During the Leon County School Board agenda review meeting on February 7, 2022, the Board discussed the impacts on Leon County schools of the $2 million grant for Tallahassee Community College (TCC) for a Career and Technical Education (CTE) charter school.
The $2 million to TCC is “like a gut punch to Leon County Schools,” said Shelly Bell, the Director of Lively Technical College. “It will impact our schools,” although it is not clear exactly how, Bell noted. She asserted that it is time to talk with students in the district to see what CTE programs they want in their schools.
Bell explained there are programs available in some schools, like the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program at SAIL High School, which has been successful since its launch in 2021. Another example is the Culinary Program at Leon High.
Bell said, “in a perfect world, there would be multiple programs in every middle school and three or four career pathways in every high school.”
Some concerns expressed during the conversation were regarding budget, the replacement of currently offered classes for newer CTE programs, and pay and staffing issues to instruct the classes.
Creating more career pathways in Leon County Schools has been a topic brought up often by Chair Darryl Jones over the last several years. He enthusiastically supports this idea and wants to encourage bringing the principals of the high schools together to discuss this further.
Jones also discussed a Targeted Industry Study that resulted in three trades, the medical field, culinary arts, and building trades, with the most significant opportunities in the area.
He suggested working with the community to help with funding issues. For example, suppose there is a lack of talent in the auto mechanic industry. In that case, the LCSB might appeal to industry representatives to help fund the programs, resulting in certified talent who are market-ready after graduation.
Superintendent Rocky Hanna stated there is an opportunity to attract students to CTE programs that can be made available at some of the under-enrolled schools. Therefore, it may alleviate some of the congestion in overcrowded schools.
The conversation ended with direction to bring ideas back for additional dialogue.