Garland Independent School District students are getting a foot in the door on their future, before they even step out of the classroom. The district is expanding several programs to get students ready for the real world and an administrator is celebrating a big achievement for his vision.
The district is adding several technical programs, like auto-technology and welding, and doubling the student capacity for cosmetology in response to a growing demand to keep students of top of their job skills.
Director of Career and Technical Education Phillip Gilbreath said the district is emphasizing two things, college preparation and practical job training.
"Learning is lifelong, so students coming out of high school are going to have to go on and get some kind of education or training in the future regardless of what they do," said Gilbreath.
For the first time since 1975, the district is doubling the student capacity and lab space for the cosmetology program from 40 to 80 students.
"I believe it's working because the students want to be here, they don't have to be here like they have to be in their algebra classes, they choose to be here," said instructor Shawnda Rodgers. "They choose to be here, so they choose to be on task and they choose to be on time and they get to choose what they want to be when they're adults."
Students like Alma Olguin come out will a license to work once they pass the state board exam.
"I thought this could be something to help me pay for college once I graduate," said Olguin.
The auto body and collision curriculum is adding a new auto-technology program. Already several students have jobs at dealerships in Garland.
"It will really help me if I want to go into the industry," said automotive student Alec Austin.
Gilbreath won the Texas' Outstanding Administrator in Career and Technical Education and he wants to make sure his vision and initiatives translate into a life of possibilities.
"I love to see a student come out with a skill and pride in what they learn and what they do, so they can use it in the years to come," said Gilbreath.
The district is also building a new Health and Sciences Building at Naaman Forest High School.