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Henry plans for College, Career Academy

Henry County Schools has announced plans to continue expanding educational opportunities for pupils for life beyond school.

A steering committee comprised of school officials, county leaders, and business representatives, recently met to discuss the details of the school system’s efforts to build upon its current Academy for Advanced Studies, by establishing a College and Career Academy, according to Henry County Schools Spokesman J.D. Hardin.

“The purpose of the College and Career Academy is to provide Henry County students with a rigorous and relevant curriculum that prepares them for college and careers and ensures a viable workforce for our community,” said John Uesseler, coordinator of Henry’s Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education Program. “The first meeting was a great success and allowed us to promote the concept of a true college and career academy, and how it will support economic development for Henry County, by providing a viable workforce that meets the needs of business and industry in the county,” he said.

The steering committee was formed following the release of an action plan developed by the E2: Economics & Education Task Force. Hardin said the group of more than 100 Henry County stakeholders produced recommendations and goals for the community that focused on making Henry County public schools even stronger, if the recommendations were used as a guide.

Hardin noted that the steering committee received a presentation by consultant Russ Moore from Seamless Education Associates, during its first meeting on Dec. 12, 2011.

“Mr. Moore shared with the group that Henry County Schools will be the largest system to implement a true College and Career Academy, which will provide Henry County students with the unique opportunity to be better prepared for college and their future career aspirations,” said Uesseler.

“The College and Career Academy would speak to four of the five goals developed,” added Tony Pickett, an E2 Task Force member and the school district’s executive assistant to the office of the superintendent.

Pickett complied the school board’s five-year District Strategic Plan, which was designed to communicate to stakeholders, the district’s overall direction. The plan maps out various educational pathways to achieving its academic goals, and for meeting state and national standards.

“Our goals of increasing the graduation rate, improving our rank among top Georgia school systems, securing a technical college and increasing dual enrollment, and becoming a certified Work Ready Community are all affected in a positive manner through our efforts to bring a College and Career Academy to Henry County,” said Pickett.

School officials invite business and community members, who want to participate in the steering committee, to join the group at its next meeting. The steering committee will meet next at the Henry County Chamber of Commerce Hudgins Room, located at 1709 Highway 20 West, in McDonough.

The meeting will start Monday, Jan. 30, at 2 p.m. To learn more, contact John Uesseler by phone at (770) 957-6547, or by e-mail at juesseler@henry.k12.ga.us.