Enrollment at Blue River Career Programs continued to climb entering the 2019-20 school year, furthering a trend for the education center in Shelbyville.
The past four years have seen four of the five highest enrollment numbers since 1997, director Steve Shaw told board members and superintendents from the four Shelby County school districts during a the monthly BRCP board of directors meeting.
“We feel like we’re doing something right in increasing our numbers, up to 366 students this year,” Shaw said.
That number has declined this semester, to 355 after 11 students from Shelbyville High School dropped out of the program for various reasons such as some moving and other attending alternative school, he said. However, enrollment is still higher from the previous school year, which had 338 enrolled.
Shaw met with board members and superintendents prior to the monthly meeting to discuss the program’s goals for the school year.
One of them – enrollment – was met, with a 7.7 percent increase through the marketing of the program, increased support for Career and Technical Educators (CTE) and working with counselors at the five high schools on recruiting and retaining students.
“We do a fairly good job marketing our programs,” he said. “There’s always room for improvement but I think the state is beginning to recognize CTE and I don’t know that matters to our students, probably doesn’t, but maybe that’s in our minds that CTE is becoming more important as we go along.”
While she was pleased to see enrollment continued to increase, Southwestern Consolidated Superintendent Dr. Paula Maurer said she would like to see future enrollment goals have a more concrete measurement.
“Right now, I don’t see a measurement in here, anyway to say ‘we’ve got that one now. We can move onto a new goal,’” she said. “Is (increased) enrollment one student? I don’t know what increase the relevance of CTE means. You’re going to provide staff with support but I assume you’re doing that now. What does it look like when we meet that goal?”
Shaw said the addition of Core Indicator Coordinator Joan Mohr has helped increase CTE’s relevance. He said Mohr helps instructors identify and implement resources in the academic and technical standards set.
“That helps quite a bit keep our instructors on track as far as what they’re doing throughout the year,” he said. “When I go into evaluate them, I do look to see that they’re course (is on schedule), where they’re supposed to be and what they taught that day.”
He added that the program closely works with Ivy Tech to maintain courses that are relevant to post-secondary education