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Career academy off to a fast start
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In the short time that the Newton College and Career Academy has been open, it has exceeded the expectations initially set forth, from enrollment to community support.

The projected enrollment for the 2012-13 school year was 550, but the actual enrollment is 602 students in the NCCA- with more than half of those (66 percent) being female students. The higher enrollment of females is due - in part - to classes in careers such as healthcare science, cosmetology and early childhood education, according to CEO/Principal James Woodard.

The enrollment is close in percentage by high school, with Newton High having the highest number at 43 percent (256 students), followed by 35 percent from Alcovy High (212 students) and Eastside High at 22 percent (134 students). The majority of student enrollment is juniors (40 percent), followed by seniors (32 percent) and sophomores (28 percent).

The most popular career pathways are healthcare science and culinary arts with 33 percent of students at NCCA enrolled in those programs, followed by business (24 percent), marketing (22 percent) and agriculture (19 percent).

Other pathways offered are construction, cosmetology, automotive, manufacturing, engineering, graphic arts, video broadcasting, network/repair, early childhood education and public law/safety.

Of those enrolled at NCCA, 23 percent are advanced students, 22 percent are AP students, 9 percent are Quest students and 7 percent are students with disabilities.

Georgia Perimeter College also works with the NCCA to offer dual enrollment. Sixty-three students are currently participating in dual enrollment in the healthcare CNA classes, 49 in salon services, 21 in automotive, 22 in early childhood education and 23 in intro to law and justice, with a total of 29 percent of NCCA students taking dual enrollment courses as well.

Students are evaluated on a number of things, including 21st Century learning skills (communication, teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, productive technology users, creativity and innovation and regional, national and global awareness); professional skills (work ethic, interpersonal etiquette, productivity orientation and organizational and management skills); personal success skills (self-awareness, goal setting, passion and purpose and career navigation); and a review of professional skills, such as shaking hands, making eye contact, business casual or business formal professional dress, written and oral communication, listening and networking skills.

The NCCA has been so successful that several other school districts have been to visit the school, including neighboring counties such as Henry and Morgan, as well as Fayette, Colquitt, Columbia, Barrow, Effingham, Madison and Bartow. The Southern Regional Education and the Georgia Department of Education Facilities Team have both visited as well.

Students at the NCCA participate in the compass internship program, allowing them to network with local businesses and develop a workforce pipeline. Additionally, seven other students are taking advantage of the Entrepreneurs Business Incubator (EBI), which provides them an opportunity to start their own business and meet with business mentors in order to learn how to market their products.