Last updated: January 24. 2014 2:51PM - 624 Views
By Lucas Vance lvance@civitasmedia.com

Fairfield Career and Technology Center director Chris Dinkins encouraged parents to visit with teachers and ask any questions they might have regarding courses and curriculum.
Fairfield Career and Technology Center director Chris Dinkins encouraged parents to visit with teachers and ask any questions they might have regarding courses and curriculum.
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WINNSBORO — Fairfield County parents and students gathered in the Fairfield Central High School auditorium on Wednesday night for the Parent/Student Information Fair.

The host school, Fairfield Central High School, was joined with the district’s secondary schools including Fairfield Middle School, Gordon Odyssey Academy and Fairfield Career and Technology Center.

Parents were encouraged to mingle with teachers and visits booths that were set up to give parents information on classes and courses.

District teachers discussed and delivered a wealth of information to parents regarding curriculum for the high school and the secondary schools.

Fairfield Central High School principal Tracie Swilley welcomed parents and advised them to embrace the chance to become more informed about their children’s opportunities.

“We have a lot of exciting programs and this is an exciting time for our district,” she said. “We want our parents and students to have the opportunity to gain insight so they can take full advantage on what we have to offer.”

Teachers handed out information sheets about what students should expect each year while at Fairfield Central High School.

Staff were set up around the auditorium and were available to answer any questions about course studies or the registration process.

During a students second year of high school, he or she will have to take the HSAP to determine if a student will receive a high school diploma. Swilley noted that not only do students have to earn 24 credits, but have to pass both parts of HSAP (English language arts component and a math component).

“We tell all freshman that as soon as they walk through the doors, they need to be in and out in four,” she stated. “Meaning, we love you, but you have four years to get what you need to get before graduating. We want all our students to succeed, get their diploma and have options.”

Concerning attendance, FCHS assistant principal Rahim El-Amin cited a state law that states students must attend school. El-Amin informed parents about the attendance policy, which only allows a student to have five unexcused days in a 18-week course and only three unexcused days in a nine-week course.

The 8.5 program is an event that 60 students participated in last year, and El-Amin encourages all rising ninth-graders to attend. According to El-Amin it eases the transition from middle school to high school, by making students aware of expectations and getting students acclimated to the campus. El-Amin noted that the two-day event is free.

The district is presenting students with an opportunity to not only earn their diploma, but also gain an associates degree in science.

Fairfield Middle School principal Robin Hardy values her school and its role in the educational process.

“We are really at an exciting time at our school dealing with the transformational years,” she noted. “We are proud of our accomplishments and the chance to prepare our students for the jump to the high school level.”

During the high school years, students will be given the chance to earn credits at the Fairfield Career and Technology Center to prepare themselves for life after graduation. FCTC is composed of 14 teachers and offers 21 different programs.

Director Chris Dinkins said what his staff is doing at the Career and Technology Center cannot be compared to the old vocational school.

“What we’re doing is preparing students for careers and jobs,” he stated.

Dinkins also noted the center’s focus is on college and career readiness instead of college or career readiness. Students that leave the career center are prepared to go to work, prepared to go to school and have the aptitude to succeed in the military.

“That (success) is our goal and what we’re striving and pushing for,” Dinkins said. “Our goal is to prepare student for careers they’re interested in because if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.”

For students that learn better via a non-traditional setting, the Gordon Odyssey Academy is available. GOA’s director Dr. LaNisha Tindal said her school is more than a place where kids go because they’re in trouble.

“We are the alternative,” she said. “We offer other options for students who might just have difficulty in a traditional setting.”

Programs at GOA include adult education, an evening high school program that can accelerate graduation process and star academy for rising eighth grade students to help them catch up academically.

For more information about course offered by each school visit www.fairfield.k12.sc.us.

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