The Advanced Studies Center on the Gainesville High School campus is complete, just in time to welcome students yesterday for the first day of school.
The center, located to the right of the gymnasium and behind the Bruster’s Ice Cream on John Morrow Parkway, is two floors of space housing the district’s Career, Technical, Agricultural Education program, as well as Advanced Placement courses and the work-based learning program.
Students were seen learning inside of classrooms tailored for a specific CTAE program, including a mock hospital room with medical beds, construction workshop and a large, industrial kitchen area.
In addition to these rooms, some classrooms were designed for more traditional, lecture-style teaching, but with more technology and equipment for AP courses.
“[The building] is really a testament to our commitment to invest in workforce development, so we want to ensure that all of our students have the opportunity to prepare and to be successful at the post-secondary level,” said Principal Jamie Green. “That could be for some, immediate entry into the workforce, for others it could be the technical college route, and for some, four years and beyond.”
The CTAE program includes sixteen different career clusters, or pathways; 370 GHS students completed one of the pathways this past school year, according to information from the school district.
Some of the most popular clusters include construction, education, healthcare, marketing, manufacturing, public services and business. The school district utilizes a program called YouScience, which quizzes students on their interests and matches them with a cluster.
“A lot of high schools kids really don’t know what they want to do, they have these big ideas of jobs that they can do, but when they come here and they try healthcare, or they try engineering, or they try marketing or business…there’s a chance that they’re going to stumble on something they’re really good at or really love, or hopefully, both,” said Green.
Regardless of the path they ultimately decided on, Green said students who enroll in the CTAE program also learn soft skills that translate across all career fields.
“The level one courses in each program talks about employability skills…how to have a conversation with somebody, how to kind of present yourself in a respectable way,” said Green. “That focus is so important and it carries on toward every walk of life our students choose.”
Work-based learning is another popular program at Gainesville High that will take place primarily in the Advanced Studies Center. This program provides students with real-world experiences by working part time with one of the district’s numerous partners.
Last school year, 211 GHS students worked 59,311 hours and earned a combined total of $547,315.41 through the work-based learning program.
Yesterday, leadership with the University of North Georgia visited the center as a part of their Regional Education and Economic Development tour.
The university partners with Gainesville City School District for the Aspiring Teacher Program, Summer Scholars Institute and Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities grant.
Following the tour, UNG President Bonita Jacobs remarked on the potential of the new center.
“We already have a very powerful relationship with the school district, but this [center] will afford more opportunities for our student teachers to be able to be here in this incredible atmosphere,” said Jacobs. “There are so many progressive initiatives, that helps our students, it helps them to be better teachers eventually and that helps our entire region.”
Through the Aspiring Teacher Program, UNG students work as paraprofessionals in Gainesville City Schools while completing their undergraduate degree through the College of Education.
An official ribbon cutting ceremony for the center is scheduled for next month.