Local educators at the Polk County College and Career Academy got a good grade from officials appointed by the state to determine how the program within Cedartown and Rockmart High Schools are performing some five years after forming.

Polk County College and Career Academy CEO and Assistant Superintendent Katie Thomas said after the state officials wrapped up tours and meetings with staff and community members, the PCCCA received a positive review from the state team.

“The response that we’ve received so far has been nothing but positive,” Thomas said. “It’s been an opportunity for us to show off all the wonderful things we have in Polk County.”

That team — brought in from Floyd County and Cobb County — got a chance to tour the two facilities at Cedartown and Rockmart High Schools, including the new Agriculture Education building at Rockmart High School set to officially open this week on Friday.

The state-appointed review team also sat down with business, government, education and community partners to hear what they had to say about the PCCCA.

Those discussion with officials ranged from how the PCCCA has helped students get placed into future careers through partnerships with local industries like The HON Company, Miura, the Polk County Water Authority and many more. Local officials also got a chance to share the success stories of students in the Graduate Polk program begun this year and with Kennesaw State University’s Upward Bound program started in 2018.

Local officials involved in the program also praised efforts of educators to give students opportunities outside of the traditional education path to succeed and come out of high school with job opportunities right here at home.

Thomas said the results of the visit were that the report came back with no needed actions required for change or improvements from the state, and that the PCCCA is a “model for the state of Georgia” in how educators should approach the College and Career Academy model.

“I cannot be more proud of the teachers and the students,” Thomas said after the visit.

She added in a follow-up email to officials that “the report boasted of Polk County’s efforts in education that have us leading the way in the state of Georgia and for that I could not be more proud.”

Thomas said she was thankful for the community and business leaders for embracing what the school system is trying to achieve with the Polk County College and Career Academy, and hoped that when it comes time for another five year review, they’ll have even more improvements and positive outcomes to share with the state.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been five years,” Thomas said.

The PCCCA, chartered by the state in 2014, took over for county’s previous technical education efforts in the Career, Technical and Agriculture Education program and revamped it to provide students with various career training paths through the facilities on each side of the county.

In recent years, graduates from the program have also finished up with both high school diplomas and Associate’s degrees from Georgia Northwestern Technical College.

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