State DOE awards grants to schools

COVINGTON -- Several Newton County schools are planning for program expansions thanks to some recent grants from the Georgia Department of Education.

Grant recipients include Clements Middle School and Alcovy and Eastside high schools.

Clements was awarded a $65,000 construction-related equipment grant to purchase items for its engineering/technology and family and consumer science programs.

"Equipment purchased will include computers, active board and engineering equipment including robotics, (cutting) machines and software specific (items) for engineering applications," said James Woodard, director of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education at the Newton County School System. "For family and consumer science labs, we will purchase equipment to enhance culinary arts, food nutrition and early childhood education."

Eastside was awarded a $67,500 construction related equipment grant to purchase items for its engineering/technology program as a result of summer renovations.

"We are thrilled about that because that equipment is very expensive," said Dr. Linda Hayden, director of curriculum, instruction and technology at NCSS.

This summer, workers completed renovations at the school to help qualify it for more state funding and support. Using other grant funds, they rearranged and reorganized the current classrooms to set them up more like industry-certified labs and created a work room in which students can build models, robots and other projects.

Using the new grant funds, the CTAE department will be able to provide essential and advanced equipment to help the program become industry certified next year.

Some other grant funding also will help another department at Eastside.

Alcovy and Eastside high schools also recently were awarded three industry certification grants from the GaDOE totaling $20,000 each.

The grants will help certify the health care science program at Alcovy and the business programs at both Alcovy and Eastside. The funds will be used to purchase computer software and technology that students will use to prepare and earn industry credentials.

"These programs are pretty well under way," Hayden said. "It will be quite an accomplishment when they reach that goal."

The programs will undergo evaluations for industry certification by April 2011.

Woodard said he hopes to have these types of introductory programs at the base high schools and offer more advanced courses at the Newton College & Career Academy when it opens.