Lively Technical Center, a Tallahassee staple for nearly 80 years, is always looking for ways to evolve. However, the latest change proposed by the school has nothing to do with what is happening in the classroom.
Jane Howard, a practical nursing teacher at the school, recently gave an impassioned speech to the Leon County School Board asking its members to seriously consider changing the school’s name to Lively Technical College.
“For students who work so hard and perform at a level equivalent to any other post-secondary education, it would be great for them to be able to gain that respect and eventually move on to enrollment agreements with Tallahassee Community College and other universities. . “, Howard said.
Surrounded by a dozen nursing students, Howard said the pride and prestige that would come from the name change would invigorate students and inspire faculty members. There’s a lot of red tape to go through when considering a change, but board members said they weren’t opposed to the change at the time.
The matter will be brought before the school board again at its next meeting on Tuesday, district spokesman Chris Petley said.
District Superintendent Jackie Pons said the first step would be to open a dialogue with Tallahassee Community College President Jim Murdaugh. TCC partners with Lively for many programs, and the two schools are side by side on Appleyard Drive. District Division Manager Randy Pridgeon said the process is in its “infancy” and Leon County schools are still looking to gather more information before making any sort of decision.
“We just want to do a little more research on this,” Pridgeon said. “We want to bring all stakeholders around the table, including TCC. They are also partners in this.
Pridgeon said if it was just a matter of changing the school’s name, the district would only have to bear the cost of changing signs and logos. However, if Lively wants to become a certified college, there are “10 to 12” steps to follow.
“The question becomes why are we changing the name?” he said. “What’s different? Is there a different curriculum now? This hasn’t been fully verified yet.
Lively offers vocational training in several areas, including nursing, auto repair, heating and air conditioning maintenance, massage therapy, and welding. The schools enroll approximately 2,800 students each year, serving residents of Leon, Gadsden, and Wakulla counties.
“We’re really excited to have you on board and being interested and checking things out,” Howard told the school board.
Board member Dee Dee Rasmussen expressed concern about the possibility of a name change and what having a technical college in the Leon County School District might mean. She stressed that she didn’t have “a strong opinion one way or the other,” but raised several questions after Howard finished speaking to the council.
“Is our mission really meant to be K-12 only?” she said at the board meeting in August. “Should we be in the business of college administration? Should vo-tech courses be offered on our campuses? For my part, I would like to be very careful in thinking about it. Whether you change your name or not is always a relevant question.
Pons said the district received Lively’s name change request and that he would ultimately be the one to present the name change recommendation to the school board.
“We appreciate your input on this,” Pons told Howard. “We will continue to move forward on this subject.”
Pridgeon said there is still research to be done and the district will be watching the Legislature closely to determine what the requirements are for a school to become a college.
“We talked about holding workshops on that,” he said. “It will be on the agenda. We’ve looked across the state and there are a few tech centers that have started going down this route. We want to make sure that if we’re going to do something, we’re going to do it the right way.