School board reports success in career, tech training

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The Wilson County Board of Education approved the career and technical education plan for the 2017-18 school year Monday.

Chairwoman Christine Fitch said the plan had already been approved by the state department of public education.

Wilson County Schools offers 64 CTE courses at the high school level and 15 at the middle school level.

“We offer 14 of the 16 state recognized clusters, including agriculture, food and natural resources, architecture and construction, arts, AV technology and communication, business management and administration, finance, health science, hospitality and tourism, human services, information technology, law, public safety, corrections and security, manufacturing, marketing, STEM, engineering and technology, transportation, distribution and logistics,” Fitch said. “The only two we do not offer are education and training or government and public administration, but we do provide opportunities in the education arena.”

Fitch detailed some CTE highlights from the past school year.

Wilson County Schools had 407 CTE concentrators tested for work keys. Of them, 256 of the CTE students earned career-ready status of silver or above.

“While silver and above is considered career-ready, bronze and above all provide students a level of industry certification,” Fitch said.

Fitch said 376 juniors and seniors earned industry certifications at various levels, including 33 platinum, 71 gold, 152 silver and 120 bronze certificates.

In 2017-18, CTE enrollments were 2,823 students at the middle school level, and 5,117 at the high school level, Fitch said.

Some 108 students participated in work-based learning placements this year, including internships and co-ops, she said.

“Over 70 of our local employers agreed to work with our students and at least 10 of our internship placements transitioned into paid positions for our students,” Fitch said. “Four additional internships are scheduled to convert to paid now that school is out, so that 14 of our students who were doing internships have morphed into paid positions.”

“We placed 11 students in our new teacher internship program and these students spent 90 minutes a day for an entire semester observing or assisting in elementary or middle school classrooms,” Fitch said. “Each of these students expressed a desire to major in education in college and of the 11 students who went into that internship program, four were awarded Peewee and Myrtle Owens Scholarships, which means that these four students will come back to Wilson County Schools for employment once they have met their obligation.”

Across the county’s three traditional high schools, there are 158 members of the National Technical Honor Society.

Fitch said Future Farmers of America had 40 members at Beddingfield and 270 at Hunt.

Both clubs have excelled in competitions, shown animals locally and at the state and held successful plant sales in the fall, winter and spring.

“They have had students receive (the) North Carolina state degree, which is the highest honor that a student can get in North Carolina FFA,” Fitch said. “One of the students in the FFA program, a graduating senior, because of the courses that he took while in our programs, has started his own lawn care and landscape business. He got all of the fundamentals in chemicals and other areas and has formed a limited liability corporation and is now in business for himself.”

In the business and marketing highlights, Hunt’s career and technical education students club DECA has 69 members

Beddingfield’s Future Business Leaders of America has eight members while Hunt’s FBLA has 18 members and Fike’s has 23 members.

More than 500 students have been certified through the Microsoft IT Academy.

In health science highlights, Wilson County Schools had 33 students at Fike and 65 students at Beddingfield receive certification in American Heart Association basic life support.

“Beddingfield and Fike, both working with the American Red Cross, hosted blood drives and 842 pints of blood were collected at those two efforts,” Fitch said.

In trade and industry, students earned 217 nationally recognized certifications in public safety and 41 students have successfully passed all units for state carpentry credentials.