Five school board members are heading to Georgia today to learn about vocational programs.
Eleanor Goettee, Patti Head, Ron Margiotta, Anne McLaurin and Horace Tart will visit the Central Educational Center (CEC) in Newnan, Ga. The trip is the brainchild of Tart, who's been pushing for a vo-tech high school for Wake since he joined the board in 2005.
Tart has argued that Wake needs a stronger vocational program (now called career and technical education or CTE) to reduce the high school dropout rate.
Tart has been a strong proponent of the model used at CEC. Through his efforts, Wake school administrators visited the school last month. Now board members will see what Tart calls "a proven approach."
The charter school is a partnership of business, school and community college leaders. Students take classes in their base high school and then go to the main campus for specialized courses.
CEC leaders tout that the school has increased test scores and lowered the dropout rate. They say that 98 percent of their graduates go on to two- or four-year colleges, many having already earned technical certificates, or enter the workforce already trained in specific jobs.
In tandem with this trip, school administrators will meet Friday with local business leaders to talk about CTE classes in Wake. The idea would be to divide the county into four areas, each with seven different themed career academies.
David Rockefeller, Wake's CTE director, told school board members this week that career academy themes could include environmental health, engineering, communications and business systems and marketing.
Click here for the handout that Rockefeller gave the board on Monday.