NEWLAND — The Avery County Board of Education viewed a presentation on potential changes to the graduation requirements at Avery County High School during its latest meeting on Feb. 12.
The presentation, delivered by ACS Director of Curriculum and Instruction Ellis Ayers, outlined creating new tracts for students to follow through their high school careers which would better prepare them for their plans after graduation.
Ayers emphasized during the presentation that the schools need to be preparing students for what path they choose to take to succeed, whether it be a technical career or one that would require a university education. The new requirements would also require students to take a personal finance course to graduate.
A major part of the changes is to improve the advisement process and prepare students. When asked by the board how flexible students are able to be within this structure, Ellis said at the beginning of their high school careers there would be the ability to move between tracks easily, but as they progress through high school it would become more difficult.
Ayers also cited the ballooning cost of attending a four-year institution and no contemporary guarantee of success with a bachelor’s degree as reasons to better advise students on creating a plan to achieve a comfortable lifestyle with whatever path they take.
“It’s not whether or not you should go to college, it’s whether or not you have a plan when you go to college or whatever you do after you graduate high school,” Ayers said.
Ayers said in the county someone could have a college degree but not be aligned with the workforce, but someone without a four-year degree can be very successful because they had a plan.
“College isn’t the ticket. College is a vehicle,” Ayers said.
Ayers also said students have to be prepared for the future, and that the schools cannot prepare for what tasks will exist in the workforce in the future, but students must be prepared to be trained and flexible in their careers.
“It’s continuing to change, but we’ve got to have a framework that helps us to adjust and plug in,” Ayers explained. “We have to make sure that learning is embedded and that our kids not only know content, but they know how to acquire content. They have to know how to learn.”
The presentation, which was delivered as part of the superintendent’s report, was an information item. No action will be taken on the potential changes until a later meeting of the board.