After months of planning to overhaul the district’s job certification programs, Shelby County Schools is sharing which schools will have each program if approved in the district’s budget.
Tennessee’s largest district narrowed its focus from 16 to seven mostly high-paying career fields and plans to phase out others.
- Advance manufacturing
- Health science
- Information technology (IT)
- Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)
Students would not have to test into any of the programs. Altogether, the district has about 180 courses to attract more students to its programs. Only half of eligible seniors last year completed their job certification. Classes in areas such as cosmetology, culinary arts, and car repair will continue, but not as many.
Sixty-five programs will be phased out in 24 schools. About 35 teachers will continue teaching the targeted courses until current students complete certifications in the programs. The district will provide transportation for those students if the program is moved to another school.
Roughly 15 teachers will given the opportunity to train in one of the new focus areas next year, according to Joris Ray, an assistant superintendent. The district will pay for another 45 teachers to take an IT certification exam and ongoing training. The remaining teachers, about 140, will continue in their current classrooms. Shelby County Schools plans to hire more teachers in relevant fields, but officials did not provide specific numbers Wednesday.
Ray said the district would hold a meeting with career and technical education teachers Thursday afternoon to explain how the changes affect them.
“We want see everybody placed. We don’t want to see anybody without a position. That’s our goal,” Ray said Wednesday.
The $8 million revamp to its career and technical education program is part of the proposed budget for 2018-19 school year that board members are expected to pass later this month.
Workforce training classes are getting renewed attention under a state and federal push to prepare students for jobs of the future.
To measure a “ready graduate” under its new plan, Tennessee will look at how many students earned industry certification, took dual enrollment or Advanced Placement classes, passed military entrance exams, or earned a 21 or higher on the ACT. The metric accounts for 20 percent of school and district scores under a new grading system being rolled out later this year.
School board members Wednesday were worried that school counselors, let alone parents and students, wouldn’t have all the information they needed to successfully navigate the new programs.
“It has to be someone who understands careers… so at the end you cross the stage with a certification,” said Miska Clay Bibbs.
You can see below which schools will house which certification programs. (Be sure to zoom in!):