Board receives update on CLHS academies

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published June 30, 2021

 Center Line High School students Maruf Mehraj and Justin Collins work on an assignment Feb. 12 in Joe Dzieszkowski’s welding class. The Center Line Public Schools Board of Education received an update on the school’s Career Academies, which includes Career Technical Education classes such as welding, June 21.

Center Line High School students Maruf Mehraj and Justin Collins work on an assignment Feb. 12 in Joe Dzieszkowski’s welding class. The Center Line Public Schools Board of Education received an update on the school’s Career Academies, which includes Career Technical Education classes such as welding, June 21.

File photo by Deb Jacques

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CENTER LINE — After a one-year hiatus during the 2020-2021 school year, the Career Technical Education firefighting class at Center Line High School will return this fall as part of the school’s educational academies.

That information was among the updates the Center Line Public Schools Board of Education received during the June 21 school board meeting held inside the CLHS auditorium.

The CLHS academies include the Academy of Industry, Technology and Innovation, and the Academy of Health and Human Services. The academies, which opened in the fall of 2016, are designed to prepare students for college and careers after high school.

During last week’s meeting, Lisa Oleski, district superintendent of curriculum and instruction/director of academies; Andrea Szabo, CLHS principal/Academy of Industry, Technology and Innovation principal; Christine Akroush, district academy coach; and Klaressa Howery, CLHS assistant principal/Academy of Health and Human Services principal, presented the “Academies of Center Line” PowerPoint presentation.     

As they bring back the firefighting class, school officials recently hired new firefighting instructor David McGee.

“He is still working a full-time job in a firehouse. He’s really going to be bringing to us real-world experiences and skills,” Szabo said. “He will be coming in and working with our students two days a week, two hours each day, multiple days each week. We are now in the beginning stages. He came in and spent about three hours on Thursday getting to know the facility. He’s really energetic and we really think the kids will really love it.”

Szabo also highlighted two new Southwest Macomb Technical Education Consortium, or SMTEC, programs: certified nursing assistant and Advanced Placement computer programming. SMTEC is a partnership between the Center Line, Fitzgerald, Van Dyke and Warren Woods school districts that offers Career Technical Education, or CTE, classes to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. The nursing program will be held at Warren Woods Tower.

“That’s going to be in conjunction with Macomb Community College,” Szabo said. “We have some students that will be on the certified nursing assistant path and hopefully will be certified after next year.”

While regular computer programming is offered at CLHS, SMTEC will be offering an AP computer programming option.

“We know that computer programming and a lot of technical fields are opening up,” Szabo said, adding that some students have already enrolled in the program. “We’re super excited about the future. These are just a couple of things that have happened. I know over the summer there’s going to be a wide variety of other great things that are coming down the pike.”

The future of the academies will include a graduate profile implementation, and new CTE required certifications in emergency medical technician, business management and careers in education.

The academies also include a Freshman Academy, in which ninth graders take a course centered on career exploration. It’s where the students develop a graduate profile that includes skills of collaboration, communication, critical thinking and leadership.  

“Students also use a program called Xello that has specific lessons to help better understand their personal strengths and interests,” Oleski said in a follow-up email. “The Freshman Academy teachers, counselor and academy coach work with the students and provide experiences to help them make the best decision for themselves with regards to which career academy and pathway they would like to be a part of for their 10th-12th grade years.”

During last Monday’s presentation, it was announced that Center Line is an official Ford Next Generation Learning community. Ford Next Generation Learning helps communities prepare graduates for college, careers, lifelong learning and leadership.

“This international network of communities has a common focus of transforming the high school experience and putting students at the center of everything we do,” Oleski said. “Their support has also provided a Ford NGL coach to help bring all stakeholders (educators, parents, students, employers and community leaders) together to develop a 3-5 year strategic plan to continue our efforts and sustain our career academy approach to high school.

“Center Line is fortunate to be part of a network which cultivates a spirit of innovation and continual learning to increase student achievement and provide our students opportunities that are relevant for their future,” Oleski continued. “Center Line is also very thankful that the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development agreed to be our convening organization and partner in becoming a Ford NGL Community. Their support is greatly appreciated.”

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