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Program advancement reported at SWACC

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Southwest Area Career Center at Monett
A report on programs at the Southwest Area Career Center (SWACC) and building plans for Monett Elementary School were presented at the March meeting of Monett R-1 Board of Education.

SWACC Director Tyler Laney said the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has approved SWACC adding a pharmacy aide program as part of its health sciences program next year. Students will be able to take the state's pharmacist tech exam after finishing the class.

"Students may not end up as a pharmacy assistant or a healthcare aide, but both provide key training for becoming a registered nurse, an anesthesologist or a pharmacist," Laney told The Times. "We see the new course as a real advantage for our students. Jobs in the medical field are plentiful and pays well."

Preliminary indications suggest enrollment in the class will be significant, Laney said.

Freshmen transition program has been added this year from Monett High School. Every Wednesday, Monett High School freshmen come to SWACC to attend different sessions to try out a field of study as a career option.

Another innovation this year has been a coordinated effort between the childcare program and Monett Elementary School. Working with Principal Susie Gasser, SWACC students interested in teaching as a career have been going to the elementary school three days a week to work with children.

The response has been very positive, both from teachers and the SWACC students. The teachers want the childcare students to come back next year and have plans for how the students can help in the instructional process, Laney said.

Success has been especially notable in the Missouri Options program for students so far behind that they cannot graduate at their home high schools. One option for 27 students in the program has been participation in the Junior ROTC program, which emphasizes responsibility, honor and respect.

"I've been absolutely amazed at the change in attitude [of the Missouri Options students in JROTC]," Laney said. "I really didn't know if they would stay with us. I've seen a 180 degree turnaround in their attitude and appearance."

The number of students participating in the Missouri Options program this year has nearly doubled from the 2008-09 school year.

In his written report, Laney indicated 70 percent of students taking a concentration of courses at SWACC have passed the technical skill attainment test in each career. In addition, 37 students qualifyied for the SkillsUSA contest on the state level.

Students attending SWACC this year number 787, down 6 percent from last school year. In technical areas of study, enrollment has held very close to last year in 10 fields and dropped in six.

Monett Elementary plans

Representatives from Sapp Design Associates updated board members on design development for construction at Monett Elementary School. Jungmann said the architects have had talks with the city about storm water retention requirements in light of construction plans.

Board members received an updated curriculum for social studies to review. Assistant Superintendent Julie Germann reported new emphasis is being placed on the consequences of historical events and decision making, instead of on dates, times and names. The shift is designed to engage students more in the subject.

Contract action

Gale Webb Transportation offered to help the district with expenses, Jungmann reported. The bus service offered to do a one-year contract with no rate increase, instead of signing the district to another three-year deal. Board members agreed and signed the deal.

"We appreciated the offer," Jungmann said. "It was welcome budget news."

The board set a special meeting for 5:30 p.m. on April 13 to swear in school board members elected in the April 6 election and to name new officers for the coming year.

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