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Cumberland Dual Enrollment And Work-Based Learning See Increase

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cumberland Dual Enrollment And Work-Based Learning See Increase

The Cumberland County Schools have seen a big increase in the number of students participating in dual enrollment and work-based learning from last year.

Dual enrollment students increased from 79 students last fall to 355 students now. Work-based learning has grown from 139 students last year to 331 students. Cumberland County Director of Schools William Stepp said the whole school system is focused on these programs.

“I think our success just came from having a hyper focus on that, and the instructors being willing to get those certifications so they can teach these other courses,” Stepp said. “Because they want to maximize exposure to the kids in many different areas, so that’s been our focus.”

Stepp said the system has expanded the opportunity for students to get college credits by offering multiple dual enrollment opportunities on campus, eliminating the need to travel. The school is working with TCAT to offer college credits in CTE classes, South College for Criminal Justice, Roane State Community College for Horticulture and Tennessee Tech for Cyber Security. Other teachers on campus are also certified to teach dual enrollment courses.

“We wanted to create great partnerships with them,” Stepp said. “So like the students have one foot in high school with us, but they also have one foot in the real world. We are trying to bridge them on to either higher education opportunists or career opportunities.”

Stepp said students can begin earning college credits as soon as the ninth grade. Stepp said many students go on to work in the places they worked at during their work-based learning.

“We got more focus on that with coordinators, so we have Work-Based Learning Industry 4.0 Coordinators at each high school, and they focus on placement for the students, and they also focus on the partnerships with businesses and industries within our community,” Stepp said. “We really rely on those coordinators to connect those students with the partners we have in the community.”

Last year, the Cumberland County School Board adopted a K-12 career framework.

“We’re actually talking about careers from kindergarten to all through 12th grade instead of waiting for high school,” Stepp said. “So like one opportunity that started this year is all of 8th graders went down to the Hyder-Burks Pavilion for a career fair put on by the Highlands Economic Partnership, so it was a great event for them to be able to talk to 40-plus businesses. We’re exploring all the way down to Kindergarten. Each elementary school actually has a career coach in the building.”


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