The Lonoke School Board heard plans of future a partnership with the Arkansas State University in Searcy during Monday night’s meeting, to offer technical courses for high school students as well as other interested parties in the community.
Carroll Moody, representative with ASU-Searcy, said beginning the fall 2014, courses will be offered to high school students, in a effort to offer technical skills that will prepare students for employment at the Remington Arms manufacturing plant. He said college courses will be offered at night along with the morning high school program, to also allow adults to attend the training program and receive a technical certificate in one academic year.
Moody said high school students may receive credit for all the technical courses if they attend their junior and senior years. According to Moody, high school students must take Career Communications and Technical Math before they will receive a technical certificate from ASU-Beebe before their senior year of high school. He said arrangements with the district are being discussed to offer the two courses necessary for completion. Moody said the high school program unlike the typical classroom environment, will work on a three week rotation to keep students engaged throughout the course.
"This way there won’t be the boredom and getting tired of the same subject over time," Moody said.
According to Moody, the course would offer four areas of study including: Workplace electricity A and B; Concepts of Manufacturing Processes and Quality Control Principles A and B; Concepts of Fluid and Mechanical Power A and B; Metalworking A and B, Each area will offer two, three college credit hours. Once one course is completed in all four areas, the student will be awarded a certificate or proficiency, Moody said. According to Moody, when both courses in all four areas of study are completed along with Tech Math and Career Communications, the student will receive a technical certificate.
The courses will be given in a computer lab environment, Moody said. He said there will be 10 work areas established around with lab with all text, technical information, tools, equipment and supplies needed to complete the learning and task in each area. Students will spend approximately 35 clock hours in each work station in the lab. Two to four students will be at each station at a time and will rotate until all students have been trained in all ten areas. The ten areas of learning include: AC and DC Electrical Circuits, Electrical Controls and Wiring, Drafting and Reading Prints, Quality Control Measurements, Hand Tool Identification and Usage, Hydraulic and Pneumatic Power, Mechanical Power, Welding and Cutting Metals, Lathes and Mills.
There will also be classroom instruction to cover areas including: the workplace environment; workplace safety; bolts, crews, glues and other fasteners; lubricants; types of metals and their uses; plastics and other non-metal materials; manufacturing processes.
Moody said the complete program will be around 960 clock hours, which includes the two 45 clock hour courses of math and communications.
"They will be well prepared for jobs," Moody said.
School board president Matt Boyles said he has approached the idea with farmers within the county and the biggest question was if the program would benefit the farming industry in the county. Moody said with the overall education offered in the program, the educational benefit would most definitely effect the farm industry and other companies, not only Remington Arms.
"We want people to leave this and get jobs in a lot of different areas," Moody said.
Moody said this will also benefit those who have jobs who want to improve their pay grades.
In other business, elementary school principal Jennifer Barbaree made elementary employee and student of the month recognitions during the meeting. Male student of the month recognized was fourth grade student Jackson Mason. Barbaree said Mason is described by his teachers as student who is "genuinely a positive person, never discourages, give 100 percent each day, always wears a smile on his face and an outstanding student."
Female student of the month recognized was third grade student, Anh Van. According to Barbaree, Van is described by her teachers as a student who "pays attention in class, works hard on every assignment, always has a positive attitude, one of the top AR readers each week, maintains a 4.0 grade point average, and great behavior."
Licensed employee of the month went to gifted and talented teacher Pam Chandler. Barbaree said she appreciates the opportunities she offers students and for her positive attitude and work ethic. According to Barbaree, Chandler is described by other employees as a teacher that "does an excellent job at offering opportunities for students, does an terrific job with our gifted student, loves her students and always finds a way to improve what she offers, an awesome person, and constantly looking for new ideas and asking classroom teachers how she can help with our instruction".
Barbaree recognized elementary school secretary, Leslie Anderson as the classified employee of the month. She said Anderson is described by the elementary staff as "always willing to help, goes tat extra mile to give you what you need whether it is information or a shoulder to lean on, the hear of our school, helpful and informative, always has a great sense of humor and that special glue that keeps us all together".
The 2014-2015 school calendar was unanimously approved by the board. Students will kick off the new school year Aug. 18. Holidays will include: Labor Day on Sept. 1; Halloween, Oct. 31; Thanksgiving break Nov. 24-28; Christmas break, Dec. 22- Jan. 2; Martin Luther King Day on Jan. 19; Spring break, March 23-27; Good Friday, April 3; Memorial Day, May 25. If no more than two snow days are taken, the last day of school will be May 29. Built in snow days are scheduled for March 20, April 5, and June 1-3. There will be no school for teachers and students on the snow days unless school is missed due to inclement weather prior to the dates.
Also during the meeting, the board unanimously voted to:
-Accept the resignation of Ashley Smith
-Approve the school of choice resolution as presented
-Pay the professional development invoice from the Wilbur D. Mills Coop of $15,200
-Spend $13,814 with Advanced Cabling Systems for camera equipment, repairs, software and software licensing for the high school and middle school surveillance systems.
Tony Kellybrew was absent from the meeting. The next regular scheduled board meeting will be at 6 p.m. on April 21 in the administration building.