Brazil resident and Mooresville substitute teacher Jasen Gibbens approached Clay Community School board members -- during the November board meeting, attempting to persuade the corporation to participate in the state-funded educational program, Project Lead the Way (PLTW).
"In Mooresville, we are training kids to take the 150 jobs available in Brazil," Gibbens told The Brazil Times. "And this school corporation is not training our own kids to take these jobs. Implementing PLTW would allow them to be qualified for the jobs."
According to the PLTW website, the program is a "hands-on, Activities-, Project-, Problem-Based (APPB) comprehensive curriculum aligned with relevant national standards and is collaboratively developed by subject matter experts -- including teachers, university educators, engineering and biomedical professionals and school administrators."
The program emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, innovation and real-world problem solving.
PLTW includes a Pathway to Engineering and Biomedical Sciences programs for high schools and a Gateway to Technology for middle schools.
These subprograms "set the highest standards for rigorous, focused and engaging study, developing students' innovative, collaborative, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills."
Gibbens said he discovered the need for these jobs through an Economic Redevelopment Commission report.
"Right now, no one has the proper training for these positions and can pass a drug test," Gibbens said. "There are no training facilities in town, and companies have offered to buy equipment for the schools to use. One company even donated equipment, but the schools aren't using it."
CCS Superintendent Kim Tucker told The Brazil Times she and Assistant Superintendent Tim Rayle have been looking into other programs similar to PLTW but haven't made a specific choice yet.
"Getting PLTW started is very costly, and there are a lot of stipulations we have to meet before we participate," Tucker said. "I don't want to remove several teachers from core classes, not end up getting enough enrollment to continue in the program or lose a teacher and lose all of that money that could have been used for something else."
However, Gibbens said the redevelopment commission has ways of getting the money CCS would need to start and implement PLTW, and that the money would be reimbursed by the state.
"With the investment of $200,000, they will get $236,250 annually if three teachers teach 21 classes," Gibbens explained. "If the state is going to pay for us to teach something, then the school should be willing to pay that."
The Economic Redevelopment Commission meets regularly on the third Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m., but its next scheduled meeting is Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 6:30 in the Courthouse.
The CCS school board meets regularly on the second Thursday of every month.
The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 12, at 7:30 p.m., in the North Clay Middle School Media Center.