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LCSS career academy plans moving along
Groundbreaking for facility is Friday
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The Liberty County Career Academy is well on its way to being implemented in the school system.
During a Tuesday morning board of education work session, BoE members received an update on the project from Career Academy CEO Tom Alexander.
“The more work I’ve done on this, the more excited I become about this. This is going to be a really good thing for our kids,” Alexander said. “There’s a place out there for everybody; we just have to help them find it.”
Because construction was pushed back a bit due to complications with building location, a school-within-a-school concept would be utilized to get students enrolled into the programs earlier than the facility would be built, which will get the program going, Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer said during a monthly BoE meeting earlier this month.
Liberty College and Career Academy will provide amended program offerings to students at Bradwell Institute and Liberty County High School, Alexander said.
 In the coming months, staff will meet with small groups and individual students who want to be involved in the program to explain how the program will work. An informational public forum for parents also will be offered to educate the community about the benefits of the LCCA, Alexander said.
A legislative luncheon Friday featuring Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle will focus on the new academy and will be followed by a groundbreaking ceremony at the old Liberty County Airport Road site. The facility, with specially designed classrooms for each program, will open officially in August 2012.
Board members also were updated on the use of technology in the school system by Patti Crane, the executive director of technology and media for the Liberty County School System.
Wireless Internet is available at every school campus for the 5,500 computers throughout the system and are utilized daily, Crane said. In addition to computer systems, the LCSS has 663 interactive SMART Boards — in every elementary and middle school — to allow teachers to integrate technology in the classrooms.
Depending on each school’s academic plan for the year depends on the specialized training that teachers and staff get, Crane said. The training also is specialized for each school, so teachers can actually use what they are learning in their classes, the executive director said.
As one of the top technology school systems in the state, Crane said that all the technology tools provide a purpose and are not just for fun.
“You don’t want to have the latest and greatest just because,” she said.
Toward mid-March, Crane said she expects to hear back about a $1.35 million grant from the Department of Defense Education Activity that she applied for through the LCSS.
Between 25 to 35 grants are expected to be awarded nationally and were granted through the DODEA because of the heavily populated military community.
The grant would provide iTablets for three middle schools to use during science and math classes, giving students access to applications available through the classroom tool. If the three-year grant is given to the LCSS, Crane promised board members she would come back with a more detailed presentation of what the grant entails. Each classroom would have a set of 30 iTablets and the total grant would be spent on hardware, software and training.
“We just submitted the paperwork — I feel very positive about it. All three middle schools are excited about it,” Crane said. “There’s a lot of pros to using this. All the apps you can utilize.”

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