Arrowood Spoke to EPI

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Arrowood promoting College and Career Academy
Katy Arrowood, the chief executive officer for the Griffin Region College and Career Academy is out promoting the school as an option for students.

 
Arrowood spoke to the Spalding County Educational Prosperity Initiative on Thursday and will make a presentation before the Spalding County Board of Commissioners Monday night. She offered to speak to any community or church group.

 
Educational Prosperity Initiative Chairman Jewell Walker-Harps welcomed Arrowood and wanted to make sure parents and grandparents of students are aware of what it has to offer and how the students can avail themselves of it.

 
“I am concerned we get the most out of the College and Career Academy,” Walker-Harps said. “Hopefully this is a step toward solving the problems in the community,” she said, “but we are going to have to assume some responsibility as parents and grandparents raising children. We can’t blame others if we don’t take advantage of what is brought to the table.”
Walker-Harps, who was on the study committee for the College and Career Academy and is a retired educator, “emphasized education and prosperity go hand in hand, You can’t have one without the other.”

 
Arrowood said she had been here since August, coming from the College and Career Academy in Athens, which she said was the top one in the state. “We are about making this community even grander through education and economic development,” she said.

 
The state goal, Arrowood said is by 2020, for every high school student to have access to a College and Career Academy. The Griffin Region College and Career Academy will serve students in Spalding, Pike and Butts counties, offering dual enrollment, where a high school student takes college classes and gets credit for both high school and college.

 
The College and Career Academy will open in August, but the building where it will be located, the old Spalding County High School/Flynt Middle School building will not be ready, as it being totally remodeled. For the first year the college level classes will be taught at either Southern Crescent Technical College or University of Georgia Griffin Campus depending on the classes.
The Pathways classes, she said will be offered at Southern Crescent and the college core classes will be offered at UGA-Griffin, since the building isn’t ready.

 
Griffin-Spalding County Schools are already on block scheduling, Arrowood explained so students will take half of their classes at their high school and the college classes at the College and Career Academy. All transportation will be provided by the school system, and there is no additional cost for books or fees.

 
Right now the focus will be on high school juniors and seniors, with College and Career Academy opening up to grades 9 to 12 once the renovations at the building are finished. For the first year, she said, enrollment would be limited to 160 students, but she noted more than 300 have already applied.

 
Arrowood noted the need for some sort of higher eduction, saying 70 percent of jobs now require a degree or some kind of certification. The College and Career Academy is for both college bound students and for those going straight into work out of high school.

 
The College and Career Academy will have several “pathways” based on the needs of local businesses. The pathways include:
• Criminal Justice, which includes the fields of law enforcement, law, and forensic science. Griffin Police Chief Mike Yates said the department has asked for four paid interns in the budget, and Arrowood said Athens Clarke County Police Department did the same thing there.
• Film Production, which includes behind the scenes work for electricians, grips and others. Arrowood said there were 20 different film productions in Georgia in December alone.
• Health Care, which she said include not just nursing and emergency medical responders, but the business side of billing and coding.
• Education, which is the number one employer in the region, and includes teaching as a profession and students doing their practicum at Orrs Elementary.
• Mechatronix, which is pre-engineering, troubleshooting, manufacturing, with jobs guaranteed at 1888 Mills, Caterpillar and Bridgestone.
• Early College Essentials, which is the core classes needed for any college degree. In addition to classes, Arrowood said, there are internships and work-based learning. Students at other College and Career Academies have completed associate’s degrees before their high school graduation.
• Soft Skills, which she said is the top reason someone does not get or loses a job. These include showing up for work every day, having the ability to pass a drug screen, when to use the phone, what to post on social media and how to work in a group.

 

The last piece, Arrowood said, is the option for students to be involved in community service projects. “Every single college and job application wants to see if you have been involved in helping others,” she said.

 
Arrowood went over success stories of four different students, one of whom was her own daughter, who started out with the goal to be a judge. At the College and Career Academy she took her core academic courses, interned for a Superior Court judge and found out she didn’t want to be a judge.

 
“She wants to be the one writing the laws,” Arrowood said, and is now interning at the General Assembly, and is writing all the recognition legislation. And she already has her freshman core classes done.

 
Arrowood said, “I treated all of them like they are mine, and will do that with the students here.”
She encouraged students to go to their counselor they want to apply, On March 9, Souther Crescent is giving the Compass test for free. On March 24 at Griffin High and March 25 at Spalding High, the SAT is being given.

 
Home school and private school students can apply for the College and Career Academy at Gordon College or at Southern Crescent. Students need at grade point average of 3.0 for the college core course and a 2.0 for Pathways courses. Arrowood said those working on GEDs would be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Ray Lightner
Griffin Daily News
March 6,2016