CEC poised for second year of 8th Grade Academy

by Celia Shortt

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Some of the equipment in the robotics lab - (on left) a KUKa robotic arm, donated by Grenzebach, an industry in town. on the right is a labvolt robotic arm. 


The 2013-14 school year marks the second year of the eighth grade college and career academy at the Central Education Center (CEC) in Newnan.

The purpose of this academy is for eighth graders to experience and determine what is out there for career options.

“Research tells us that students in middle school are having more serious conversations about careers,” said Mark Whitlock CEO of the CEC. “We need to find more realistic ways for them to make those choices.”

Sixty students - ten from each middle school in Coweta County - are chosen by a lottery to attend. Throughout the school year, each student receives his or her core academic classes and technical classes, called connections. These connections include instruction in forensics, construction, aviation, computer science, and robotics. Each student is able to take four different connections in the school year.

“I enjoy their enthusiasm,” said Scott G. Brown a CEC teacher who teaches the eighth grade robotics class. “You’re getting students from middle school. Students who have never done anything like this before. It’s a like a brand new world to them.”

In addition to eighth grade robotics, Brown teaches pre-engineering, robotics, and drafting to high school students at the CEC.

“I hope they find a career path, that they find what they want to do with their life - whether they are an eighth grader or a high school student,” he added. Last year, 380 CEC students had apprenticeships and internships from 225 different employers, and 206 students were dual enrolled in West Georgia Technical College programs.

“The practical advantage of the CEC is that students can touch a career,” said Whitlock. “Our values say we want to change the high school experience. We start asking ourselves how to not only prepare them, but how can we make them succeed in college and career while in high school.”

The CEC is a charter college and career academy, started in 2000, located on Martin Luther King Drive in Newnan. Its mission is to ensure a viable 21st Century Workforce, and its 14th year of high school operations begins on Aug. 6.



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