BoE to survey parents, students on career academy

Parents and students, what do you think about adding a college and career academy linked to the Fayette County School System?

That’s what the Board of Education wants to know, and it has commissioned a survey to find out. The survey will be headed to the county’s public schools in the coming weeks.

The idea for a survey of parents and students came about in concert with one taken by area businesses on behalf of the Fayette County College and Career Academy organization, which is asking the school system to join the effort in establishing such an academy.

The surveys will be forwarded to school principals, who will determine the most appropriate way to administer the survey to parents and students, said Superintendent Jody Barrow after the Monday meeting.

The surveys to be taken by students and parents are largely similar. The student surveys are designed to be administered to students in grades 6-12.

Respondents are asked about post graduation plans and are asked to identify the areas of academic interest.

A large portion of the survey centers on the “general career cluster interest” where more than a dozen clustered employment categories are identified.

Survey respondents begin by indicating the interest level with each of the categories then listing their interest in more specific aspects of each category to identify academic and career pathways.

By way of example, the Arts, Audio-Visual Technology and Communications category contains four pathway interest areas. Those include entrepreneurship and small business development, an audio and video technology and film pathway, a graphic communications pathway and a graphic design pathway.

Each pathway provides examples of potential job applications and the nature of the work involved.

The final portion of the survey deals with the possible academic location or locations where courses would be taught. Respondents are asked if they would like to spend part of the day or all day at their current school, at a different high school or at a career academy. Respondents were also asked if they could provide transportation to a location other than their regular high school.

Some on the school board have long held that the school system should do a better job of checking with students, parents and former students to determine what types of courses could be offered that would help graduating students secure jobs as they enter the workforce.

Though much-discussed today, the idea of providing additional courses pertaining to the increasing number of career tech jobs and conducting a survey of students and parents is not a new idea. Board member Bob Todd suggested both of those several years ago, but his idea gained no traction with the majority of the school board at that time.