PCHS to offer drone course


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

With the job potential in unmanned aerial systems preparing to take off, Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools will offer a course in drone technology at Pasquotank High School next year.

The course in drones will be offered in cooperation with the aviation science program at Elizabeth City State University.

Plans for the course were part of a report on career and technical education that was presented to the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education at its committee meetings Monday evening.

The school district’s Career and Technical Education Plan for 2019-20 was presented by Sheila Hughes, health sciences teacher at Northeastern High School and ECPPS’ 2019 Teacher of the Year.

In addition to piloting the drone course next year at Pasquotank High, the CTE plan also looks to increase the number of CTE concentrators, operating the Harris Demonstration Farm for students studying agriculture, and increasing the number of students obtaining industry credentials.

Hughes said student enrollment in CTE courses increased this year.

“We’re headed in the right direction as far as our CTE enrollment is concerned,” she said.

School board member George Archuleta asked who came up with the program offerings in career and technical education.

Rhonda James-Davis, the district’s CTE director and interim superintendent, said the offerings are based on regional workforce needs.

After Archuleta asked about plans to expand the offerings, James-Davis pointed to next year’s planned drone course and the pharmacy technology course that was started this year.

James-Davis explained that since she became interim superintendent she has been getting help from Hughes in the career and technical education area. Hughes is working on a second master’s degree, and developed the CTE plan as part of her course work, James-Davis said.

ECPPS offers career and technical education at both middle schools, at H.L. Trigg Community School — the district’s alternative school — and at both comprehensive high schools. In addition, career exploration is offered to fifth-grade students throughout the school district, Hughes said.

Student organizations such as FFA (Future Farmers of America) and HOSA-Future Health Professionals are an important part of the CTE programs in ECPPS, according to Hughes.

Certain high school CTE courses qualify for college credit through an agreement ECPPS has with College of The Albemarle, Hughes said.