Ed Tech Center offers new opportunities, second chances

Published 5:59 pm Monday, May 21, 2018

We all make mistakes, and when one door closes, another opens. These time-honored adages ring especially true for students at Beaufort County Ed Tech Center, where the mascot, the phoenix, represents rising from the ashes of the past.

Students who come to Ed Tech usually do so because they have been unsuccessful in traditional school environments.

In some cases, they may require more support than their peers. Whether facing disciplinary issues, the potential of dropping out or a life-changing circumstance such as pregnancy, the faculty and staff at Ed Tech try to meet students where they are, helping them realize that success is not out of reach.

“Everybody that comes here needs something different,” Ed Tech Principal Betty Jane Green said. “We put the personal relationships first and getting the positive spin on school for the kids. Then the academics come afterwards.”

Of the students enrolled at the school, Green says that they typically fall into two categories. For some high school students who have fallen behind, the school offers credit recovery classes to help them graduate on time. For others who struggle with behavioral issues, the goal is to help them reintegrate back into their school communities. With a small school environment, the staff is able to give personalized attention to those who may need support throughout the day.

“With those students our goal is to be proactive in understanding and targeting the issues that cause their behaviors, and also to give them skills to cope with those triggers that they have,” Green said.

LEARNING HISTORY: Girls from the Beaufort County Ed Tech Center pay a visit to the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum, learning about the critical role Washington played in helping escaped slaves find their way to freedom. (Beaufort County Ed Tech)

While many of the students at the school may be capable of obtaining a four-year degree, this is not always what they are seeking from their education. Rather, many students at Ed Tech are seeking fruitful careers in local industries that will support them after their time in high school.

“We partner with NC Works, which has been instrumental in allowing our students to do some internships and take trade classes at Beaufort County Community College,” Green said. “The community college has helped us out with allowing our students to take night classes there in the trade industry.”

For Lisa Reid, who recently completed a social work internship at the school, the example provided by Green and the other staff at the school can make a tremendous impact on the young people in their care.

“A lot of the children may not have that positive authority figure that they can know they can go to,” Reid said. “To know that they can come to Ms. Green or (Assistant Principal) Mr. Jackson is just wonderful… I want to highlight such programs as this because this is what keeps our community strong and thriving”

When students leave the school, the staff hopes that they can give the students the skills and the confidence they need to become productive citizens, and if one student is to be believed, the school has done just that in her life. Ishmeria Peele will graduate from Ed Tech in June, and hopes to enroll in cosmetology school at BCCC.

“Now I see that my options are there,” Peele said. “I’ve just got to go do it. Right now, my two years are full of hair.”