Hoover BOE approves job description for career center director

HOOVER – The Hoover City Schools Board of Education approved a job description for a director of the planned Riverchase Career Connection Center at its meeting on Monday, Nov. 13.

Even the name of the center, which will be housed at the former Riverchase Middle School site that HCS purchased from Pelham City Schools for about $4.25 million, was new to many in attendance at the meeting.

HCS Superintendent Kathy Murphy said that while the name has not been finalized, officials think it is representative of the center’s purpose.

“The design of that particular campus is for our students to make a career connection, and that center will be primarily focused in that way,” Murphy said.

The first step in getting a director in place is the approval and posting of the job description, Murphy said.

The position will be considered a program director, not a principal because students will remain enrolled in their home schools, and follow the school system’s salary schedule for such a position.

Board member Kermit Kendrick asked how the action would help the system in its effort to achieve unitary status.

The position will be posted to the public domain, Murphy said.

“As is always true with all of our positions, looking for minority applicants is important to us as we seek unitary status,” she said.

Board President Earl Cooper said the center will benefit underserved students.

“It certainly gives our students additional options for how they get to college or how they get from high school straight to a career.

The job description was approved unanimously.

School system officials have previously presented information that the share of the job market for those equipped with trade skills has grown from 20 percent in 1960 to 57 percent, but Hoover’s high schools were not built with occupational training in mind.

Students from HHS and Spain Park would attend the center for half-day shifts. The format would simulate a workplace, including the absence of bells and students being required to “call in” if they are unable to attend, instead of bringing a doctor’s note the next day.

Potential programs that could be housed at the center include those focusing on construction, computer science, cosmetology, culinary arts/hospitality, emergency response, JROTC and more.

Students would still be able to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports and band.

HCS officials have set goals of 200 attendees by fall 2018, which would be the center’s first semester, 400 attendees by fall 2020 and 600 by fall 2022.

Also, Hoover’s two high schools are estimated to experience an overflow of 241 students in the short term (described as new homes that are under construction) and 616 students in the long term (based on homes that have been approved for construction but are in a holding pattern), and officials said the new center could ease capacity issues.

The next board meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12.