“Wow!” “Amazing!” “That’s really cool.” Those were some of the reactions of members of the Georgia Board of Education and state representatives as they recently toured the Cobb Innovation & Technology Academy (CITA) and Osborne High School.
The State BOE chose CITA and Cobb County as the location for the members’ two-day retreat. One of the reasons they came to Cobb was to see the diverse learning environment modeled in CITA and Osborne.
From a surgical tech lab and welding lab to a classroom dedicated to cybersecurity, the state leaders saw firsthand the student-centered environments created for students who attend CITA.
“It was absolutely amazing. We had a chance to see all the different pathways that are being applied with students across the entire Cobb County School District. It was amazing to see the equipment. It was amazing to see each of the facilities. You can tell there is a lot of practical learning and hands-on experience that is occurring,” said Scott Sweeney, State Board of Education Chair.
The visitors saw an emergency medical services classroom equipped with a mini living room where students train on responding to a person in distress inside a mock home. In another classroom, a CITA student explained how they learn from the robotic patients who are set up in hospital beds. The teacher programs the talking robotic patients with different ailments, which simulates real-life scenarios for the students.
"Ouch!" The students' future patients will not say that thanks to the injection training arm students use in the CITA phlebotomy room. The simulator helps students learn how to properly draw blood from patients, Dr. Tiffany Barney told the state leaders.
The visitors could not help but look up and all around as they walked through the rooms dedicated to the energy and power pathway, which will open to students next school year.
Inside the large construction-focused classroom, the visitors watched a CITA student practice operating large machinery on a simulator. Meanwhile, in the background, students were working on the construction of a tiny house.
The student-centered facility, which was built as part of an Ed-SPLOST campaign, is designed to allow students to train and earn certifications for future schools. It also helps foster partnerships with businesses—businesses that may one day hire the CITA students.
As the state visitors learned about the different certifications the students could earn at CITA, they remarked about the salary potential the school-based training would provide the students.
Take a video tour of CITA yourself with the video below:
In addition to the tour of the Ed-SPLOST built CITA, the guests from the State BOE and other state representatives joined Osborne Principal Josh Morreale on a tour of Osborne High School.
Like CITA, Osborne’s new construction is funded through Ed-SPLOST dollars.
The State BOE learned about some of the stand-out educational programs at Osborne. They walked past the glass cabinets packed with trophies for Osborne’s JROTC program, which continues to win national awards year after year. Even more award ribbons dangled from the ceiling above the JROTC cadets as they told their guests about their experience in Osborne’s JROTC program and their plans after graduation.
After learning about the work of the Osborne Tax Center, the guests praised the Osborne teachers for the work they are doing teaching financial literacy to so many students.
The state guests listened intently as students explained “The Nest” at Osborne High School, which serves as a haven for students to receive comprehensive wraparound services through school-based supports and community partnerships that meet the needs and desires of each student. The program uses community collaboration to set students on the path to success.
“’ The Nest’ is an excellent example of the extension of wraparound services,” Mr. Sweeney said. “It was amazing to hear how many students are actually coming in and availing themselves of the opportunity to participate in 'The Nest.'”
“The Nest” wasn’t the only part of Osborne that Mr. Sweeney praised.
“It is also an incredible story to hear what [Principal] Josh Morreale has done with the graduation rate, moving from 38% at one point to now over 74%. Most importantly, that graduation rate is well above 90% for students who have attended Osborne for four consecutive years,” Mr. Sweeney added.