04/03/12 — Board approves four academies for local schools

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Board approves four academies for local schools

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 3, 2012 1:46 PM

The Board of Education Monday night agreed to continue supporting vocational academies at three high schools and to add a new transportation academy on the Wayne Community College campus in the fall.

The memorandum of agreement between Wayne County Public Schools and WCC pertains to an agriculture academy at Spring Creek High School; machining academy at Charles B. Aycock High; drafting academy at Wayne School of Engineering; and the transportation academy.

They fall under guidelines of the governor's Career and College Promise initiative, allowing students to obtain certifications while still in high school, said Anne Millington, director of cooperative education at WCC.

The academies are open primarily to high school juniors and seniors, with the exception of the program at Wayne School of Engineering, which offers its classes to all grade levels.

The program at Spring Creek is new, while also building on a program the board approved in April 2011 and introduced at the school this year.

"The CTE (career and technical education) academy, it comes under that," Ms. Millington said during a meeting of the board's curriculum and instruction committee. "That kind of got off to a rocky start and was revamped."

Starting this fall, the agricultural academy will feature two courses in the fall and two in the spring, with six classes offered altogether. Students can work toward a certificate in sustainable agriculture.

The machining and drafting academies, started in the fall of 2010, are being renewed. The WCC board approved those and the two new additions at its meeting last week.

"I like seeing that kind of association with our schools because maybe it will encourage students to go into (those careers)," board member Rick Pridgen said. "I think the more involved we are with the community college, the better odds we have that students go on to a college education."

Dr. Sandra McCullen, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction, agreed that the potential is great. There is especially a need for more manufacturing classes, she noted.

"That's one way we're going to build our state back up," she said. "This is something that we hear from our businesses -- the need to put more emphasis on manufacturing across the state."

The new transportation academy, which officially starts July 1, will be on the WCC campus and open to all high school students in the county, ages 16 and up.

Mrs. McCullen said there had been conversations with counselors and determined the program would be offered after 2 p.m.

"It gives them an opportunity to leave their high school," Ms. Millington said. "This type of equipment is not the type that can be transported."

The program will feature four main classes, but has the potential for five certifications.

"There are five certificates under Snap-On Tools, embedded in these four classes," she said. "We also hope that we'll get students that will come here for their own personal knowledge."

In addition to the certifications, she said the advantages of the programs are that students can get elective credit in high school while earning college credit.

Future academies are also being considered, officials said.

"We're working on applied animal science technology at Rosewood High," Ms. Millington said. "That's possibly something we can bring to the table next year."

Another possibility is a firefighter academy at Goldsboro High School, where a mentoring effort with city firemen is currently under way. Officials recently visited an existing firefighter academy, at Concord High School.

"The fire department in the city of Goldsboro has come to us and would like to do something like that," Mrs. McCullen said. "We have got about 20 or 30 students there, so there seems to be some interest."