Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties don’t have enough high school students to support a regional skills center, the Longview School Board was told Monday night.

Jill Diehl, the district’s coordinator of career and technical education, told the board about recent efforts to create a county skills center similar to those in Clark and Thurston counties. The study group includes representatives from education, government and industry, Diehl said.

Skills centers include courses often taught in partnership with business or industry. Sample classes in the Clark County Skills Center are construction technology, fashion merchandising/management and agricultural science/environmental education.

Starting a center requires a minimum of three programs and a minimum total registration of 150 full-time equivalent students, and the study group concluded that a program here would not attract that many. It learned that increasing graduation requirements for graduation have a negative affect on skills centers because they reduce the number of elective courses students can take.

Kelso High School offers three off-campus regional courses that would fit in a skills center: fire science, police science and health science. Enrollment in that program is well under the 150 minimum, Diehl said. She noted, too, that student enrollment is in decline in the county.

In lieu of creating a skills center, local school districts will be advised to strengthen their existing career and technical education offerings, she said.

In other business, the board decided to hold a budget study session May 20 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Northlake Elementary School.

The board canceled meetings for these dates: June 3 study session and May 27 and July 8 board meetings.

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(3) comments


Additional facts supporting the merging of Longview's high schools.
There is nothing on the radar, over the horizon, or on the back nine that indicates any possibility of a population increase in Longview, let alone the county. The productive citizens committed to this area should not be taxed burdened to support the emotional reasons for perpetuating the status quo in the schools. Diminishing the teacher domain is a concern of the instructors & downgrading to 1 sports team concerns kids. BD


Over 15 years ago, I was a student on the college prep track at R.A. Long. I took the offered advanced classes and two different language offerings. Back then and still today, I wish there was a way to extend the school day to make available the "life skill" classes such as wood shop and home economics. Running a healthy, efficient home has become a lost art/skill that all students could benefit from, not just those on a vocational track.

Diane Dick

And yet, according to OSPI, in 2011-12, there were 567 Longview students enrolled in dual credit tech prep courses, 568 Kelso students, 146 Castle Rock students, and 106 Kalama students. Something here is not adding up. What is LCC's stake? I also see no mention of incorporating apprenticeship programs. There appears to be bias at the administrative level of keeping kids in district high schools on a college track. Question is- is this what students and their parents want?

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