Revolutionary school program unveiled

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 19, 2000

Staff Writer

April 18, 2000 11 PM

Beginning with the 2000-2001 school year, some high school juniors will be able to broaden their horizons even more through new hands-on learning programs.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Troy Board of Education, Pike County Board of Education, Troy State University, Marriott Food Services and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to create three academies for area high school students.

Beginning with the next academic year, the Business and Finance Academy, Culinary Arts Academy and the Center for Global Studies and Communications will educate students outside regular classrooms.

"This is a total paradigm shift in education," said Sherry Key, director of career and technology education for the Troy Board of Education and the Pike County Board of Education. "This is really exciting."

Key said introducing the academies is a model program driven by the business and industry sectors and will be evaluated by other school systems.

Hank Jones, superintendent of the Troy Board of Education, said the program is a chance for this area to "be a catalyst for change" in education.

Jones, Key and others visited schools in Florida with similar programs, took those ideas and transformed them into what would best fit into the two local school systems.

What they came up with, Jones said, will give "top quality instruction" to students at Charles Henderson High School, Pike County High School and Goshen High School.

"The future of education is through career tech," Jones said, adding the academies will incorporate both into its programs and give students "room to grow in academics through opportunities they would not otherwise have available to them."

Mark Bazzell, assistant superintendent for Pike County schools, said this is an "exciting time" for both school systems.

He said it and is a credit to Jones and Pike County Superintendent John Key for having the insight and working together to be the first in Alabama to create such a program.

"It’s a wonderful opportunity," Bazzell said. "We’re just glad to be a part of it."

Since one of the programs will be at Pike County High School, another at Charles Henderson High School and the third at the Troy Pike Center for Technology, the program will allow students to cross district lines to attend the magnet academies.

According to the proposal written for the program, the Business and Finance Academy will be on the campus of Pike County High School and will "introduce students to a world of educational and business opportunities "they otherwise many not encounter or experience" during their lives.

"It’s an effort by the school systems to partnership with the business community to provide opportunities for students," Key said.

Bazzell said the school system is working to build a new building on the PCHS campus which will house the academy and include a full service bank through cooperation with First National Bank of Brundidge.

On the CHHS campus, the Culinary Arts Academy will introduce students to the food service industry.

Both of these will be a two-year course and have a maximum of 25 students who will have to go through an application process.

The Center for Global Studies and Communications will allow high school students to abe enrolled in Troy State classes and get high school credit. Three days a week, students in the academy will go to TSU and attend class at their home school the other two days.

"They are still a part of their high school experience," Key said of those will participate in the academy programs.

In addition to knowing more about business, industry, culinary arts and other things of interest to them, students will "know their community…as future leaders of this community," Key said.

She said this program benefits education and the community because of the teamwork involved.

"I think there’s a lot a community can do to support education," Key said.

Every generation wants their children to have a better life than they had and education is the key to that, she said, adding "more doesn’t necessarily mean a four-year degree."

That is a sentiment business and industry has been expressing.

"I think this is one of the best things that’s happened to education in a long time," said Marsha Gaylard, president of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce.

She said "it’s exciting" to see business and industry and education working together.

Key said plans are to include academies for agribusiness and manufacturing technology.