WGTC, TCSS, plan to enhance collaboration

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, November 3, 2021

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On Monday, Julie Post, president of West Georgia Technical College, and Brian Shumate, superintendent of Troup County School System, gave an overview of the current state of education in Troup County and how their two organizations are working together to educate local students.

The two education systems have a dual enrollment program, which allows high school students to take college classes for credit, as well as a partnership with ThINC College and Career Academy.

“Troup County had the highest enrollment in dual enrollment students of all of our seven counties,” Post said.

WGTC also accommodates Carrolton, Merriweather and Douglass counties. There are dozens of courses students can take that can transfer over to college credits, some of which focus on computer and machine technology.

“I think it’s important that we expose our children to more.” Post said.

Earlier this summer, TCSS and WGTC partnered to fully open WGTC’s Precision Manufacturing Lab and the Engineering Lab at the ThINC College and Career Academy, Troup County’s College and Career Academy located on the WGTC LaGrange campus, allowing students to move between labs to access instructional equipment and trainers for their classes. Shumate described an aspect of the THINC academy called option B, which can take two years of academic courses and turn them into a sort of an apprentice program through the community college system of Georgia.

“If they complete all that, they get entry certifications and [get to] pursue an associates degree while in high school and graduate early,” Shumate said. “[The career center] is not just for potential dropouts anymore. It’s for anyone who wants to purse option B or these technical programs.” 

Shumate and Post said that community involvement particularly is a shared goal, and that they want their services and program to create a sort of ripple effect within families.

“We’re not just in the K-12 business anymore, that’s our core… but our reach in the public school district is much greater than it was 20 or 30 years ago,” Shumate said.

Post added that she would like to see the efforts high school students put into their dual enrollment studies extend to their families.

“If I can get a student who’s taking two dual enrollment classes with us, then maybe [their] mom will say, ‘I can do that too’,” Post said.

“I believe in casting stones everywhere, so that we can continue to have that effect.”   

At the moment, TCSS is allowing every student to take their first ACT tests for free in an effort to aid in their secondary education attempts. The system is also trying to create local testing sites, so that students don’t travel far away to take the test.

“Whatever their goal is, we just want to get a student there,” Post said. “Whatever that takes, we’re going to do it.”