During a time in education when families are considering the best options for their children, public education in Catawba County flourishes with an abundant list of accelerated and specialized programs—all designed to meet the needs and goals of the individual student.
The public has the chance to learn about the options in public education through the second annualPublic School Choice Fair, scheduled Wednesday night, January 7th from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PMat the CVCC Student Center. The open house is a “drop-in” family event, free of charge. Families from throughout Catawba County and beyond are encouraged to attend.
Whether a high school student is seeking studies in public safety, graphic design, theory of knowledge, project-based technology or college credit to help ease the expense of higher education while gaining forward steps, students and their families may consider applying to any of the programs across the county.
The exceptional programs, offered as a collaborative effort among all three school systems within Catawba County (Catawba County Schools, Hickory Public Schools and Newton-Conover City Schools), are tailored to meet the aspirations of students who seek opportunities beyond the traditional environment.
“There is a collaborative spirit among the three school district superintendents, Dr. Dan Brigman,Dr. Walter Hart and Dr. David Stegall,” said CVCC President, Dr. Garrett Hinshaw. “They have expressed their ability to think outside the box, creating excellent venues of education for all.”
Working closely with Catawba County Manager, Tom Lundy and the Board of Commissioners of Catawba County, the three school systems and CVCC have received continual financial support to enhance the programs and upgrade facilities for these specialized programs.
“We are fortunate to have such strong backing from the County Commissioners—as their provisions have positioned our school systems and CVCC to jointly offer significant partnerships to benefit all students,” said Hinshaw.
The specialized programs are open to all county students (through application)—no matter a student’s residentially-assigned school:
~Challenger Early College High School
(Based with Catawba County Schools and located on the campus of CVCC)
~Discovery High School
(Based with Newton-Conover City Schools)
~Hickory Career & Arts Magnet High School (HCAM)
(Based with Hickory Public Schools)
~International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB)
(Based with Hickory Public Schools and located at Hickory High School)
Challenger Early College High School is a prime example of the efforts to remove clocks and calendars as barriers to student performance. In partnership with CVCC, students from all three school systems in Catawba County, as well as Alexander County, have access to their high school diploma and up to two years of a college education, free of charge.
Hickory Career and Arts Magnet High School, also known as HCAM, offers college-level courses taught by CVCC instructors—on the HPS remodeled campus (the former College Park Middle School). The students are preparing for career and technical licensing through their studies in eight different academies at HCAM including Acting, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Dance, Forensics, Advertising & Graphic Design, Photography, and Public Safety (Firefighting/EMT).
The International Baccalaureate Program (IB) offered at Hickory High School is open to students from throughout Catawba County. The curriculum is developed as a standard on an international, competitive level. When the seniors take their exams, the exams will be the same exams distributed in such countries as Japan, the United Kingdom, and Poland—actually, more than 140 countries. Required courses range from IB English to IB Individuals and Societies, while IB electives include such courses as IB Psychology and IB Music, among others.
The doors at Discovery High are open to students who seek an education that offers problem-based and inquiry-based learning. The technology-rich curriculum engages students with instruction that offers a strong teacher to student ratio—with learning as the number one priority. The problem-based learning emphasized at Discovery, originates with the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) model approach to education.
With the collaboration of all three school systems in Catawba County, finding ‘choice’ for public education is not an issue, according to Hinshaw. “In fact, the opportunity to choose from diverse, specialized educational programs—is tremendous,” he said.