ROCKINGHAM — Through an Innovative Partnership Grant (IPG) — a federal grant for Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) Schools — Ashley Chapel Educational Center is able to offer continuing credit courses through Richmond Community College as high school credits.
This is the first time Richmond County Schools is offering a continuing education course as high school credit.
Principal Kevin Mabe said he has enjoyed seeing their vision for the school come to a reality.
“This is schoolwork, but it’s also something they can do outside of school,” he said. “We’re very fortunate for the grant and RCC has been a great resource.”
Last spring, Counselor Timothy Ray Field sent out a survey to students asking about courses they would be interested in taking, and an electrical course was one of the students’ top choices.
Automotive and plumbing were the other top choices and will be offered under the grant.
The course began Aug. 24 of the 2020-21 school year and Instructor Joey English said students spent the first portion of the class learning the basics — tool safety, workplace safety, etc. The students then translated what they learned in the classroom to a hands-on workspace.
Currently, the students are simulating “roughing-in” a house. English had each student draw their own blueprints to follow and each blueprint was different from their peers. Once students complete the roughing-in phase, they will all move onto the trim-out phase where they will begin installing plugs, switches and light fixtures.
“I encourage them to help each other,” said English. “When you’re on the job, you’ll be working as a team.”
“You can see their gears turning as they figure it out,” said Mabe as he watched his students work. “It’s fun to watch.”
Mabe and Monica Robinson, the Innovative Partnership Grant coach at Ashley Chapel Educational Center, said they’ve seen their students shine while participating in the course.
“Brent said this is what he looks forward to, this excites him,” recalled Robinson. “And Jason has more self-confidence.”
Angineek Gillenwater, the Director of Program Development at Richmond Community College, said students are guaranteed interviews at the end of the course. Upon completion, students are considered “electrical helpers” and can further their education at RCC. English is also looking at internship opportunities for the students.
Brent Goodwin, a senior, said he enjoys what he’s learning in the course and is excited for the interviews. He plans to continue his education at Richmond Community College after graduating.
Richmond County Schools’ Director of Federal Programs Pam Patterson is thankful for the partnership with Richmond Community College.
“RCC did not hesitate to provide this opportunity for students of Ashley Chapel Educational Center,” she said. “This is a perfect example of a vision becoming a reality. The fact that the course started despite the current circumstances is truly remarkable. It took many individuals and a lot of hard work to make this happen with everyone agreeing that this is what is right for students.”