Wayne County Public Library director.

"That's why we went to an Internet database for our members, because there's just so much more you can do with it," said Steve Hicks, chamber executive director. "I think all of us are waiting for the next big information tool. We're trying to get all of our members honing in."

Likening the concept to the old-fashioned grocery store that gave way to self-service, Hicks said the Internet is a way for consumers to access technology and obtain information at their own pace.

"And this certainly helps with our military families who are moving to the community -- we know that they're shopping online before they come and they're prepared," said committee member Dr. Sandra McCullen, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction with Wayne County Public Schools.

The Web address for the new site is wayneeducation network.org.