St. Albans, WV (WOWK)—A parent has started a petition to save a Career and Technical Education program at Saint Albans High School. The county says the Broadcast CTE is officially cut because of lack of participation and because students aren’t completing the program.

Some students disagree.

The broadcasting CTE program launched in the 2017-2018 school year. Since then, the class has evolved, getting better equipment and offering more collaborative opportunities.

Now the program is cut and won’t be offered to students in the fall.

One parent even started an online petition, which has hundreds of signatures.

“It really makes me feel like we are losing something here,” said student Matthew McAfee. He has his own television show through the program. He said it is a creative outlet that will be missed. “No other school in this area has a program like that. Not many people understand what all goes into a production and how any of this works.”

Communications Director for Kanawha County Schools, Briana Warner sent a statement about the cancellation of the program. She said, since it started, the program has had zero “completers.” The statement went on to say:

“In addition, there are zero rising seniors on track to be a completer of the CTE program. Only six rising seniors had signed up for any related completer courses and none were on track to complete the program. Both the WVDE and KCS measure the value and success of CTE programs at both high schools and at CTE center based on the number of completers through the program. Yearly, we examine the success of all CTE programs across the district.

Although many programs have suffered due to COVID, the other SAHS CTE school-based programs have increased in completers. As a result of a lack of completers and a lack of student interest in the specific school-based courses, especially when compared to other CTE programs and general electives, there was not enough interest to continue the program. The courses in the program are not required offerings for high school students as per WVDE policy 2510, and those courses are not required course electives for students to graduate.

SAHS remains committed to teaching broadcasting skills outside of a CTE program and will ensure other broadcast journalism opportunities and elements of that curriculum are embedded in other course offerings for students moving forward, specifically an English media course elective. This could very well increase interest in the field as the course may see more students enrolled than in a full completer program.

The instructor of the Broadcasting CTE program Amy Trent also sent a statement:

“In light of an upcoming grievance hearing, I am unable to speak at this point. We all know the program is for the students and from my understanding, they, along with their parents, will be at the KCS board meeting on June 6th to show just how much interest and commitment they have to the program.”

Meanwhile, students had a message for county leaders. “My plea to the school board is save the program, keep it around,” McAfee said. Fellow student Garrett Hall expressed similar concerns. “You shouldn’t take something away that is doing good,” Hall said.