Friday, November 4, 2011

Warren Tech: A hidden treasure in DeKalb

The Warren Tech Eagle
Happy Friday!  True to my goal of creating a Fun Friday theme, I wanted to share an uplifting experience I had this week that highlights a very good thing happening in our school system.

Warren Tech's Foundation hosted their annual fall fundraising business luncheon at the school. Now, that doesn't sound all that impressive, until you learn that the entire luncheon was prepared and served by the students!  And it was delicious!

Warren Tech is one DeKalb county school we can all be proud of. This school serves the mission of preparing young people with learning challenges for a successful work life. The principal, Ms. Carla Jones exemplifies kind, supportive, knowledgeable leadership, the results of which you can witness in her staff and students. The teachers and leaders at Warren Tech put their hearts and souls into preparing these young people in every way for the world of work and balanced, happy lives. This is the only program of it's kind in the state!

These students hosted a 'career fair' of sorts before lunch, with table top presentations highlighting each of the programs offered at the school.  They were so poised, friendly, engaging and interesting.  They shared their excitement for their school and their individual program as well as any professional presenter I have met.

According to the principal's page on the website, programs include Auto Service, Construction, Health Care Services, Professional Food Service, Landscaping/Grounds Maintenance, Hospitality Services, Horticulture, Business Procedures, Marketing/Retail Services, Production & Distribution, Reading Enrichment and Early Childhood.

"In addition to each program, students acquire skills in: Completing On-line Job Applications, Interviewing Techniques, Job and Career Search Techniques, Developing Appropriate Work Habits and Grooming Standards to meet industry standards. They work closely with our business community to ensure that students have the best possible preparation for the world of work. Most students learn from hands on experience in the work industry. Each vocational program consists of team members (teacher/job coach) who accompany the participating students during the school day to the work site. Students engage in performance learning skill development at the employer's site. Curriculum and instruction are determined by the Individual Educational Plan (IEP). Warren Tech works closely with parents, the home school teachers and the administration team, as well as the business community. Each student is required to have an IEP and a transitional plan. This plan outlines any activities that the student will undertake in preparation for entering the work force and becoming an independent, contributing citizen. Most students will receive assistance from Georgia's Vocational Rehabilitation after graduation."

If you have time, visit the Warren Tech campus in Chamblee near Mercer University. If you know of a student who may benefit from this program, please pass this information on. Once you get a glimpse of the work being done at this wonderful school you will not be able to walk away without deciding to become a supporter.

Click here to check out the Warren Tech Foundation.  Ask your company to consider supporting this school as they have many needs.  Consider making a donation yourself as we move into the holiday season.  It's a gift you can be sure will make a difference in the life of a young person.


Rebecca said...

Some Warren Tech students did some work on the barn next to the greenhouse in Brook Run. When I visited the barn after some major work on the interior, I was impressed with the students who showed me around. They had a good reason to be proud of themselves that day.

Anonymous said...

Warren Tech truly is one of the hidden treasures in our school system. I have had the pleasure of working with students and staff from the school for a number of years. The fact that this program is one of few in the COUNTRY should also be acknowledged. Their partnership with the business community only reaps benefits for students in WT programs.

The Work-Based Learning (WBL)strategy the school employs, is a model of business-education partnership. Surprisingly, DCSS has done very little recognizing and supporting this school. Unlike other schools, Warren Tech does not receive FTE's (Full Time Equivalency) units since their students are assigned from their respective home schools. As a result, WT relies on a hodge-podge of funding from the Career Technology program and Special Education. Although they are required to meet, with some exceptions, the same instructional standards of more traditional schools they make do so with scattered collections of textbooks and materials often transferred as surplus from other programs.
Another strong point of Warren Tech's curriculum is the use of a concept of team teaching utilizing certified educators and instructional paraprofessionals. The levels of cooperation and support amongst each program's team is reflected in the attitudes and abilities developed by the school's students. The type of student participating in this program is also critical to its long-term success.
As such, Warren Tech should not be used as a "dumping ground" of sorts by home schools wishing to rid themselves of troublesome students. The success of the the school's programs is tied directly to the ability and willingness of students genuinely looking to improve the course of their lives. The staff at WT realize this and I am impressed by their strict adherence to district policies related to tuck-and-pull, inappropriate clothing, and disruptive behavior. Most surprising, are the lengths staff go in convincing students that WT is not an alternative school or punishment for previous behavior. The opportunities the school provide can, and have, improved the lives of many students and graduates. Let's provide the support and assistance this school really needs and give us a point of pride we can acknowledge.

Kim Gokce said...

Warren Tech is full of the type of quiet successes we could use more of in DeKalb. Kudos to the volunteer Board for organizing a Foundation for the benefit of these young people!

Chip Franzoni said...

And Kudos right back to you Kim Gokce.

Kim's success stories of the Cross Keys Foundation, coupled with his personal guidance and words of advise were important catalysts to the formation of the Warren Tech Foundation.