New partnership to provide more college credit options for high school students
Posted on 05/31/2019
Marie Holland, a recent graduate of Sequoyah High School, works on perfecting her welding skills.Hamilton County Schools and Chattanooga State Community College signed an agreement recently to increase access to Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) courses at the college that will provide more opportunities for students to earn credit toward a TCAT certificate at no cost to the student’s family while in high school. Students at Brainerd High, Howard High, Lookout Valley High, and Sequoyah High will have the opportunity to earn dual high school and college credit in their career and technical education courses as a result of the new partnership.

The agreement is a pilot program that both groups see expanding in the future. The initial pilot will include welding, machine tool, and cosmetology courses. Juniors and seniors in the advanced vocational courses will have the opportunity to complete up to two-thirds of the required credits in the one-year certificate programs at Chattanooga State’s Tennessee College of Applied Technology.

The Advanced Manufacturing Production Assistant (AMPA) program will be available at Brainerd High, and Lookout Valley. Welding Technology and Machine Tool Technology will be available at Sequoyah High. Cosmetology will be available at Brainerd High and Howard.

Students will receive high school credit for CTE classes and receive Dual Enrollment clock hour credit from TCAT at the same time. Hamilton County Schools teachers will be adjunct professors with the TCAT program and teach the courses.

“The opportunities will be available to juniors for next school year,” said John Maynard, CTE director for Hamilton County Schools. “When graduates finish the dual enrollment program, they will be at least 2/3 of the way towards their Technical College Diploma.”

The new partnership will directly address Future Ready Students, Action Area 2 in the Future Ready 2023 Action Plan for the district. The credit and experience students receive as a result of the new opportunities in the TCAT program will better prepare graduates for success after high school. The dual enrollment credits earned by students in the program will also push Hamilton County Schools closer to the performance target for the third objective in the Focus Five Performance Targets outlined in Future Ready 2023. Target 3 seeks to increase the percentage of graduates completing at least one advanced course or industry certification exam to 75 percent by 2023. Increasing the number is important because education research indicates that 75 percent of students who have access to college-level courses and programs in high school will go on to college or a post-secondary program.

“We want to graduate teens prepared for success after high school and give them opportunities to map out a focus for their future with access to these programs,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “A major priority of our strategic plan is to provide access to advanced courses, dual enrollment options, and industry certifications and it is an area of investment in the proposed budget for next school year.”

Chattanooga State will train Hamilton County Schools instructors this summer, and they will become certified TCAT adjust instructors so that students can begin to earn TCAT credit this fall.

Photo: Marie Holland, a recent graduate of Sequoyah High School, works on perfecting her welding skills.

Video of Marie Holland talking about the Welding program at Sequoyah High