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Collins Career Center gets gold improvement award

GETAWAY - Collins Career Center has gone for the gold and won it.

It has won a High Schools That Works’ Gold Improvement Award and is only one of 19 schools in the nation to get such an honor.

Collins Career Center principal Jim Howard made a trip to New Orleans last week to pick up the award. This honor was presented to schools that had statistically significant gains in achievement in reading, mathematics and science from 2004 to 2006.

Steve Dodgion, Collins Career Center’s superintendent, said the school has been involved in the High Schools That Work program for about six years.

“We are very, very proud of winning the gold medal,” he said. “Last year we got an award for being one of 100 top schools in the country for special services to students and also for literacy.”

Dodgion said that he is as proud as he could be of the faculty, staff and board of the career center.

“One person isn’t capable of doing these things, it takes a team effort,” he said. Dodgion said most of the decision making at the school is done by committees up primarily of teachers. “That was worked really, really well for us since we are a student-oreintated school and I think that is beginning to show.”

Students at Collins Career Center are separated into small academies or small learning groups.

“It is a much more intimate learning environment here than it was previously and I think that has worked to the students’ advantage,” Dodgion said.

Dodgion said school improvement requires constantly setting goals higher than the year before.

“It’s a continuous, evolutionary process where we have to meet goals that are a little loftier than they were last year,” he said. “But I think that with the faculty and staff we have here, I think we will continue to make these strides.”

In addition to receiving the Gold Improvement Award, Collins Career Center was further honored when one of their instructors, Christi Faulkner was asked to be a speaker at the Conference.

Faulkner’s session was entitled “Improving Student Achievement in Mathematics by Creating Stained Glass Windows.”