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CTE is focus for BOE

Board of Education members decided to let President Trump know that they were listening when he advocated job and vocational training in his State of the Union address, and sent a letter to that effect, on a suggestion from board member Karen Etheridge.

Board chairman Dr. Bill Dobney brought the subject up at last month’s board meeting and suggested it would be a good time to send letters to the State Board of Education and state superintendent, urging that consideration be given to creating a Career and Technical Education (CTE) track for graduation, adding that the “one size fits all” diploma is losing some students and not giving them the opportunity to succeed.

Assistant superintendent Renee Dowdy added that not every student needs four years in college to succeed, and not everyone should have to get a high school diploma by the same route, adding the state needs different and personalized diploma tracks, something that was available a few years back.

Dobney pointed out that forecasts show the need for 200-250 new houses per year in Currituck for the next 20 years and students could have meaningful and successful careers in the building trades.

While board member Will Crodick said he did not oppose sending the letters, he wanted to see them first and wanted to be sure that other diploma tracks are not just easier, that students will get the same quality courses and will wind up with a diploma that means something and not just a piece of paper.

On a related note, school superintendent Mark Stefanik announced that the Currituck County High School CTE program was among the 100 programs from the 115 districts in the state that applied for a state grant, and was one of only 14 to receive funding that will be used to expand the CTE program all the way to the sixth grade.

As a grant recipient, the superintendent explained that Currituck then gets priority for subsequent CTE grants.

In reviewing field trips, superintendent Stefanik pointed out the variety of events students are involved in and the successes they are having, noting that the activities are not just social, but rather opportunities for students to excel and to learn new skills.

Those field trips included:

Currituck County High School: All District Band clinic; band clinic Orlando, Fla.; regional and state swim meets; wrestling regionals and state championships; DECA state competition; softball tournament; and AP government trip to Arlington, Va.

Currituck County Middle School: All District Band clinic

Moyock Middle School: All District Band clinic and FBLA state leadership conference

JP Knapp Early College High School: FBLA state leadership conference.

Board members added their commendations to the students, as well as to the teachers and staff, as board member Etheridge commented, “I’m so proud to be a part of Currituck County Board of Education.”

The board may take another look at a policy that ties exemptions for non-mandated exams to attendance.

Student board members Jenna Akers, Tyler Little, Colin Coffie and Keelan Hartmann reported on happenings at each of the county’s ten schools, including: participation in Read Across America Day, a Pinewood Derby competition, anti-bullying programs, Bus Driver Appreciation Week, dressing as 100 year old people for the 100th day of school.

Board member Etheridge gave the invocation at the start of the meeting, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by students from Currituck County Middle School.