Vo-tech students start on time after hectic push


While their classmates are just giving up those carefree days of summer today, students from North County High enrolled in vo-tech programs kissed those leisurely days goodbye almost two weeks ago.

And it took a frantic, last-minute scramble on the part of school officials to get those youngsters into classes at the Center of Applied Technology North in Severn.

Construction delays in turning the former Lindale Middle School into a home for North County High forced that building to open eight days later than the other county schools.

Officials originally planned to let the North County vo-tech students start with the rest of their classmates, but later decided it would be too difficult for them to play catch-up to other county vo-tech students who started on time.

"One of our concerns was that they would be robbed of that time," said Tom Miller, director of vocational education. "How do you make up that kind of time? We said we really need to find

some way to provide some support to these kids."

Enter teamwork and Tom Nevin from the school system's transportation department. Working on his own time at home with a list of student addresses from school officials at the center, he found a way to mesh school bus pickup and drop-off points and times for North County vo-tech students with runs to other schools.

Once the routes and schedules were mapped out, officials divided up a list of 167 students and began calling parents to spread the word the day before school started Sept. 1.

Buses would roll from different pickup points at staggered times, picking up 10th- through 12th-grade vo-tech students, and bring them to the center.

The buses would make runs throughout the day to take students home when their classes were finished. Students who drove to )) the center would be given temporary parking permits.

"Without his [Tom Nevin's] help, it would have never happened," said John Hammond, assistant principal at the center. "The first day of classes, we had 60 percent of eligible students ride in on the buses."

That wasn't bad, he said, considering that attendance by North County vo-tech students wasn't mandatory because their home school did not open until today.

Ninth-graders, who take an exploratory course in their first year at the center, were not a part of the effort. About 100 of them from North County will arrive at the center today.

Officials said it was important to get older students started, especially seniors enrolled in programs such as practical nursing, which has a state exam at the end of the year.

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