Local businesses and educational partners came together Tuesday morning at the Newton College and Career Academy to celebrate as the academy was named a Ford Next Generation Learning Community.
The NCCA is one of only 17 schools nationwide chosen for the designation, said Tom Besaw, a consultant with the Ford Learning Fund. At the event, he recognized community members for their partnerships with the NCCA and explained some of the benefits of the program.
“The things taking place here in Newton County and in this facility are just wonderful,” Besaw said.
“All the students in this academy and the 19,000 students in Newton County Schools … they are our future. And I think we can feel very good and very proud and very optimistic about the country seeing these students. I’m here because you are the future of the country. You are the future of Newton County.”
Besaw said over the past 12 years, Ford has focused its efforts on supporting learning models that allowed for real-world experience in “learning communities” or “academy models.” He noted that the academy models serve as small learning communities.
“The academy model that Ford Next Generation Learning supports is what you are doing here in Newton County,” he said.
During his presentation, Besaw recognized and presented awards to the City of Covington, the Newton County Board of Commissioners, Georgia Piedmont Technical College, the Newton County School System, Georgia Perimeter College, The Center for Facilitating Community Preservation and Planning, Georgia College Career Academies, the Newton County Chamber of Commerce and the Newton County Industrial Development Authority. He then recognized James Woodard, principal and CEO of the Newton College and Career Academy, and made the Ford NGL community presentation.
Woodard said during the ceremony that the career academy has spent the past year working toward the designation, developing a plan focused on Ford’s Next Generation Learning initiatives: transforming teaching and learning; redesigning high schools; and sustaining change through business and civic leadership. According to information from Ford NGL, Ford’s network of communities sees results in higher graduation rates, increased academic achievement, improved preparation for college and the workplace, increased earning potential, economic benefits from reduced dropout rates, and high school graduates with industry certifications and college credits. Students will also have access to exclusive scholarship and internship opportunities.
With the recognition, NCCA will receive ongoing guidance and technical assistance from the Ford NGL Leadership Team as NCCA implements its plan and reviews its progress annually.
NCCA will also have opportunities to learn from other Ford NGL communities. Samantha Fuhrey, superintendent of Newton County Schools, said the designation is a great opportunity for students at the career academy.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. James Woodard, the staff at NCCA, and the NCCA board of directors for your work that has gone into this prestigious designation.
“It’s no small task to undertake this work and we appreciate all of your efforts,” Fuhrey said.
“Thank you to Ford Next Generation Learning for recognizing that it takes a collective effort of our parents, businesses, community leaders and school system in an effort to ensure that our community moves forward and is successful.
“No one entity can do this work alone,” concluded Fuhrey.