David Wiggs, Resource Specialist
Vocational training and community service are an integral part of the Alternative Education Program’s Agriculture/Aquaculture programs offered at all appropriate sites. The agriculture programs are an extension of the agri/science courses; the community service provides a “hands on” component in vocational training experiences for the students. Student participants plan and develop the community service projects which are linked to the classroom and have a curriculum base. Community service targets an area of need in the community and utilizes the strengths and skills of the student population to help achieve a positive common goal. The agriculture programs are an extension of the agri/science courses; A certificate is given to students identifying the skills the student has mastered.
For several years agri-science class vocational students at the Boot Camp program have been in operation of plant production, aquaculture and community service landscaping.
The program has a “state-of-the-art” greenhouse, shade house, fish tanks and agriculture field and is viewed as a model program. The site serves as a base for the agriculture vocational community service programs at other sites.
Alternative Education Department Students’ Participation:
A total of 869 students were serve. Of those, 187 were elementary-age children from the B.E.S.T. Centers, and 682 were from other sites, grades 6-12. As a part of their project involvement, 98 of the elementary students participated in field trips where the older students at the other facilities gave presentations and demonstrations, thus affording the older students an opportunity to prepare and "teach" about what they had learned.
Students' propagated and nurtured plants for use in 23 landscaping projects at non-profit agencies and organizations that serve Polk County Communities. The total number of plants used or donated to community service landscaping was 1395. The total value of those plants which were donated is estimated at $8,385. The total number of yards of mulch donated for projects was 95 yards, valued at $2,850. The total number of yards of rock donated for the projects was 20 yards. valued at $1600. The total value of the donated labor involved is estimated at $25, 919. In addition to growing plants and trees for landscaping, student have raised and donated over 300 pounds of tilapia and over 500 pounds of vegetables to a church service center that helps feed the homeless.
Health science courses were implemented at the Lakeland Teen Parent Program (LTP) fall 2004. Through these vocational training courses the students are able to be dually enrolled in their academics for high school credit while also training to receive a Health Unit Coordinator certificate. This unique opportunity provide hands on learning at the local hospital and nursing homes. With Polk County seeking additional health care workers, the LTP project can positively impact the lives of the students and the community. Through available ancillary support services the students can be helped to achieve their educational goals of becoming health care workers.
Please visit Florida Family Literacy Initiavtive website for more information on the Lakeland Teen Parent Program.
Digital printing vocational courses were implemented at the Boot Camp School in the fall 2004. Through these vocational training courses the students are able to be dually enrolled in their academics for high school credit while receiving the vocational skills and training needed to enter the digital printing and related vocational areas. The students utilize a new digital printing computer lab and software funded through the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) grant.
Through funding from the EETT grant, new computer labs are/have been implemented at Alternative Education Department middle-secondary school sites. The labs have internet access since spring 2005. Teachers and students at the sites are/will be able to utilize the computers to access online high school academic and vocational courses from Florida Virtual School and Education Options.