By Alton Mitchell
The Chambers County School District is busy planning today for future growth in the district down the line. A potential plan is now being explored that will grow educational offerings in the Chambers County Schools, and prepare local students for high in demand positions in the evolving workforce. The possibility of seeing this new program enter local schools is now in the hands of a random group of residents and could have a significant impact on offerings of the school system in a matter of years.
Residents in Chambers County have been receiving random phone calls from a third-party agency and asked a series of survey questions. The questions include a variety of inquires that are being asked on a potential program offering that is being considered for possible implementation into the local school systems that will change the academic offerings of schools in the LaFayette area.
According to Chambers County Schools Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge, an outside company has been hired by the school district to survey a random 600 families from the district. Families are being asked questions that pertain to bringing STEM Magnet programs to schools in LaFayette. The STEM Programs are Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math structured programs geared towards preparing students for competitive positions in the workforce.
Dr. Hodge states that the program is being explored in an effort of the Chambers County School System to bring schools in LaFayette and Valley closer together while improving the district as a whole. The programs being explored now would be similar to those helping students at Career Tech in LaFayette. The plan is to put the magnet programs in all school’s grades K-12 in LaFayette. LaFayette schools would be the sole recipient of the new magnet style programs, but the programs would be open to all Chambers County students.
Schools in LaFayette were chosen as the possible venue for the program due to their close proximity to Career Tech. The magnet programs will allow students from other areas of Chambers County to come to LaFayette area schools for the educational opportunities the STEM programs will bring with them.
Dr. Hodge stresses that nothing is in concrete a yet for the program and the survey is just and exploratory effort to see if there is a public interest in the programs. “The program is very costly, and we want to make sure the public is interested before making an investment,” explains Dr. Hodge.
The survey is presently being conducted to the randomly selected residents. Dr. Hodge states about 240 of the 600 have been completed so far which means the surveys will last for a couple more weeks. Even if there is a strong public interest in the programs nothing will change overnight. It may be several years before the programs are put into place in LaFayette area schools and that follows the needed planning phases.
Dr. Hodge does also note that those who receive the survey will be speaking with an actual live operator. It is an actual scientific survey and those being surveyed will be able to interact verbally with the surveyor including asking questions to the surveyor. The main thing the Chambers County Schools are seeking at this point is to see if there is an interest in the STEM magnet programs and to grow from that point.