Posted: Sunday, July 6, 2014 10:00 pm
Ignite charter school fills career-oriented niche
BROWNSVILLE — A new welding program at the Ignite Public Schools campus on East Elizabeth Street in Brownsville has students on track to graduate with a high school diploma and a head start on a high-paying career.
Ignite Public Schools is a charter school district focused on students who previously left school without graduating. Its students often are older than the usual high school student. Often they have the focus they lacked before.
“We have a saying that life got in the way,” said Carrie Nance, Ignite center director and principal. “These kids all have a story to tell, but they’re here because they want to be.
“If you don’t care about the cheerleaders and the sports,” Nance said, you can finish in 2 1/2 years through what is called “accelerated learning.” She explained that 99 percent of graduates finish with a Texas Education Agency recommended diploma.
Ignite contracts with the McAllen Careers Institute to teach the welding program, which is open to juniors and seniors and offers certification from the American Welding Society.
“We’re one of the only schools in the Rio Grande Valley certified by the AWS,” instructor Joel Aldape said last week.
“When they finish, they will be able to weld,” Aldape said. “At this point, they can weld two pieces of steel together and we’re only three weeks into the program. They know how to position the tools and how to make a work product. They also learn torch cutting.”
In addition to the welding program, Ignite offers career pathways leading to the Computer A-Plus computer repair certification, a Nursing Assistant certification and a Limited Medical Radiology Technician.
Ignite has campuses in Edinburg, Weslaco, Rio Grande City, Mission, Raymondville and Brownsville, said Irene M Cavazos, the district’s Edinburg-based outreach coordinator.
“It’s summer and these kids could be out on the Island, but they choose to be here. They choose to better themselves,” she said of the welding program.
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Sunday, July 6, 2014 10:00 pm.