Wrapping up summer visits, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Catherine Truitt and her staff traveled to Yancey, Henderson and Wayne counties to focus on strategies that prepare students for post-secondary success.
Beginning in Yancey county, NCDPI staff met with district staff who emphasized the importance of developing relationships with students and the community. Led by Superintendent Kathy Amos, Yancey county fosters a homegrown leadership model that includes professional development and teacher leadership to impact the local community through education. Additionally, Yancey county Schools’ students begin career exploration in early grades continuing through Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses in high school. Specifically, at Mountain Heritage High School, students earn multiple certifications and credentials by building a house and master skills like creating blueprints to cutting wood using their newly-acquired construction skills.
Thank you @KathyAmosYCS for an amazing day visiting @YanceyCoSchools. The #DistrictVisitsVoices Team was in awe of the CTE Construction Technology Program at Mountain Heritage High School and ALL that your team does for your community! We will be back… #educatordiplomats pic.twitter.com/UjeWDSIlif
— Freebird McKinney (@FreebirdsShire) August 13, 2021
Continuing in the west, Henderson county capitalized on summer education by helping students recover 600 credits through learning-based, hands-on projects and field trips to reengage students with learning. Educators seized the opportunity to reinvent the summer experience, for the students who needed it most. Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), or Jobs for North Carolina’s Graduates, specializes in connecting with 11th and 12th grade students who are considering entering the workforce or additional post-secondary training after high school. DPI staff saw CTE in action, observing comprehensive fire safety pathways for Henderson county students.
1/3 @ncpublicschools leaders visited today on a #DistrictVisitsAndVoices tour to learn how districts are working to transcend new challenges, recruit & retain teachers, & build partnerships to position students to be #CollegeAndCareerReady! #NCpublicschools #StudentSuccess pic.twitter.com/4BMRnSCAD4
— Henderson County Public Schools (@HCPSNC) August 12, 2021
DPI staff wrapped up summer visits in Wayne county, touring the future Wayne School of Technical Arts on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. This unique partnership between Wayne county Public Schools and Seymour Johnson would be the first of its kind, as it’s a public school located on an air force base. At this school, sixth through eighth grade students will focus on STEM curriculum preparing them for rigorous AP courses in high school. The focus on AP coursework is especially important to military families as AP credits are portable worldwide and can transition from place to place should the student’s parent be relocated elsewhere. Additionally, students can earn stackable credentials in STEM-related fields and benefit from expertise right on the air base. Students will be selected by a well-designed lottery system , ensuring equity and access to the new school.
“Our goal is to prepare all students for what’s next the day after high school.” – Dr. Marcia Manning, Wayne county Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Student Services & Innovative Programs
After a powerful discussion regarding facilities, security, academic rigor, equity and innovation, Truitt and her staff concluded their visit with a tour of the Seymour Johnson airfield and maintenance hangar, home to the F-15E fighter jets.
Had an incredible time today at @SJAFB visiting the future Wayne School of Technical Arts. A remarkable opportunity poised to offer students a #STEM-themed #education with a focus on credits and credentials. #nced pic.twitter.com/ILKhNHYgny
— NC Superintendent Catherine Truitt (@CTruittNCDPI) August 18, 2021
Now what? Career exploration in early grades and throughout the K-12 learning journey prepares North Carolina students for work, education, or enlistment, after high school graduation. 654,000 students in our state are enrolled in CTE programs, gaining valuable work experience and knowledge in preparation for “what’s next.”
Programs like Jobs for North Carolina’s Graduates Program have been successfully modeled in Henderson county (and 19 others) and can rapidly expand to help more students at more schools prepare for the post-graduation plans of their choice. Additionally, the homegrown investment in human capital in Yancey county is applicable across the state to advance highly qualified teachers.
Composed of a 50-50 split of Wayne county students and military-affiliated students, the Wayne School of Technical Arts can be a model for educational partnership with military bases across the state. While there are security and transportation issues to address before the school’s proposed opening for the 2022-23 school year, this model could be replicated in the other seven communities with military installations throughout North Carolina, should the local public school and base leadership wish to pursue it.