Regional Academy moves forward

Plans for a Regional Career Tech Academy are moving forward.

At their first meeting of the year, the Webster City Community School District Board of Directors heard an update on the academy from Superintendent Mike Sherwood. After three years of work, Sherwood said the Armory in Eagle Grove is being purchased as the facility that will house the academy. At a late-October board meeting, Sherwood said the academy will offer courses on manufacturing, STEM disciplines, pre-college courses and more.

There is still work to be done on the Armory. Sherwood said there will have to be major remodeling, particularly with the building’s power supply, before advanced manufacturing courses can be offered. He said Iowa Central Community College’s target to begin those courses will be at the start of the 2015-2016 school year.

However, other classes are set to begin at the start of the 2014-2015 school year. Sherwood said those include biotech, biotech processes and business. Discussions about general education course tracks are ongoing.

Sherwood said the local academy will be the fifth in the state of Iowa. The group of schools involved with the planning process for the academy include Clarion-Goldfield, Eagle Grove, Northeast Hamilton and Fort Dodge, as well as Webster City. Sherwood said the group has worked very well together.

“It has really been enjoyable to see how the consortium has grown and developed. The teachers from all the area districts working together on standards, assessments, instructional strategies,” Sherwood said. “We’ve had really good, open conversations. It’s gone very well.”

In other business, the board was presented with a proposal from Webster City High School Principal John Elkin about subcontracting driver’s education classes with Iowa Central Community College.

Elkin said after last summer’s session, one of three driving instructors at the school retired and another said this summer would be their last. Elkin’s proposal has ICCC providing instructors, classroom materials, cars and more.

Currently, Elkin said he is looking at running two sessions, one in June and one in July, and will likely have a spring session hosted at the High School. The board took no official action, but the general consensus among members was to move forward with drafting a contract for the plan.

The board also set a closed session for Jan. 27 to bargain with the Webster City Educational Services Association for the 14-15 school year.