We should all stand up and give the Floyd County Board of Education and staff a hearty round of applause.
That’s because on Monday, the board took steps to create something that could become a vital part of this future of this region.
The district already has a college academy that allows high school students to graduate with an associates degree as well as their high school diploma. Now, officials have taken that kind of focus on the future to another level. They’re planning to open another academy, one that will benefit even more students.
When it opens, the Floyd County STEM/Career Academy will be one of the few in the state, and it will offer, in one location, targeted education for students who want to work in specific fields related to science, technology, engineering and math.
This academy, which will be free and open to between 45 and 60 students in the first class, will help these students by not just teaching them the basics, but also by helping them carve out a future career for themselves.
Superintendent Danny Adkins said it will offer pre-engineering pathway that will help students get a “leg up” when they apply to study engineering in college; a heavy equipment operator pathway that could help students land a local job after graduation and a computer science pathway that could roll students into careers in what Adkins said is one of the region’s fastest-growing occupational needs: network engineering. He said another career pathway may also be added once plans are finalized.
Another thing we find particularly special about this plan is the report from Adkins about the selection process. There is a competitive application process in the college academy program the district currently has, and Adkins suggested that some participants in the STEM academy will be randomly selected, which opens the door for more students.
Adkins was right when he said that the district is “educating kids for jobs that really don’t even exist yet,” and that’s a heavy load for all Floyd County educators to carry.
The creation of this academy will help them pack that load.
This kind of out-of-the-box kind of thinking is exactly what we need to see from those folks who lead the education of our students in Floyd County. It’s exactly what the students of this county deserve to see.
We’ll cross our fingers, hoping to see this academy become a whopping success, not just for the district, but, most importantly, for all of the students it is going to serve.