Business, industry leaders invited to school forum

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- The Newton County School System is looking for business and industry representatives to help officials develop the Newton College and Career Academy.

NCSS will conduct a Building Our Next Generation Learning Community Forum for business and industry leaders from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. April 29 in the board room of the Newton County Board of Education, located at 2109 Newton Drive NE in Covington.

NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews said the system needs at least 40 representatives to participate in the meeting.

Academy leaders hope to use input and knowledge from those individuals to provide students with skills and knowledge in the fields they choose to study. The NCCA board of directors also has partnered with The Center for Facilitating Community Preservation and Planning to develop skills and abilities that define the 21st century skilled workers, Mathews said.

"These identified skills will be used to help guide curriculum at NCCA," he said.

At NCCA, students will be able to study the following programs: Agricultural Mechanics and Technology; Forestry/Natural Resources; Plant Science/Horticulture; Broadcast/Video Production; Construction; Transportation/Automotive Services; Finance, Accounting and Banking; Interactive Media/Web Design; Computer Systems Repair and Networking; Graphic Design, Communication and Print; Culinary Arts; Engineering and Manufacturing; Early Childhood Education; Government and Public Safety; Health care; Cosmetology; and Marketing (Management, Sports and Fashion). More may be added later as the school expands.

In addition to the $3.05 million in state grant funds awarded as part of the Georgia Career Academy Project, spearheaded by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, that will be used to develop the school, Cagle also recently presented the NCCA with a $10,000 grant to support the school's efforts to become a Ford PAS Next Generation Learning Community.

"Next Generation Learning Communities work to create meaningful learning experiences that enable students to apply academic knowledge to real world learning experiences," Mathews said. "They also create and maintain career- and interest-based programs and the collaborative culture, structures and practices necessary to transform teaching and learning. Additionally, they engage employers, educators and civic and community leaders to collaborate in promoting and sustaining educational programs that prepare the future work force."

The grant was created out of funds raised by Cagle to support college and career academies across the state.

James Woodard, NCSS director of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education at NCSS and CEO of the academy, said the grant will provide us resources to help build staff with the necessary teaching strategies to equip students with necessary skills for the 21st Century learning environment.

Business leaders, parents, teachers and others also are asked to participate in an skills survey on the NCCA Web site, www.newtoncareeracademy.org, to help school leaders determine what gaps exist between the industry and when students complete school.

The academy is scheduled to open in part at Alcovy High School in the fall. In January, the program will operate out of its permanent facility behind Newton High School.