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SWACC has received high marks

Monday, May 9, 2011

Progress on expanding opportunities at the Southwest Area Career Center (SWACC) were detailed for the Monett R-1 Board of Education at its April meeting.

Director Brad Hanson reported the North Central accreditation team issued a "glowing" report on the Career Center. They recommended full accreditation, completing a goal the R-1 District has pursued since 2008.

The North Central team cited the following strengths of the Career Center's operation:

* Exceptional building climate that promotes teaching and learning.

* SWACC faculty remain focused on a common purpose despite leadership changes.

* Evidence of a true learning community.

* Strong student organizations, especially the National Technical Honor Society.

* Solid support from the central office.

* Great advisory committee process.

* Well documented policies and procedures.

* Use of several on-line administrative and tools for teachers, such as PowerSchool and MyLearningPlan.

* Higher education partnerships.

* Parent nights, tours and freshmen transition program to promote student enrollment.

* Tremendous facilities that are well kept and maintained at industry standards.

* Great employer support from businesses such as Lowe's and Fabick Caterpillar.

Several challenges for the Career Center were also identified by the North Central team:

* Building a five-year plan.

* Establishing belief and core value statements.

* Offering industry recognized certifications for all programs.

* Expanding wireless services, especially for adult populations.

* Emphasizing depth of knowledge and critical thinking skills in professional development.

* Continued expansion of articulation/dual credit agreements.

* More intensive use of data to make informed decisions.

* Creating a simulated work area in the pharmacy technology classroom.

* Establishing a more thorough grievance procedure for students.

* Adding faculty and planning for cultural changes as the adult enrollment expands.

Hanson expanded on points made by the North Central team in his report about the adult education program. With the addition of federal Pell grants available with North Central accreditation, Hanson said the future direction and scope of the adult program should be planned.

Over the past year, Hanson said SWACC administrators have been seeking new possibilities for post-secondary course work in the Monett area. Crowder College will begin offering career technical education (CTE) courses next fall in Monett. Crowder will offer evening courses in college credit welding, construction tech, auto collision, auto technology, fire science and introduction to criminal justice.

"This is an opportunity for job training toward an associates degree using our tremendous facility," Hanson said.

Missouri Southern State University has shown interest in providing remedial math and English instruction, Hanson added.

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