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Butler expanding early college academy concept to include fire science and public safety

Published: Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Butler expanding early college academy concept to include fire science and public safety

At their May 13 meeting, the Board of Trustees of Butler Community College discussed the recommendation to develop an Early College Public Safety Academy focusing on Fire Science, EMS, Criminal Justice, Homeland Security, and potentially Emergency Management. The board directed administration to develop a job description for a full-time Academy Director position to spearhead the development of the academy, pending grant funding.

The Early College Academies have been a successful strategy for Butler. Currently, there are two: the Early College Health Sciences Academy at Rose Hill High School launched in fall 2011 and the Early College Information Technology Academy at Butler’s Andover campus launching this fall. These programs offer high school students the opportunity to complete degree-specific courses during their junior and senior years of high school and the potential to earn an associate degree or certificate. Many students also earn industry credentials before graduating from high school, preparing them to enter the workforce more quickly.

The Early College Public Safety Academy will be housed at the Butler Fire Station co-located with the City of El Dorado Fire Station 2 located at 2600 W. 6th St. in El Dorado, Kan. This facility allows Butler to offer the only residential Fire Science program in the region with 10 students living on-site and working as volunteer firefighters with the City Fire Service.

From this home base, the Academy Director will reach Butler County high school students who are interested in a career in Public Safety. Additionally, career and technical education courses are now tuition-free to students due to Senate Bill 155.

“We are excited to build Butler’s third Early College Academy,” Vice President of Academics Dr. Karla Fisher said. “We are so grateful for the productive partnerships with Butler County United School Districts, the City of El Dorado and the Fire Service, which are key to making this great new opportunity available to students.”

“Having a full-time director will provide the Public Safety Academy with the personnel to move all of the programs, especially Fire Science, to a higher level,” Dean Anita Mills said.