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Jeff Meadors: RCA leads the way again

Jeff Meadors

Jeff Meadors

Here we go again. Rockdale Career Academy (RCA) keeps performing for students and taxpayers. Business and industry seek RCA-style productivity when looking for new sites. This is bang for taxpayer buck like few educational institutions can boast in today's climate of increased moves for dollars to follow the student.

Public safety or public service? You be the judge.

And the judges are in the building at award-winning RCA. The academy held its annual Public Safety/Law and Justice Pathway cookout on Saturday, Aug. 4. Former judge Virgil Costley, now program coordinator for Georgia Piedmont Technical College's paralegal program, engaged students while in past years Judge Nancy Bills has toiled over hot grills in the late summer heat as civic and community leaders come together for student success.

RCA even managed to snag former Rockdale Fire Chief Frank Wilson to teach.

Led by multi-credentialed teacher and adjunct college professor Ben McCumber, staff, community and civic leaders, Mercer University personnel, Georgia Perimeter College Dual Enrollment staff and students, Georgia Piedmont Technical College Dual Enrollment staff and students, Conyers Police Department, Teen Court, Citizen's Academy, Explorer Post and more stakeholders enjoyed an afternoon of hot dogs, fire truck demos, team building activities and down home fellowship as the academy readies for a Dec. 12, 2012 (12-12-12) ribbon cutting.

RCA's two story addition will house the Public Safety Academy, the Career Tech office, Work Based Learning, science labs, office space for college partners and classrooms for daytime dual enrollment classes and evening classes.

Move on When Ready students, Accel-funded dual enrollment students and those in multiple career pathways indefatigably concur -- RCA is the place to be.

And it's mom-approved. A mom from Queens, N.Y., and another who works in an elementary school gave praise to the relevance of RCA's pathways at the Saturday event.

Storms threatened overhead, but nothing rained on this parade, for RCA foreign language teacher Juan Ruiz is too busy writing the state curriculum for workplace Spanish.

Uniformed supporters were in full display at the Conyers Police Department Explorer Post in the Commons as students learned of experiences to help them mature and prepare to become responsible adults.

Explorers receive training in traffic stops, self-defense, handcuffing techniques, SWAT tactics and Georgia law. Explorers attend competitions and an Explorer Police Academy in Alpena, Mich. The Post is open to youth ages 14-20.

With Rockdale County Fire Department, National EMS and more on hand the message to taxpayers in Rockdale is loud and clear: This charter school has emerged as the biggest return on investment in the metropolitan region.

In a perfect world intergovernmental FTE agreements would allow students in less fortunate systems to participate in something going very right in public education.

RCA earns bragging rights through a highly qualified, stable leadership team who puts classroom teachers and students first to create a climate where the workforce exclaims, "I wanna work here!" Just ask the judge and fire chief.

RCA steps up to the plate once again and 1,840 current students step right along.

Jeff Meadors represents District 1 on the Newton County Board of Education.