Waxahachie Global High School Principal Ken Lynch firmly believes that additional career pathways could make the early-college high school more desirable for a variety and a larger quantity of students.
The opportunity to create schools within the school, much like a four-year college or university, is also very desirable for the continued growth and cultural development at Global.
Currently, there is only one four-year pathway at Global High — engineering. But, after several polls, questionnaires and studies, Lynch and staff have decided to add academies for health sciences and international business.
Lynch first presented the idea of the three academies to the Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustee toward the end of last school year. At the time, he stated the schools would be fully developed using a five-year plan that would eventually bring the full enrollment at Global High to 600 students, with 200 students in each of the three pathways.
As of Thursday, 353 students were enrolled at Global.
Lynch explained to the Daily Light earlier this week that each of the three academies could have 60 students enroll each fall semester. He noted freshmen and sophomores would have that opportunity next fall.
“With the new academies, it will probably make it feel like a smaller school because you’ll be in a cohort with 50 students instead of maybe 100,” Lynch explained.
The Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved to hire one dean to lead each of the two new academies during their regular meeting on Oct. 8.
Each of the deans would be required to already been awarded a master's degree and would teach dual-credit courses.
As previously reported by the Daily Light, Mark Bosher, director of the CTE department at Waxahachie High School, worked alongside Lynch in the curriculum refocus. In a WISD Board of Trustees meeting on Nov. 11, 2017, Bosher recommended to the board that one of the two academies be staffed and function entirely in-house, while the third needed to run in partnership with Navarro College to avoid extra personnel on the payroll.
He noted since the engineering program is already established on the Global High campus, the decision on which program to partner with Navarro should be made between either the international business or health science academies.
Lynch and his team ultimately decided the international business academy would operate entirely in-house.
A committee comprised of local medical and business professionals will brainstorm and help organize the two programs. The group will meet over the next two weeks, and both academies are expected to begin in the fall of 2019.
One of the positives of Global relocated to the former Ninth Grade Academy is the additional room for enrollment and programs. For instance, in what used to be a band and choir hall will soon be the hub for health sciences. The oversized room will be converted into a hybrid classroom and lab, designed as a mock hospital. An extra science lab is also available upstairs for other science courses.
“Health science is a huge program," Lynch stressed. "If you were to go to WHS and look at their numbers, they really don’t have extra room. They are at peak capacity, and there is really a great interest.”
About 25 percent of Global students have already enrolled in health science-related courses through a partnership with Navarro College.
The health science pathway at Global will be organized as a pre-nursing program. Once a student completes the four-year program, he or she would have acquired all required credits to immediately enroll in a registered nurse or licensed vocational nurse program.
In high school, the students will be able to obtain certifications related to the health science field. For the first time, students enrolled in these courses will be able to learn and practice on campus, rather than computing or computing to a different site.
Students who graduate from the health science pathway could also save big financially. Lynch estimated a student could be prevented from spending anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000.
“It’s a good deal,” Lynch emphasized. “They aren’t paying for tuition, books, or lab fees. In my opinion, that’s always been one of the biggest advantages of coming to Global.”
The international business academy will offer courses that dive deeper into global business, marketing, and entrepreneurship studies. It will be a four-year program and students can earn various certifications is specific areas of interests, such as accounting or Microsoft platforms.
Lynch emphasized the international business courses are ideal to bring to Global.
“Business is universal so no matter where you go, you’re always going to have business,” Lynch explained. “International business opposed to a traditional business course would give you more exposure to how that works with the rest of the world.”
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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450