Last March, our Board of Education purchased the former Verizon building on Emerald Parkway. The acquisition of the facility was part of the District’s Master Plan that identified a need for a non-traditional high school space.
The former Verizon building is not a fourth high school, but its acquisition does allow us to avoid the $75-$90-million construction cost a fourth traditional high school would have cost. That figure does not include land acquisition or about $3-million per year annually in fixed costs to operate a fourth high school.
The vision for the building located just south of Dublin Coffman High School, involves our new Profile of a Graduate which was presented to the Board of Education in August. Last spring, our academic team conducted 71 focus groups involving more than 670 parents, teachers, students, business and industry partners, city government officials and administrators. More than 2,100 data points were collected to put together the Profile of a Graduate document. This work reflects our community’s priorities and expectations of the skills and knowledge sets Dublin City Schools graduates should possess. The document is divided into three sections: knowledge, skills, and habits. Under knowledge, identified priorities include: well-rounded curriculum, global awareness, civic engagement, college and career readiness, digital literacy, career exposure, financial literacy and internship opportunities. Under skills and habits, traits such as the ability to think critically, problem solving, time management, perseverance, strong work ethic, kindness, empathy, responsibility and self-awareness were among those named as high priorities by our community.
Students in all three of our high schools will be able to register for courses and pursue career exploration pathways during part of the school day. Right now, we offer six career exploration academies housed at our three high schools. They are: biomedical, engineering, information technology, the Young Professionals Academy, The Dublin Business Academy, and the Dublin Teachers Academy. These programs will likely be among the first to be housed in this non-traditional high school space, set to open for 2018-19 school year. But we do not want to stop there. Director of Secondary Education Craig Heath has been hard at work developing other academic pathways for our students. These include a liberal arts academy, aerospace and aviation, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), communications, tech entrepreneurship and health and human services. While we will not have all these pathways in place when the building opens next school year, our vision includes adding programming each year over the next three to five years.
Our goal with the new programming is to provide our students with career exploration and the ability to get a head start in their chosen fields. We also want to provide students with opportunities to graduate with certificates and licenses that could lead to full-time employment. We will keep you updated with the latest information as we gear up toward a 2018-19 opening.
Todd F. Hoadley, Ph.D.