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School expecting record numbers
The Golden Isles Career Academy may be just weeks away from starting its best year ever.

A record number of students have requested to take classes in the fall semester at the vocational school at 4404 Glynco Parkway.

And it's a record that could stick. Glynn County public school administrators are predicting around 73 percent of the applicants will be there when school starts Aug. 9.

Rick Townsend, the academy's chief executive, said 1,100 students have asked to take courses at the school for career and technical education.

Ricky Rentz, assistant superintendent for student achievement for the Glynn County School System, said that as of now, 798 of the applicants - 425 from Brunswick High School and 373 from Glynn Academy - are already scheduled to attend. That is 35 percent of the students eligible to study there.

The academy is open to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors in Glynn County who wish to pursue career and technical education.

Freshmen can attend with special permission from their parents, Rentz said.

The final enrollment number could be different because the schedules of some high school students are still being determined, Rentz noted.

"We will know when the students are actually in the classroom," Rentz said. "As of now, we are looking at around 800 students."

Rentz is happy to see greater interest in the school after scheduling conflicts last year left the career academy well short of summer predictions.

In 2011, early predictions were that the student body would total a little more than 400, but when school opened, just over 250 were enrolled.

That prompted administrators to make some changes in how classes are scheduled at the career academy.

Registrars at both public high schools and career academy principal Senetra Haywood are working together to build a cohesive high school master schedule. Some core academic teachers are being moved for part of the school day to the career academy to allow some students to stay there all day instead of having to return to one of the high school campuses.

The moves have created a smoother scheduling process, according to Townsend.

"That has been a high priority. We want as many students here as we can," he said.

Although the current numbers are predictions that could change once school starts, Townsend is cautiously optimistic.

"This is definitely our highest year thus far regarding the number of students who registered to take our classes," he said. "We know we will lose some through the registration process because of scheduling, but when you have kids coming from other schools, that is the way it works sometimes."

Board member Hank Yeargan feels the same way.

"It just shows that the community is backing the school and students are interested in it," he said.

Projections are better than what board members were hoping for in the career academy's fourth year of existence, Yeargan added.

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