Here’s a look at the Catoosa County school board’s proposed projects for ESPLOST IV …

Technology

Funds will be used to buy new iPads and Chromebooks for every student and to update technology in classrooms.

“Catoosa County students have benefiter from having a personal technology device since 2016,” reads the school system’s website. “Technology is integrated with instruction daily so students understand how to use technology productively. When schools were closed due to the COVID global health pandemic in March 2020, Catoosa students were prepared to continue learning at home using their iPad or Chromebook. … Learning to use technology productively is preparing Catoosa County students for success in a technology-driven global economy.”

Facility equitability

Funds will be used to build a performing arts theater at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High.

“LFO High School is the only high school that does not have a theater,” says the school system’s website. “ … This theater will provide opportunities to showcase the talent of the LFO Warrior Band, and with this new performance venue, drama will be added as an opportunity for students to participate in the arts. High school theaters provide a venue for performances and events for all students in the attendance zone, as well as community activities.”

Funds will be used for major construction and renovation at Boynton Elementary School.

“With Graysville Elementary’s new construction and revitalization, Boynton Elementary School is now the oldest elementary school in the district,” the school system’s website says. “This elementary school has our largest enrollment, and this school zone is predicted for growth in residential development. The Boynton project is designed to maintain facility equitability, and to improve safety.”

The project’s first phase will be included in ESPLOST VI with a large classroom addition in the back of the school to accommodate growth. The second phase will include demolition of the existing building to move the school further back on the property and away from the road for safety. A new updated two-story building will be built, and bus and car lanes will be redesigned to improve traffic flow and safety.

From HERE to CAREER! College and Career Academy

Funds will be used to expand the school system’s “From HERE to CAREER! College and Career Academy.”

The Academy was launched in August 2019 with a cohort of 16 students at Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Catoosa County Campus, which is off Ga. Highway 151 (Alabama Highway) in Ringgold.

The school system was awarded a $3 million grant from the Technical College System of Georgia to build this school. The grant will be combined with ESPLOST VI funds to build a state-of-the-art College and Career Academy on the Benton Place Campus off Battlefield Parkway.

“Catoosa County Public Schools has collaborated with business and community leaders since 2017 to plan for a new College and Career Academy,” says the school system’s website. “Georgia College and Career Academies are specialized charter high schools that encourage high school students to dual enroll in college classes to earn technical and academic credit to continue post-secondary education or begin a highly-skilled career when they graduate from high school.

“College and Career Academies are a partnership between the school system, post-secondary schools, and employers. A board of directors, with a majority of business members, make decisions for the school. Board members are committed to Catoosa’s From HERE to CAREER Academy preparing students for high-paying jobs and becoming an economic development engine for employers in the northwest Georgia region.

“The From Here to Career Academy pathways align with workforce demands in the region and the Governor’s High Demand Career Initiative. The Academy will open with following career clusters:

♦ “The School of Law & Justice and Emergency Management meets a critical need for emergency responders and law enforcement personnel in our region.

♦ “The School of Nursing, Sports Medicine, and Therapeutic Services addresses a national shortage in the healthcare industry.

♦ “The School of Information Technology and Cybersecurity will address software and IT needs in every career cluster in the Academy.

♦ “The School of Architecture and Construction will expose students to construction management and skilled trades that are in high demand in the region including electricians and plumbers.

♦ “The School of Welding and Machine Tool Technology addresses a significant national and local need for welders and machinists.

♦ “The School of Education will provide the opportunity for the school system to grow our own teachers. Currently 30% of Catoosa teachers can retire with twenty or more years of experience, so the Academy will create the talent pipeline needed for excellent teachers in our system.

♦ “The School of Logistics, Distribution, and Supply Chain Management is very important in this region. Chattanooga ranks #1 of all metropolitan cities in Freight Movement, and a Thrive 55 study found that 80% of the nation’s freight travels through Chattanooga.

♦ “The School of Industrial Systems Technology, Robotics, and Mechatronics will address the region’s deficit of skilled workers in engineering and production.

“Students in the county’s three high schools have access to CTAE (Career, Technical and Agricultural Education) classes; however, students only have access to the programs offered at their school. The From HERE to CAREER Academy will give students from each high school equal access to career-technical education in the highest demand career fields in our region.

“The Mechatronics pathway launched with a cohort of 16 students in August 2019 at Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Catoosa County Campus. The first day of class Superintendent Denia Reese gave students a Golden Ticket to help them understand opportunities in the program. As a From Here to Career Academy student, they receive free college tuition through dual enrollment; industry-recognized technical college certificates, diplomas, and degrees; authentic industry experiences; pathway-specific internships and apprenticeships; professional skills development; a professional resume; and guaranteed interviews with pathway partners. Students who complete pathways are qualified for highly skilled jobs, in good-paying careers, with excellent companies, upon graduation from high school.

“In addition to technical skills training, employers overwhelmingly report that high school and college graduates are significantly deficient in employability and work ethics skills required to be successful employees. Professional skill development and work ethics will be a cornerstone for The From Here to Career Academy to prepare students for success in work and in life.

“The opportunity to attend the From HERE to CAREER Academy is a life-changing opportunity for Catoosa County’s high school juniors and seniors. The system was awarded a $3 million dollar grant from the Technical College System of Georgia to build this school. The grant will be combined with ESPLOST VI revenue to build a state-of-the-art College and Career Academy on the Benton Place Campus.”

Facility maintenance and safety projects

“In addition to construction projects,” the website says, “the system uses ESPLOST revenue to ensure that buildings are well-maintained, safe, and secure. ESPLOST VI will pay for roofs, HVAC, and other facility maintenance projects. ESPLOST VI revenue will also be used to maintain safe and up-to-date buses.”

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