The site of Breaux Bridge Elementary could become St. Martin Parish’s new College and Career Readiness Center next school year.
The elementary school will relocate to the Breaux Bridge Primary campus in the 2015-16 school year as part of a board-approved plan to balance student enrollment, making the site available for a new purpose.
St. Martin Parish Schools Superintendent Lottie Beebe’s recommendation to use the elementary campus for a center where high school students from across the parish could receive technical training will be considered by the School Board during a special meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Each of the parish’s three high schools — Cecilia, Breaux Bridge and St. Martinville — will continue to offer select technical training programs to students, if the center is approved by the board, Beebe said.
She said there’s still a need for a centralized college and career readiness center to enable the parish to consolidate its resources and serve more students.
The center would help the parish align its efforts with the statewide Jump Start initiative, Beebe said. Jump Start is a revamp of the career diploma to better prepare high school students for success after graduation with certifications and skills to continue their education or find a job.
Beebe said the center would house programs such as culinary arts, electrical, oil and gas, cosmetology and a certified nurse assistant program.
“We’d start off small with the realization that as we move forward with the Jump Start initiative and we see more students on the tech track, we will expand the programs,” she said.
Through business and community partnerships, Beebe said, the center could be able to expand its program offering based on regional workforce demands.
The centralized site for career and technical opportunities could also become the future home of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program now at Breaux Bridge High School and make the option available to more students. The program teaches leadership and other skills that employers find desirable, Beebe said.
While providing students more opportunities, Beebe also views the college and career readiness center as a way to encourage students to earn their high school diploma and career skills.
“I think it will stimulate excitement for students to stay motivated to stay in school,” she said. “We’re losing students that drop out. This is a way that they can have a focus.”
Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.