Barber College Approved for Bienville Parish High School Students

From left to right: Joseph Pruitt (Barber Instructor) and Eric Reed ( Louisiana Barber School Inspector)

In a significant development, the Bienville Parish School Board has received approval to establish a barber college for high school students in Bienville Parish, Louisiana at Gibsland Coleman High School. This initiative represents an innovative approach to vocational education and will offer a unique opportunity for young residents to pursue careers in the thriving field of barbering. The journey to secure approval for this endeavor was a collaborative effort that involved various stakeholders, a demonstration of community support, and a strong commitment to enhancing educational opportunities.

The Vision:
The idea for a barber college within Bienville Parish schools was initially conceptualized by a group of educators (Jacqueline Sampson, William Wysinger, Samuel Andrews, Chekelah Weaver, Timothy Williams, Kamithia Penton, etc.), community leaders (Edwin Mason, O’Landis Millican, and etc.), and local barbers (Joseph Pruitt and Darren Sneed) who recognized the potential benefits it could bring to the area. They saw the opportunity to provide high school students with a vocational path that could lead to a fulfilling and lucrative career in the barbering industry.

The Approval Process:
1. Proposal Development: The first step in the approval process was the creation of a comprehensive proposal that outlined the curriculum, budget, and expected outcomes. School officials collaborated closely with local barbers who had years of experience in the field to design a program that met state standards and prepared students for the Louisiana Board of Barber Examiners licensure.

2. Community Support: A vital aspect of the proposal was gaining the support of the local community, including parents, students, and potential employers. Town hall meetings, community forums, and surveys were conducted to gauge the level of interest and support for the proposed barber college. The overwhelmingly positive response played a significant role in the project’s approval.

3. State Board Approval: The proposal was then presented to the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) for evaluation and approval. It highlighted the program’s potential to benefit students, provide a skilled workforce for the local barbering industry, and contribute to economic growth in the parish.

4. Curriculum Development: Simultaneously, the school board worked on developing a comprehensive curriculum that combined academic requirements with hands-on training. The curriculum was designed to ensure that students would receive a well- rounded education while also gaining practical skills in barbering.

5. Facility and Equipment Preparation: Preparations for the physical space and equipment necessary for the barber college began, with renovations to existing facilities and the procurement of barber chairs, mirrors, and other specialized equipment.

6. Teacher Recruitment: To ensure the success of the program, a qualified barbering instructor (Joseph Pruitt) was recruited and hired to provide expert guidance to students. This instructor holds the necessary state license and bring valuable industry experience to the classroom.

7. Student Enrollment: With approval secured and the curriculum in place, students were invited to enroll in the program, which is set to commence this Fall Semester 2023. High school students in Bienville Parish (Gibsland Coleman High School and Arcadia High School) will now have the option to choose barbering as a part of their educational journey.

The Future:
The approval of the barber college in Bienville Parish marks a significant milestone in expanding educational opportunities for high school students. The Louisiana Board requires an age of 17 and that you complete at least 1500 hours of barber training before you are eligible to take the barber licensing exams. As part of this training, the Board requires that you take courses in the following barber subject areas: Introduction to Barbering. History of Barbering. BPSB is in conversation with State Representative – Elect District 11 Rashid Young to implore him in working with BESE to change the age to 16 to give high school students an opportunity to finish barber college, take the barber licensing exams, and exit high school to work. It also demonstrates the power of collaboration between the school board, local businesses, and the community to create innovative and relevant educational options. As the program gets underway, it is expected to produce skilled barbers who will not only contribute to the local economy but also provide valuable services to the community.

In conclusion, this exciting development underscores the Bienville Parish School Board’s commitment to offering diverse educational pathways that prepare students for success in a range of careers. The barber college will undoubtedly benefit both students and the community, fostering skill development, entrepreneurship, and economic growth in the region.

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