Welcome students and parents to an exciting new school year. I begin my fifth year as the director of the Excelsior Springs Area Career Center (ESACC). Our charge is to work in partnership with parents, students, and community to prepare each student with lifelong career skills. Students who master technical, employability, and academic skills in a quality program will increase their success after graduation.
The ESACC has four building goals focusing on assessments, attendance, work-based learning, and improving math skills. The first goal charges that students must exceed the national average in mastering assessments from their trade area. We have processes in place to ensure teachers create specific and measurable goals for students. Teachers have spent time aligning curriculum and ensuring that something is in place to measure progress with their assessments. Teachers are expected to reach all students-regardless of ability level.
Our second goal is critical because attendance will affect job performance and the ability for students to acquire and remain gainfully employed. ESACC offers attendance incentives and celebrates when students meet their attendance targets. Student and parent communication is important when addressing attendance, which reflects in our attendance review policy and attendance letters that we send home. Our goal is to have 90% of our students attending school 90%of the time.
Work- based learning is an important third goal as our students need to be ready for multiple opportunities after graduation- whether it be college or career. We focus on improving ways for students to engage with industry through job shadowing or internships. Our staff continually collaborates on ways to ensure our students are maximizing their opportunities while attending the career center.
The fourth building goal focuses on improving math skills building wide. Math is a universal struggle in education and we try to support our sending high schools by focusing hard on math at the Career Center. This will be the first year that ESACC offers an integrated math credit for all students- and we are excited about that. Our teachers also plan to find those math opportunities in their program curriculum and find ways to integrate into their lessons. Our feeling is that all students should be able to add, subtract, multiply, divide, measure, convert fractions and decimals,understand units of measurement, and complete basic algebra. These are skills expected in the work force and they should be reinforced on a regular basis.
As a building leader, I value professional development as much as anything in education. The key to effective instruction is quality teaching, so our school has been awarded a five year grant that involves us in the Technical Centers That Work (TCTW) initiative. We are currently in our fourth year of the grant and Career and Technical Centers around the country are increasingly becoming affiliated with TSTW because there is a strong offering for professional development to teachers and a strong academic focus for students. The initiative works with our state to deliver technical assistance, professional development, publications and assessment services to school sites.
ESACC operates with the notion that our students will learn a trade and continue their education in college, or enter the workforce with the necessary skills to be successful. Through collaboration, our teachers work hard to develop quality lessons and assessments, use effective grading practice, and provide challenging academic and career/technical programs for our students. It is a pleasure to serve our students this upcoming year and I encourage you to visit our school and become an active stakeholder in our students' success. If you have questions or thoughts, feel free to contact me at (816)-630-9240.
Dr. Chris Lake