Sampson Independent

School board mulls career, tech upgrades

Officials from Sampson County Schools are continuing to explore ways to improve career and technical opportunities for students.

Ginger Stone, Ginger Stone, director of Career and Technical Education (CTE), presented 2018-2019 plan for next school year, during a Board of Education meeting. The goal is to provide opportunities work-based learning opportunities for students, educational certifications and credentials for careers.

Throughout the year, Stone receives support from principals, teachers, support staff, counselors, parents and the local CTE advisory committee. Board members also offer input.

“When you express concerns and things, we really try to incorporate those things in our local plan as well,” Stone said.

For the current 2017-2018 school year, the total CTE membership was more than 2,400 high school students with 31 teachers providing instruction. The amount of students enrolled in courses was 3,800.

“That shows that students are taking more than one of our courses,” Stone said.

The program with the most participation was Business Education with 1,072 students enrolled. Sampson’s second biggest program was Family and consumer science at 1,014. Agriculture was third at 950. Stone said the top program is different each year.

“Those are traditionally, the three highest program areas,” Stone said.

Other opportunities for high school students include Health Occupations, Marketing, Technology, and Trade and Industrial. At the middle school level, some of the courses include keyboarding, office productivity, and other courses which allow students to explore their career interests.

Board Chair Tim Register started a discussion about providing more Trade and Industrial opportunities for students. Currently, automotive is offered at Midway High School and Carpentry at Lakewood High School. While asking about the biggest impediment to adding courses, Stone said it comes down to having enough teaching positions during the year.

Register said skills based and technical education is something the district needs to find more time exploring. He also feels that it’s been neglected.

“I know at one time we has brick masonry and carpentry at more that one school and we had auto mechanics,” Register said. “I know that some of the auto mechanics now involves technology and equipment. But I certainly would like for us to explore being able to expand some of those programs.”

Stone said she’s heard some of those concerns too. The CTE department is in the process of researching the matter with local employers, but having enough educators will be considered as well. Adding more partnerships with local businesses was also mentioned to help fill the void. Board Members Dewain Sinclair and Telfair Simpson industry professionals may assist through private programs.

Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy said one the quickest solutions would be to explore position allotments within the district with funding sources outside of CTE. After getting the official budget, school officials may prioritize positions for future school years.

While discussing industry programs, Stone said enrollment should be considered when trying to bring in students and getting rid of stigmas that come with certain position such as carpentry, welding or plumbing.

“We got to work on changing that and we’ve been trying to do that through the years,” Stone said. “The interest is building, but it’ll take some time to do that as well. It may not start with a lot of student interest, but that may change.”

The board is scheduled to approve the plan during its regular board meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, May 21, at the Central Office Auditorium, 437 Rowan Road, Clinton.

Board members Telfair Simpson, Dewain Sinclair and Patrick Usher review documents and discuss school improvements. members Telfair Simpson, Dewain Sinclair and Patrick Usher review documents and discuss school improvements.

By Chase Jordan

Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.