Career Tech Academy looks to prepare students

The LeCroy Career Technical Center will begin offering students the opportunity to take both career and core classes, as part of the Career Tech Academy. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

The LeCroy Career Technical Center will begin offering students the opportunity to take both career and core classes, as part of the Career Tech Academy. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

As the new school year begins, so does the Career Tech Academy, which is being implemented for the first time in Chilton County.

The academy will serve as an expansion of the opportunity that students have had in recent years to attend LeCroy Career Technical Center for career tech classes.

According to Dara Norman, Career Tech Director for Chilton County, the need became evident after hearing overwhelming feedback from members of the program that had taken part in the previous career courses offered.

Career tech classes have been offered at the center since 1965, but beginning this year juniors and seniors in the program will now stay on the LeCroy campus throughout the day.

The campus is located at 2829 4th Ave. N. in Clanton.

“This will be done in addition to the 13 career tech programs that are currently in place,” Norman said. “We want to have everything revolve around what the career choices will be for these students.”

Students will take both career and core classes at the center, and will have less required travel from LeCroy to their high school.

Four core subjects will be offered and taught by two teachers and two aids, Norman said.

Even the core subjects will be career-minded, such as creating resumes and filling out job applications as part of their English class.

“These are skills that they’re not getting elsewhere,” Norman said. “We will meet the standards, but involve career tech aspects. If you can’t fill out a resume, you’re not going to get a job.”

Students that are part of the academy will remain members of their high school and be able to participate in any activities, athletics or clubs at the school.

Lunch will be brought and served each day by the Chilton County Child Nutrition Program.

“We’re not taking anything away from their high school experience,” Norman said. “We’re just giving them an opportunity.”

According to Norman, the idea for the academy has been discussed for the past three years, which included multiple visits to Shelby and Cullman Counties, where similar programs had already been in place.

About 130-150 students will start and end their day at their high school, and take a bus to and from the LeCroy Career Technical Center on both occasions.

“That’s probably about all that we can handle,” Norman said. “This concept is going to be new to everybody.”

The plan was originally presented to the principals in the county and then with Superintendent of Education Tommy Glasscock and the school board.

Glasscock was the career tech director for six years, and has seen first-hand the role that the LeCroy Career Technical Center can have on a student.

“The end product is a student getting a job,” Norman said.

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