Dothan School Officials Return from Tennessee with Ideas for Future

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Officials with Dothan City Schools are back home tonight, after taking a trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee, looking at ways to improve the circle city's school system.

After visiting several high schools, they've brought back innovative ideas that they hope to incorporate into their new strategic plan for excellence.

Dothan school officials visited three high schools in Chattanooga, Tennessee hoping to figure out different ways to improve Dothan's school system. Several years ago, officials with the school system in Hamilton County, Tennessee sought to reform the county's high schools, and restructure them with programs that would teach students various real-life job skills.

Dothan City Schools Consultant, Jesse Register says, "It’s a link between career technical education and academic education that help create a real relevance for students and a quality program for students."

"We've been able to see how they've incorporated career, technical and core curriculum. It's a great model, and a great opportunity for us to see the best practices and how they've been recognized across the state and nationally," said Dr. Sam Nichols, the superintendent of Dothan City Schools.

During their trip, Dothan school officials were able to see some of these programs, called career academies, first hand. And after realizing the level of success these programs have had, they're looking to implement similar programs here in Dothan.

"They've found a really good way to add rigor and relevance to their curriculum, and obviously don't want to reinvent the wheel. We want to borrow ideas and of course make them our own," said Ron Snell, the principal of Northview High School.

Dan Challener, the president of the Public Education Foundation in Hamilton County, Tennessee says, "Every community has to come up with their own set of answers, but I don't think any community can afford to say everything is fine and we don't need to bring about any changes or improvements.... because the economy of today and certainly the economy of tomorrow requires change and improvements."

School officials in the circle city are promising change within the Dothan City School System, in the coming months and years. But right now officials are just looking at different ideas to see which ones would work best here in Dothan, before sitting down and preparing a final strategic plan by April of next year.