District boosts vocational education

May. 22, 2014 @ 06:00 PM

The Vance County Board of Education wants to continue providing vocational training for its students.

In a curriculum committee meeting Thursday morning, the board heard presentations for the career and technical education and the state migrant education programs.

The vocational curriculum, which includes Vance’s fire and public safety and Vance medical academies, partners with community organizations to offer students in middle and high schools real-world classroom instruction and equip them with skills for a growing technical job market.

“Something like this could be the savior for our public schools,” school board member Edward Wilson said. “Offering 18 courses just isn’t going to cut it anymore.”

Currently, the program offers 65 high school courses in seven program areas. In 2012-2013 academic year, high performance could be seen across the board for those in vocational programs, with participating students exceeding state goals in reading and math, school graduation and secondary school completion.

During the meeting, Vance County Schools’ CTE instructional management coordinator Ruth Wilson outlined the local plan for the program for the coming year.

She said the focus would be developing career centers at all the schools, establishing STEM — that is, science, technology, engineering and math — and robotics technology software programs in middle schools, exploring the feasibility of career academies, and offering financial literacy and manufacturing programs.

“Manufacturing and computer technology are coming back but in different ways,” she said.

Also during the meeting, Vance County Schools’ English as a second language director Kim Meza introduced the budget application for the 2014-2015 North Carolina Migrant Education Program, which caters to minority populations and works to increase the group’s retention, reading and math testing, and graduation rates.

The application included a requested allocation amount of about $30,000 and an estimated carryover amount from 2013-2014 of about $32,000 for an estimated total of $60,000.

Federal program director Cassandra Evans introduced the districts Title 1 application, as well.

The program offers money to districts with high numbers of low-income students for programs and administration funding.

“We want to put things in place that will help our teachers help our kids,” said Trixie Brooks, assistant superintendent and director of curriculum and instruction.

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.