New programs poised to launch in Vance school system

Jul. 20, 2013 @ 06:08 PM

One topic arising during Thursday’s community forum for manufacturing and education was students who are not necessarily identified as college prospects.

The Vance County Schools are already at work for students who will enter the workforce in service area fields, debuting two new programs when school opens in five weeks.

Both will be at Southern Vance High School. One will serve students interested in a medical or health career, and the other will be geared toward fire and emergency responder training.

Superintendent Ronald Gregory, in an earlier interview, said the medical profession is going to be in need of more than just doctors in the future. The medical academy being established will have the ability to help supply workers in various aspects.

“These are people wanting to go in the medical profession,” Gregory said. “We’re working in conjunction with Vance-Granville Community College and Maria Parham hospital to get that program started off. It’s a part of our career and technical program funding.”

Students going through the academy may go into nursing or other health care fields, but they also may move toward the administrative areas of the medical sector as well.

Two certifications, for pharmacy technician and certified nursing assistant, will be available by the end of students’ junior years. As seniors, a path can be chosen for medical office administration or four-year university transfer in health sciences.

College credits and certifications will be available, as well as internship experiences in hospitals, clinics and private practices.

The academy will have an academic focus of health sciences and skills from the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math foundation.

Gregory said the fire safety academy would have the ability to bolster local volunteer fire departments.

“We’ll do things there to get these kids who have the interest in being volunteer firemen, who are already out here doing that, we’re going to fix it so they can go ahead and get their public safety course, which will run a whole year, that’s the ninth grade,” Gregory said. “Then the next year, they’ll go in fire technology one, the year after that fire technology two and three. They get certification from the state fire marshal’s office when they complete those courses.”

Gregory said the state fire marshal would be signing their certifications.

He also hopes to make use of equipment in the area as teaching tools, especially what may not be in use by fire departments currently.

“The only thing they’re going to have to do after four years in that program is to take HAZMAT classes, and they’ll get that through the college, because the college is also working with us on the fire academy,” Gregory said.

Gregory said the technology program at Northern Vance is expected to reach “a greater height.”

“We have our STEM program still moving along, and it’s been very good for this year,” Gregory said of last year’s introduction of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics middle school housed within Northern Vance High School.

Under the direction of Jeff Arthurs, Northern students this past year competed and won a statewide competition in the N.C. State Emerging Issues Forum.

Contact the writer at awooten@hendersondispatch.com.