City officials got their first look at a comprehensive strategic plan for excellence designed to improve education in Dothan, and prepare students for the real world.
The Dothan city commission along with other community and industrial leaders around Dothan, are giving their full support to Dothan city school officials. As they prepare to sell their plan for better education to the public.
A high dropout rate is plaguing the education system in Dothan. In fact, school officials say the dropout rate is higher than that of the state of Alabama.
The number of high school graduates having to take remedial courses before pursuing college degrees is also staggering.
"If you look at our entire Wiregrass region, of the kids that go to Wallace College, 40 percent of them have to be remediate, which means they don't have the necessary skills, or necessary test scores, or the necessary courses taken to allow them to immediately go into class," said Dr. Steve Stokes
Dothan school officials are proposing a five-year strategic plan to help students prepare for college or for today's competitive global job market.
"Our goal is to not make them waste a year. To let them be able to go smoothly from high school right into the program that they want to go into,” said Stokes.
School officials plan to focus their efforts on six target areas. Academics, communication, finance and personnel, global preparedness, parent involvement and school climate.
They also plan is to merge together Dothan and Northview High schools.
Dothan high would be a ninth grade center to help students transition between middle school and high school.
Northview High would house different academies for 10th, 11th and 12th graders to help them get technical job training.
"When that child leaves that academy, or graduates from high school having a credential or certification from that academy, you know you have the skill set that industry established," said Ron Snell, the principal of Northview High School.
And the plan is getting the thumbs up from city officials.
"They've looked at their weaknesses, they've looked at their strengths, and they're doing what is right to build jobs for our bright young people that we don't want leaving this area," said Mayor Pat Thomas.
The public will share their input and help solidify the final plan.
The merger between Dothan and Northview High goes, and the installment of these new academy programs, officials are still not sure how much it would cost.
But they want to point out that this is just a proposal and not something that is set in stone.
At this time there are plans to focus on the manufacturing industry.
Some of the people in attendance at tonight's meeting were officials from different manufacturing company's and they say that they are finding it very difficult to find skilled worker in our area.
So their will be programs focusing on manufacturing as well as other programs focusing on other industry's like construction, information technology, and health science.
School officials now plan to hold public forums for parents and students to share their comments and concerns about the newly proposed plan.