‘We need to teach …’ Whoa: We already teach that in Davie County

Published 2:02 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

A representative from a state senator’s office visited Davie Schools’ Superintendent Jeff Wallace recently.

“He said, ‘We don’t teach enough CTE classes. We don’t teach enough masonry. We don’t teach enough carpentry. We don’t teach enough’ …”

Wallace cut him off.

“I stopped him and said, ‘We do’.”

The senator’s representative was surprised.

State and local education officials weren’t at all surprised. They know the extent and the success of career and technical education (CTE)  programs in Davie County Schools.

At Davie High last year, students earned 1,350 career credentials (A required credential for a certain job, such as ServeSafe for restaurant workers.), ranking it 10th in the state. “For a system our size, that’s pretty impressive,” Anthony Davis, Davie Schools’ director of CTE and federal programs told members of the board of education.

Davie High’s percentage of students taking a CTE course is at 77 percent. New programs are starting yearly. This school year, there were 56 interns with 32 business partners. Three years ago, there were none.

“These internships are helping students learn what I want to do, or what I don’t want to do,” Davis said. “We had one student, Savannah Ivey, who presented at our business advisory meeting, and she is working on her third internship. She is figuring out what she wants to do in different areas, and talked about how important CTE and her internships have been in deciding what she wants to do for the rest of her life.”

Davis commended the teachers and support staff, and said Davie is accomplishing its goals without local tax funding. They get grants, partnerships with businesses and regular state allotments.

Wallace said a look at the school’s graduation rate – right at 98 percent – is proof that the program is working.

“From the band to masonry to athletics to the meshing with the exceptional children’s program … When you get a kid connected to something, that’s the kind of results you get.”

The high school offers 14 career clusters, 27 career pathways, over 50 CTE courses taught by 20 teachers. Middle schools have nine CTE teachers.

But they’re not sitting on their laurels.

Davis and the CTE team is working to get a new building at the high school, one that can house a machining fabrication lab as well as a public safety area. He thinks it can be done with grants and donations from local businesses that could benefit from having students at least partially trained for a job.

“The community college has already told us, if you get this space, we will give you the machines to fill it,” Davis said. “It’s a community collaboration effort.”

“Our kids are benefitting,” Wallace said.