August 23, 2010
Brunswick News – Local News
BylineBy ERIKA CAPEK The Brunswick News
Southside Performance Learning Center, now under the roof of the Golden Isles Career Academy at 4404 Glynco Parkway, is giving the career academy a much needed boost in enrollment this semester. On the first day of classes Thursday, there were 448 9th through 12th grade students from Brunswick High School and Glynn Academy and an additional 80 Performance Learning Center students. That gives the academy a total student count of 528 - a record since its opening just one year ago. There are 13,000 students in the public school system.
The Performance Learning Center - a partnership of Glynn County schools and Communities in Schools that helps students who are off track for graduation - was previously at 1405 H St. It was moved to the academy for the first time this year. The Career Academy continues to draw students from the county's two public high schools, which bus teens to the facility daily. For many, it's an opportunity to expand their skills and knowledge. Those in a computer applications class said Friday they are excited about taking courses at the career academy. "I wanted to learn more about computers," said Kimberly Cross, a Brunswick High School 10th grader. "We learned how to type business letters so far."
School officials said enrollment is expected to rise even higher as high school students work out schedule changes. That's good news to Ralph Gornto, director of high school operations at the career academy, who expects final enrollment to be close to 540 to 550 students. "Things look much better today than they did last year," Gornto said Thursday. He said they will continue to make improvements and work toward increasing enrollment numbers.
During fall semester 2009, the first year the $19 million school opened, 444 high school students were enrolled. That number dropped by 80, or by 18 percent, to 364 in spring semester. Academy officials speculated at the time that the number of students went down after the novelty of the Golden Isles Career Academy wore off and because of an inflexible core class scheduling for students, which the school system has addressed. This year is the first time all grade levels will be able to take core classes at the career academy, including English, social studies, math and science.
The classes use educational 20/20 software, which is computer-based instruction with learning standards built into it. Gornto said the four E 20/20 classrooms, which have a capacity of about 25 students, were full on the first day. Last year, academic classes, which included both E 20/20 and face-to-face instruction, were only available to seniors, and science was not offered.