Competition among K-12 institutions is increasing, private and charter schools as well as online classes for home schooling are presenting significant challenges for school districts. Many districts have been forced to cut staffing, increase classroom size, eliminate programs and defer infrastructure maintenance. Advancements in technology and the addition of curricula offerings are enabling school districts to re-brand and differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive environment. To retain and hire teachers and grow enrollment, it’s imperative for school districts to explore innovative educational programs, funding opportunities and technologies to ensure a safe and productive school environment.
Parents and students are looking for offerings that will encourage them to think about future career opportunities and prepare for the next level after K-12. A great example of this is “Pathways”, a program Johnson Controls discussed with the academic leaders at ASBO. There is an HVACR skilled labor shortage in our country, which means there is a need for vocational programs to help fill the available roles. Johnson Controls is implementing a full curriculum and dedicated HVACR labs to certify student in a skilled trade. The labs include current HVACR equipment and digital control systems for students to experience the hands-on education needed to work in a typical commercial and residential environment. Through these vocational programs, students have the ability to gain useful knowledge and experience that can be directly applied to a future job.
In addition to developing programs that align with the districts and community economic and workforce development initiatives, safety and security is always a priority for parents and students. Districts learned about new technologies in security, lighting and the creative funding options that would enable them to better plan for the future. Funding packages were introduced to help bundle infrastructure needs and educational programs. Johnson Controls introduced a new K12 interactive tool to help ASBO attendees understand how this approach will have a positive effect on their budget long-term. The tool also helped attendees better understand the full depth of the new organization and the value of the integration capabilities since the merger with Tyco.