New learning opportunities will likely come with building construction and renovation.
And they won't all be for students.
As a result of an affiliation with the National Education Foundation, the Warren County School District is preparing Parent Academics that "will offer top-rated web-based, tuition-free courses for K-12, IT, Business, Management and Test Prep," according to an executive summary.
This is an "opportunity for parents (and community members)... to take part in free courses that will be online courses," WCSD interim director Patty Hawley-Horner said. "There is a vast array of offerings of these classes that are available to the community."
The executive summary indicates that there are 1,000 licenses available to the entire community. "Then any license after that will only be accessible to parents of students in the two STEM+ Academies."
The two academies will be located at Eisenhower Middle High School and Beaty-Warren Middle School, buildings that are being renovated through funding generated by Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, low- to no-interest federal bonds. A provision of eligibility for QZAB bonds is a 10 percent funding match partnership "to design a program with the goal of enhancing the academic curriculum, increasing graduation and employment rates, and preparing students for college and the workforce," according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
When a person signs up for a course, it will be available online for one year. Upon completion, a certificate will be awarded. In IT alone, there are 5,000 different courses, including 60 certifications.
Any parent interested in taking a course can do so for free. Any community member who is not a parent of a school aged child will have to pay a $25 service fee.
The "intention of that money is go to back and service the students in the Warren County School District," Hawley-Horner added.
Misty Weber, principal of both alternative education for disruptive youth and online learning, said that sessions at both STEM+ schools will be held for the parents who are interested and that a link to the site will be available on wcsdpa.org once the program is available.
District Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Gary Weber said that the district is "looking at partnering with local businesses if they are interested." Because of the certifications that are available, he said that businesses may find it "fruitful" to join.
Superintendent Brandon Hufnagel said that the program "was originally just going to be for the parents of our students" at the STEM+ schools. "They (NEF) opened up 1,000 licenses for the Warren County community in general. Anyone in the community can take the courses and receive the certifications."
The Curriculum, Instruction and Technology committee approved a request from administration to collaborate with STEM+ Academics on this program. Final approval from the full board will likely be considered at the January meeting.