Knox school board approves new CTE Magnet High School

9:46 PM, Jul 10, 2013   |    comments
If approved, Pellissippi State Community College will partner with Knox County for a new CTE Magnet High School
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It appears Knox County will have a new public high school in one year following a vote Wednesday evening by the board of education.

Members approved a new career and technical education school at Pellissippi State's Strawberry Plains campus.

The district will work with the college to give students options like dual enrollment and dual credit, and will focus the high school's curriculum on specific areas like manufacturing and homeland security.

Some board members are concerned the school will duplicate CTE programs already in place at existing schools, but others say the school will be unique due to its college partnership, without endangering the current programs elsewhere.

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Wednesday night, the Knox County Board of Education will vote whether to add a new Career and Technical Education high school in Knox County.

In a memo to the board, Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre outlines plans for the school, which will be partnered with Pellissippi State Community College and housed on the Strawberry Plains campus.

During Monday night's work session, McIntyre explained what kind of courses will be offered.

"We've focused on four potential courses of study including advanced manufacturing, sustainability, homeland security, and teacher preparation. Many of our students will have the opportunity to engage in dual enrollment, dual-credit activities," he said.

The memo includes the district's budget for the project, listed at $3,785,000 for build-out construction on the Pellissippi campus, plus initial equipment for the school.

Board members Mike McMillan and Gloria Deathridge both questioned how the new school's courses would differ from  existing magnet courses offered in Knox County schools.

"We started this program to beef it up for our children. Now, all of a sudden, we have the same, or similar program, only about five miles away," Deathridge said, referring to Austin-East High School's magnet program.

Knox County Magnet Supervisor, Dr. Daphne Odom, said those courses are still being developed by the district and Pellissippi, and assured they would not duplicate current options for students.

"Something really important to remember is, that the junior and senior CTE courses are taught by Pellissippi faculty," she said. "So, they are very different than what we offer in Knox County. So we are not competing with Knox County because they are unique courses in their own."

If the proposal is approved, McIntyre said he is optimistic the school will open in 2014.

Also included in the Board's agenda:

Approve $1.2 million "Smart Spending" grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, designed to help the district better analyze its resources and expenses.

Approve a resolution to accept the title for Carter Elementary School. Knox County School facilities manager, Doug Dillingham, assured the Board Monday the school is in accordance with the district's standards.

"There's no difference between what was built at Carter and what we're building at Northshore, what we built at Gibbs, what was built at Cedar Bluff," he said. "So, it is within our program standards and it is a very good quality product."

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