New Tech program approved for HNHS

A tight vote Monday night, Nov. 9, resulted in a decision to roll out New Tech for fall 2010 at Huntington North High School.

The decision was made in a 4-3 vote by the Huntington County Community School Corporation Board of Trustees.

Those voting in favor included board members Troy Smart, Dr. Jennifer Goff and Tom King, along with Vice President Rick Brubaker. Voting against the motion were member Scott Hoffman, Secretary Rex Baxter and President Kevin Patrick.

During his preliminary comments, Superintendent of Schools Tracey Shafer said the New Tech concept supports the corporation’s mission and core values and is effective in meeting those needs.

He added that it provides a choice for the students, offering an environment that looks more like the workplace than a traditional classroom setting.

Shafer didn’t promise miracles, though. He noted that at this time, the final outcome cannot be determined and that the program is not a “silver bullet.”

He had said in a previous meeting for the program to be implemented for the 2010 school year, it would have to be approved by the board by Dec. 1.

During the discussion prior to the vote, Baxter said the corporation should put more efforts into the professional development courses offered to the students (beauty school classes, welding and other vocational programs) rather than into New Tech.
“I think it’s a mistake to do it,” he said.

Brubaker explained he went on the Decatur Central visit on Friday, Nov. 6 and saw the model in action.

“If it’s right for the kids, you should try to find a way to make it work,” Brubaker commented.

At the end of the lengthy discussion on the agenda item, King spoke to HNHS Principal Jeremy Gulley and Assistant Principal Kelly Renier, both of whom were in attendance, and urged them to be true to the answers they provided for the board, mostly regarding the financial piece of the program — private grant money to cover the program’s startup fees.

Gulley responded with, “We’ll meet the task.”