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Even more options for postsecondary Tomcats

Haywood County Schools and Superintendent Joey Hassell continue to demonstrate and prove their commitment to the post-secondary success of its students. The team is aggressively securing extensive options for students to explore in regard to what they want they want to be and do after high school graduation. Last week was proof of this concerted effort. In an email from Hassell, he commented, “It has been an exciting week in regard to opportunities for our Haywood Tomcats as we think about early postsecondary opportunities.” Hassell shared details of three new postsecondary offerings at Haywood High School.

HCS has partnered with the University of Memphis and Kemmons Wilson Culinary Institute (KWCI) and will begin offering dual enrollment options in the 2022-2023 school year. The Kemmons Wilson Culinary Institute (KWCI) is a separate unit within Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management offering a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Hospitality and Resort Management with a concentration in Culinary Arts. The Institute also offers Culinary Certification programs, continuing education credit programs and other non-credit programs in culinary arts, baking and pastry. High school students will enjoy classes such as culinary theory and fundamentals, culinary techniques, culinary leadership, introduction to pastry and baking, food composition and sanitation and even an internship.

HCS and HHS leadership also met with the CEO of Jobs for TN Graduates (JTG) and are excited to announce a partnership that will begin next school year that caters specifically to students at risk of not graduating. JTG is a non-profit organization dedicated to stewarding high school students toward graduation with follow-through toward post-secondary education and/or job opportunities. Through pre-testing along with a collaborative effort among the JTG specialists, Career and Technical Education (CTE) staff, guidance counselors, and other faculty members, rising seniors with barriers to graduation are identified. Barriers can range from those students economically disadvantaged, excessive absences, with a disability and who are basic skills deficient. On average, 35-45 12th grade students comprise a JTG class, which meets as often as other mandatory courses. At the Haywood campus, JTG will specifically focus on mastering the 37 core employable skills competencies.

Additionally, HCS and HHS co-hosted an industrial roundtable with the TN Labor and Workforce Development office, TN Economic and Community Development office, Tennessee Pathways from TN Board of Regents, the TN Department of Education and local industry leaders. According to Hassell, the focus of the meeting was on “the potential implementation of a formal work-based learning program for next school year, modeled after the nationally recognized LOOP initiative in Jackson-Madison County. This opportunity would seek to assist local employers with filling open positions while working to build a more skilled workforce through training high school students in entry-level positions.” Discussions and planning for this initiative are ongoing.