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Ozark Career Center wins Pacesetter Award

Four years ago the Ozark School District redesigned the pathways for students to take mathematics courses in an effort to prepare more students for college and careers. On July 11, the Southern Regional Education Board recognized the District for the math overhaul, with the Ozark Career Center receiving the Gene Bottoms Pacesetter School Award.

“There are over 20 states represented in the SREB network, and Ozark, being one of the first districts to receive this award, was honored as a Pacesetter site. This validates those values which the District and community find important,” OHS Principal Jeremy Brownfield said. “It is preparing our students for their futures whether it be college, career or military, along with a rigorous academic curriculum. It is something that sets Ozark apart not only regionally but nationally.”

Pacesetter School Awards recognize schools that use High Schools That Work Key Practices to transform teaching and learning and motivate students to succeed in college, careers and life, according to the SREB press release. Ozark redesigned the senior year of high school around challenging career pathway programs that jump-start student achievement and credential attainment.

Ozark’s redesigned career pathways feature four math courses, including a new course titled College-Ready Math, that relate to students’ interests and help them transition to further education.

Assistant Superintendent of Learning Dr. Craig Carson said the math redesign also falls in line with the Diploma & concept, which the District rolled out last year. The goal of Diploma & is for all Ozark graduates to walk across the stage to receive their diploma and a foot forward in the world, whether that be in college, the workforce or the military.

“Ozark redesigned the pathways for students to take mathematics courses as a means to have more students prepared for college and careers,” Carson said. “Only 60 percent of our seniors were taking a fourth credit in mathematics. To ensure they are ready for their first year in trade school, community college or the university, students need to take a senior-level math. The new course, College-Ready Math, is specifically targeted to those students who want to fill in gaps they perceive will keep them from being as successful as they should be in college.”

Brownfield said it’s an honor for Ozark to be chosen for the Gene Bottoms Pacesetter School Award.

“Dr. Gene Bottoms was a visionary for college and career readiness at the national level for decades. He not only impacted the way schools prepare kids but influenced and led legislative efforts such as the Carl Perkins Act, which funds many of our CTE (Career and Technical Education) programs,” Brownfield said.

Melia Franklin, Ozark’s executive director of secondary learning, applauded Ozark teachers.

"It's an honor to receive the Pacesetter Award,” she said. “It further validates the hard work of our teachers to provide Ozark students with a top-notch education."

The Southern Regional Education Board presents the Ozark Career Center with the Gene Bottoms Pacesetter School Award.