Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2014 12:00 am
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, left, talks with Putnam County schools’ Nutrition Director Abdul Lindsey, before touring the academy.
Georgia’s second-in-command visited Putnam County High School Monday “to see firsthand” how the school’s College and Career Academy is doing, he said; and he seemed to like what he saw.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle spent about an hour at the school, talking with Putnam County Charter School System Superintendent Eric Arena, College and Career Academy CEO Keith Ellenberg, PCHS Principal Barry Lollis, Putnam Board of Education Chairman Steve Weiner and BOE member Tom Lawrence.
“From what I’ve seen, your charter system is very successful,” he said to them at the end of his visit. “I thank God for you guys and how far y’all have gone with these initiatives, and how you’ve advanced in a major way.”
Cagle has served as lieutenant governor since 2006. He created the Charter Systems Act and Career Academies Initiatives in 2007.
Acknowledging each is “Cagle’s brainchild,” Arena gave a PowerPoint presentation about PCCSS’ success with these programs during Cagle’s visit Monday.
The presentation showed that Putnam County’s scores on various accountability measures, for the most part, have risen steadily the past five years – exceeding the state in Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, and scoring 13th in the state in the College and Career Readiness Performance Index in 2013.
Arena said the “bricks and mortar” of the new CCA facility under construction adjacent to the high school would not work “if the foundation is not solid.”
He referred to the readiness of students for such programs before they entered high school.
“As you can see, we are well on our way of establishing a foundation for our kids as they move forward,” Arena said.
Cagle learned that students in Putnam’s CCA can earn up to six certificates in welding, four in healthcare, and six to eight in information technology, as well as be certified in employability skills.
“Not only are you giving the students a skill; but with that skill, they can go anywhere in the world and be gainfully employed,” he noted.
Noting that 20 percent of PCHS students are currently participating in dual-enrollment courses, Arena said students are earning college credits at no cost in high school that will save their parents money when they student go to college.