The Bibb County school system’s rising seniors who want to learn automotive basics or aspects of flying an airplane can now take those classes as electives at the Hutchings Career Center.
Starting this fall, qualifying seniors can attend Hutchings for a few hours each afternoon to take aviation or automotive classes, while remaining enrolled at their own high school for core subject classes.
Hutchings teaches students trade skills, such as culinary, health, automotive and now, beginning aviation. But school officials say that because the high school does not offer sports and some other extracurricular activities, it may have discouraged many students from enrolling there to take those programs over the years.
“We’re trying to promote the school and make it more accessible,” said Sylvia McGee, Bibb County’s acting superintendent. “As we’ve started to look at choice and having choice, we looked at having a hybrid model.”
Hutchings has the capacity to hold 850 students, but during the 2010-11 school year, it is projected to enroll 330 students.
Hutchings’ flight operations course teaches students the fundamentals of aviation, navigation and communication and aviation meteorology, as well as an aviation ground school.
The school’s automotive program offers students the chance to learn basic car maintenance skills and brake installation to engine performance and diagnostics.
“I think it is the best move they can make,” said Sonny Reeves, the school’s former automotive instructor who left in December 2009 to become a consultant for schools and colleges that are developing an automotive training program.
He has lobbied over the years for the school system to better promote the school’s programs.
For students to be eligible to take electives at Hutchings part time, seniors must be on track with their credits, have passed all sections of the Georgia High School Graduation Tests, provide their own transportation and fit the electives into their schedule.
Students must also get permission from their high school guidance counselor to take the Hutchings electives during third and fourth blocks.
Interested students should see their high school guidance counselor for an application, officials said.
To contact writer Julie Hubbard, call 744-4331.