CHERAW - South Carolina Schools like many others are daily facing the challenges of preparing students for the 21st century. Even with all of the technology today, students sometimes struggle to meet all of the criteria needed for graduation. Preparing students to get ready for life in the workforce after graduation is what "Personal Pathways to Success" is all about, according to the Pee Dee Regional Educational Center.
The Greater Cheraw Chamber of Commerce Small Business Committee sponsored and hosted an Education-Industry Roundtable Discussion Dinner on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the Mayflower Restaurant on S.C. 9. Charles Skipper, Chairman of the Small Business Committee opened the roundtable event with a warm welcome. "This is your meeting," said Skipper in relation the sole purpose of the discussion. Other guest speakers included Cheryl Lewis, Coordinator, and Pee Dee Regional Education Center along with Board Members- Dr. Rainey Knight, Superintendent Darlington County School District, Brian Kelly, Marketing Vice-President Pee Dee electric Co-op, and Penny Quick, Career Specialist at Cheraw High School. Other special guests were Dr. Johnnie Williams, Superintendent Chesterfield County School District, Dr. Henry Cobb, Cheraw High School Principal, and Linda Hertlein, Human Resources Manager at Highland Industries, Inc.
The purpose of the event was to deliver information, resources, and services to students, educators, and the community on "Personal Pathways to Success, a program which is a result as the 2005 Education and Economic Development Act.
The Education and Economic Development Act (EEDA) of 2005, designed and made into legislation provides the infrastructure of molding students for their future in the workforce.
The Pee Dee Regional Education Center collaborates in helping to connect local education and business communities together to work as one to improve growth in education. In addition, the Personal Pathways to Success program helps to build more solid relationships between students and teachers as well.
"Why are we here? We are here to make a connection between education and businesses," said Cheryl Lewis, Coordinator of the Pee Dee Regional Education Center.
According to educators, services such as job shadowing, mentoring, apprenticeships, internships are being provided to students in secondary and post-secondary schools. The Personal Pathways to Success poses as the concept of a student learning to plan for his/her future as an individual, and will guide a student in creating a personalized Individual Graduation Plan, or (IGP).
Tammy Haile, Director of Career and Technology Education for Chesterfield County School District said, "We are proud of our framework in Chesterfield County." According to Haile, eight grade students this year will get to choose a cluster of studies, to see what they may be interested in as far as preparing for a future. In addition, Haile stated that Chesterfield County now has 16 different clusters for students to choose a field of interest in. For example, there are various categories such as School of Arts and Humanities, School of Business Management and Information Systems, School of Engineering, Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies, School of Health Science and Human Services and School of Public Services. In addition to those categories, under each one falls a list of curriculums related to each one as well.
Based on the information provided by the Chesterfield County School District, students are able to choose a Cluster in which they might have an interest. The following is a list of those Clusters of study.
Arts, A/V Technology and Communications, Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Architecture and Construction, Business, Management and Administration, Education and Training, Finance, Government and Public Administration, Health Science, Hospitality and Tourism, Human Services, Information Technology, Manufacturing, Marketing, sales and Service, Public Safety and Security, Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and Transportation, Distribution and Logistics.
How will Personal Pathways to Success help South Carolina and students? According to record statistics, 85% of jobs require education or training beyond high school, and only 60% of students will seek an education or training after high school.
Another question is "How can one get involved?" According to The Pee Dee Regional Education Center, parents can lend an ear to listen to the students, encourage them to pursue their dreams and help them to explore all post-high school education in preparing them for a post-secondary study, through training or employment.
Business, on the other hand can open their doors to students seeking opportunities for on-the-job-learning. "Getting businesses to partner with schools will make the connection to help prepare the students for the workforce," said Lewis.
"We are also working on the website to make all resources available to students in one site," said Lewis. Right now, according to Lewis there are two pilot regional websites, which are for Florence, and Midlands, which are regional centers. For more information, go to www.scpathways.org or phone