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WATCH: Lake Hamilton High School gets grant for child care education

by John Anderson | January 24, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.
Lake Hamilton High School Principal Donald Westerman discusses a $29,209.39 grant by the Arkansas Department of Education's Division of Career and Technical Education for the addition of the Child Care Guidance and Management Program of Study at Lake Hamilton. - Photo by John Anderson of The Sentinel-Record

PEARCY -- Lake Hamilton High School was awarded a $29,209.39 grant by the Arkansas Department of Education's Division of Career and Technical Education for the addition of the Child Care Guidance and Management Program of Study.

"We're pretty excited about it. This is the second big startup grant that we have received for a career technical education program in the last two years," high school Principal Donald Westerman said.

The grant will allow Lake Hamilton High School to offer a new program of study in the family and consumer sciences department through the human and social services program. The program will consist of three courses: family and consumer sciences, life span development, and child care guidance, management, and services, according to a news release from the school district.

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The grant will allow the school to purchase equipment, supplies, training for instructors, software that supports Career and Technical related courses, or anything else that might be necessary inside the classroom.

"We (have) a lot of leeway in how we spend the grant," Westerman said.

"The grant funds basic equipment, supplies, and training, which means that there will be the resources available for students who are going to be enrolled in (those classes)," he said.

The program of study prepares students by giving them information and experiences in the occupational field of child care guidance, management, and services. Students in the program will also have an opportunity to earn industry certifications such as the Child Care Teacher Certificate, Child Care Assistant Certificate, or the Child Development Associate Credential, according to the release.

"It's three courses that comprise the program of study. All three of the courses are fairly technical in nature. There are specific kinds of equipment that's industry standard, that will be available for them to be able to use," Westerman said.

"Students will complete a minimum of 40 hours of hands-on practicum in a child care facility through the program. Other opportunities include early childhood education, foster care, family day care, and teacher assistance," the release said.

Getting the grant is another example of ways the district is trying to provide opportunities for its students, the release said.

"Grant applicants went through a review process using rubrics that ranked them based on funds available, labor market data, learning opportunities, certifications offered, and student interest," it said.

"We believe that it's important for us to look at ways to help them be successful, not just right now, but going into the future," Westerman said.

Lake Hamilton will have three teachers who will be teaching courses in grades nine through 12. Lisa Stanley will teach Family and Consumer Science, Melody Gilleran will teach Life Span Development and Candace Mason will teach Family and Consumer Science and Child Care Guidance, Management, and Services, the release said.

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