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BOE reviewing possibility of career academy
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Newton County may soon get a career academy, at least that's what Kathy Garber is hoping for after she presented the Board of Education a general outline of what a career academy is.

Garber's presentation laid out the benefits of a career academy and is part one with the second part coming at next Tuesday's BOE meeting.

A career academy is a high school that offers more career oriented classes as well as the standard core classes to meet state graduation requirements.

According to Garber, students from the three high schools would be able to attend, and structured career preparation paths would benefit those who may not want to go into a four-year university.

"This is a great way for students to prepare for the careers in a specific industry," Garber said. "This gives those who want to jump right into the workforce and opportunity to learn skills that will prepare them after the graduate."

Garber showcased several vocational classes - financial and mortgage service courses to an extravagant culinary arts classroom.

One of the unique aspects to a career academy is the classroom settings and equipment.

The presentation highlighted many of the classrooms from the Rockdale Career Academy in Conyers which opened in 2007.

Linda Hayden, associate superintendent for instruction, added AP students would also benefit from such a school.

"With some of the AP classes where we don't have enough enrollment at one school, if we had a place where a teacher with a class that's full, it would be much easier than just saying, 'well I can't offer that at this school because there aren't enough students," Hayden said.

The advent of a career academy would mean the three high schools would have to use a common schedule. According to Garber, Rockdale County is changing to an eight period day in 2008-2009.

In addition to the five schools slated to open by 2012, a career academy would put the total number of schools in the system at 27.

A career academy would be a Charter School and funding would not come from the county. However, Garber did not dismiss the possibility of outside funding.

"We need to look into all the programs and look into sources of funding," she said. "There are a number of (funding) options and we need to look at all of them."