Forming Partnerships for Career-Ready Education

September 27, 2012

Georgia Highlands College has been energetically working with The Floyd County Schools and Georgia Northwestern Technical College to develop the curriculum at the College and Career Academy in Rome. The purpose of the charter school is to give high-school students the opportunity to concentrate on their chosen fields of interest and accelerate their path to work.

Darrell Sorrells, associate professor of education, has spearheaded GHC’s participation at the College and Career Academy. He has mentored and taught four students from the Floyd County system, who are in their second year of the program. The education program with CCA lasts four semesters, and covers critical and contemporary issues in education such as history, philosophies, legal issues and funding. It also explores the job of teaching and how society, culture and home affect classroom curriculum and classroom management.

The program is the culmination of about two to three years of development between GHC and the College and Career Academy. Students who have identified education as their career track start their junior year at the academy and take three semesters of education classes from a teacher there. Part of the requirement is that they shadow/intern in a classroom so they gain hands-on experience. In the fourth semester (spring of their senior year) they can choose the option of taking a college credit class. This past spring saw the first group to go through the program. They joined regular GHC students in their class at the Floyd campus. They also went into elementary and middle schools in the district. They observed and worked with small groups of students. Following classroom time, they wrote about what they did and what they learned in those settings.

In pursuing this curriculum, students get a head start on their college courses. They come to Highlands for the last semester, so if they’re planning to enroll, they’re already familiar with the campus and some of the faculty.

Those on the technical track also get hands-on training in the classroom. So whether students are learning a technical skill or working toward a degree in early childhood education, they are more prepared to go directly and seamlessly into a work environment. And they’ll do it faster than they would if they finished high school and began a traditional four-year degree course or a technical certificate program.

Currently, students from Coosa, Model, Armuchee and Pepperell High Schools are eligible to attend the College and Career Academy. To take GHC classes, however, students must earn 1000 on the SAT.

GHC is so committed to the concept that the college has become partners with the Bartow County school system and Chattahoochee Technical College to create the Bartow College and Career Academy. This program has been driven by the Bartow County Board of Education, with the support of GHC and CTC, the Bartow County Chamber of Commerce and community and business leaders. Their goal is to enhance academic achievement and to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in post-secondary education or in the workplace.

The charter for the Bartow academy has already been approved by the Bartow County school board. It has been presented to the state’s charter division. The curriculum is being developed in the areas that were identified as most needed: advanced manufacturing and engineering, energy systems, law and public safety, travel and tourism and health sciences.

If the program receives approval by the state, the academy should be up and running by 2014.

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