Dr. Amy Chafin, BCS Director of Curriculum & Instruction and CTE Director studies employment data to help the school system determine which CTE courses to offer students of the district.  Photo – Alicia Couch Payne

BUFORD — In an ever-changing workforce, it’s a challenge for school systems to adapt their curriculum to properly prepare their students for life after high school. For decades schools shifted gears from offering construction and other skilled labor classes to focus more on college prep. That was fine while those careers that required a college degree were in high demand but the lack of people choosing a skilled labor job like an electrician, plumber, and mason dropped drastically. Today the United States is facing a shortage of skilled labor and schools are once again shifting their curriculum to refocus on offering Career and Technical Education (CTE).

Dr. Amy Chafin, BCS Director of Curriculum & Instruction and CTE Director explained Buford’s CTE program to a select group of local and state dignitaries, community leaders, and BCS staff on October 11 at Buford High School during the BCS CTE Advisory Council Meeting.  The CTE Advisory Council is a “collaboration of representatives from business and industry, as well as, representatives from the education community.” Their purpose is to provide the school system with input so that the school system develops the best CTE curriculum possible to make their students employable and ready for life after high school.

Dr. Chafin explained the process that Buford has taken to determine what courses to offer their students. Buford High School has 1,136 students that participate in nine CTE Pathways currently offered.  Those pathways are Audio-Visual Technology and Film, Carpentry, Financial Services, Graphic Communication, Nutrition and Food Science, Sports and Marketing, Teaching as a Profession, Therapeutic Services/Patient Care, and Therapeutic Services/Sports Medicine.

During the tour of Buford High School’s CTE labs, Healthcare Science instructor Ms. Kathy Shirley can be seen telling Mr. Gary Stout, Director of Acute Services with Kaiser Permanente about the “patients” that the CRE Grant helped to purchase for the program.  Photo – Alicia Couch Payne

Buford High School also offers several Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) for students to join.  Those organizations are DECA, FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America), and Skills USA.  

Buford City Schools was granted $450,000 in construction-related equipment (CRE) grant funds for the new Buford High School and Buford Middle School.  The grant provided necessary funds to purchase large equipment essential for the CTE labs. Following the meeting, Buford High School Principal Lindsey Allen and Assistant Principal Kari McIntyre each led a group of meeting attendees on a tour of the school’s CTE facilities.  BHS CTE teachers were on hand in each of the labs to explain their courses and to show the state of the art labs that the CRE grant helped to furnish. 

When the tour was complete it was clear that Buford students are provided with the very best tools to prepare them for a future career.  This is a direct result of the hard work of the Buford City School System staff, the Buford Board of Education, the City of Buford, and the Buford Community. The CTE program at Buford will continue to adapt and grow to suit the job market’s ever-changing needs.

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