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Newton High CTA receives grant
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The state Department of Education has awarded Newton High School's Career, Technical and Agricultural Education Department with a second $15,000 grant for industry re-certification.

The Georgia Department of Education determines key employability skills in each CTA area, specific performance objectives students must meet and standards which must be implemented into each course.

Courses are reviewed each year at an on-site visit where they are scored by the state to remain certified. Programs must be re-certified every five years and, if they qualify, are given a $15,000 grant to enhance courses with new technology.

Newton High Business Education teacher Debra Lary explained that her department first will purchase two new software programs with the grant money. She said the programs will introduce students to a variety of occupations in the business field.

"We're really, really focused and geared on getting kids to discover and know what it is they want to do after they graduate," Lary said.

She said many times high school students graduate with no idea what career or field of study they want to pursue, but the CTA Department is designed to fine-tune students' goals.

The programs also will strengthen student's basic thinking, clerical, interpersonal and technological skills, according to Lary.

"That's something that the kids can use straight out of school," Lary said.

She also hopes to purchase technology that will allow students to create pod-casts of lectures, guest speakers and presentations for viewing on the school's Web site.

"However, the greatest part about the entire program, is teachers who work here and kids who go here can say we have an industry-certified school," Lary said.

Kathy Reese, Newton County School System director of high school and vocational curriculum, said industry certification places a "gold star" on Newton High's program to technical schools, colleges and employers.

Reese said Alcovy High will apply for industry certification and grant for its CTA department this spring.

"We will certainly be expanding our career and technical education department in all the high schools in the county," Reese said, "but at this time there is no plan to allow students at the other schools to take a course at Newton just because it is industry certified."

Lary said Newton High students should take advantage of the only industry certified high school programs in the county.

"It's going to put us on the cutting edge," Lary said. "We're going to have the latest and greatest of everything."