VWSD to expand course offerings within Career and Tech program

Published 6:53 pm Monday, June 25, 2018

The school year may have ended less than a month ago, but officials with the Vicksburg Warren School District have already been hard at work setting things in motion to expand course offerings next year.

The district has found success in recent years with the Career and Technical program offered through a partnership with Hinds Community College-Vicksburg and plans have been made to further expand those offerings next year.

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Last year, VWSD became the first school district in the state of Mississippi to offer Project Lead the Way’s biomedical III course with two seniors enrolling in the course. This upcoming year, the number of students in that course is expected to at least double, CTE coordinator Terrance James said.

“We are hoping some more sign up,” James said. “We are still planning to do job shadowing. This past year, they job shadowed with ERDC, Merit Health, Dr. Kimberly Winters Dentistry and also with the school nurse. They got the chance to see the medical side of different areas and got some exposure they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten. It would have been strictly coursework.”

The CTE program also offers Project Lead the Way’s engineering curriculum and will be expanding its offering of the computer science curriculum next year.

“We had it at Warren Central this past year and we are offering it at Vicksburg High. We are also seeking to get some dual-credit opportunities with either Hinds or Alcorn,” James said.

The computer science program is a two-year program and teaches students coding, some web design and more.

“They first come in and they take a computer science essentials class and then from there they progress each semester,” James said. “The final class is cyber security. What students get out of it is app development and learning things on the web, programming and coding. They design apps that are related to real-world issues people may have. It also introduces them to coding and programming games.”

Cedric Tillman, the district’s cameraman and videographer, will also be employing students this year to assist with the live streaming of sporting events throughout the year, which James said is one of a few job shadowing opportunities they are looking into for next year.

The changes won’t only be for high school students either. South Park Elementary will also be offering a Project Lead the Way course next year to introduce students to STEM fields at a younger age.

“Some of those students will be introduced to the STEM field and coding and things of that nature,” James said. “That is a new endeavor and hopefully we will be able to expand that. At Warren Central Junior High, they will be adding two additional Project Lead the Way courses.”

Adding the course at the junior high level will pay dividends down the road James said, as students are exposed at a younger age and gain an interest they can pursue in high school and beyond.

“It definitely gives exposure to students, especially to those who are underrepresented in computer science fields jobwise — minorities and females,” James said. “There has been a big movement to increase minority and female representation in those fields and I think it will give students the opportunity to see what computer science has to offer and eventually once they get familiar with, it will help out with recruitment.”