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Technical education changes might affect construction

 

Technical education is changing in the Oxford School District, and it might affect design plans for the new high school.

The changes will also carry over to the uses of the current high school and middle schools.

With the exception of Computer Discovery, a basic computer use and keyboarding class for eighth graders, the Mississippi Department of Education has done away with other Discovery courses this year. The department will do away with the computer course at the end of the current school year.

Although the university houses a School of Applied Science, Oxford schools lack vocational classes, Superintendent Brian Harvey said.

“We’re not looking to replace any of those classes,” he said. 

“We’re looking to duplicate Allied Health because we have more students than we can offer the class to and only one teacher.” 

Harvey also said they would still be using the School of Applied Technology for the vocational courses but that the new Allied Health class could be moved from the School of Applied Science to the new high school.

Within the new Oxford High School, which will be located on Sisk Avenue, Harvey said two other classes will possibly be added. 

Pre-Engineering and Culinary Arts are in the works, he said, because Oxford schools currently do not offer these courses to students who might be interested in these fields.

“It’s all about a shifting of curriculum as well as a shift in funding,” Harvey said. “(Discovery courses) are something the State Department has phased out; it’s a shifting in priorities.”

As for the replacement of some of the Discovery classes, middle school students will enroll in an Information Computer Technology class, or ICT, beginning next year. 

Harvey said the Science Technology Engineering and Math class will be moved down and available at the eighth grade level.

The Oxford School Board still has to approve the plans on Aug. 29. 

Architectural firm Eley Guild Hardy will oversee the building project and will move forward with bids for construction once the decision is made.

“Our enrollment numbers continue to grow, so that’s why we’re moving forward with a new high school,” Harvey said. 

“Next year, we’ll have more students at the middle school than high school.” 

Enrollment numbers within Oxford schools have increased with each passing year, so the new high school will be a timely solution to overcrowding. 

The current high school will become the middle school, and Harvey said they are planning to convert the current middle school into a school strictly for fifth and sixth graders. 

“We hope to be settled into the new high school by the fall of 2013,” he said. 

However, the adjustment to the new course changes will be gradual until 2015.