Isle of Wight County Schools takes workforce readiness award

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Isle of Wight County Schools received a first place Excellence in Workforce Readiness Award at the Virginia School Boards Association’s July 20 virtual conference.

Isle of Wight was the first-place winner among school divisions with populations between 5,001 and 10,000 students for its entry titled “Incorporating Authenticity into CTE Programs.”

The application highlighted the division’s Land Lab, where agriculture students, since September 2017, have transformed six acres of uncut grass behind Windsor Elementary School into four fenced pastures, a vegetable garden and space for a variety of animals. It also highlighted the division’s hair and nail salon run by cosmetology students, Turner & 10 restaurant run by culinary arts students and its building trades program, where students complete home renovation projects for senior citizens in need.

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“The authenticity of our CTE programs ensures our students have the skills and certifications to transition directly to high-demand, high-wage jobs after graduation from high school,” said School Board Chairwoman Jackie Carr. “We are honored to have been recognized by the VSBA for our contribution to developing workforce-ready students.”

“We understand the importance of giving our students authentic experiences, both in and out of school, in order to prepare them for future careers,” said Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton. “We are excited to receive this award which acknowledges the division’s involvement in strengthening the workforce of the Commonwealth.”

Taking second place for the same student population category was Henry County Public Schools for an application titled “Oh Henry! Internships for the Future.” In third place was Shenandoah County Public Schools for “Biomedical Capstone Projects: Department of Motor Vehicles Automated Perimetry” by Eli Dellinger.