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Cosmetology Program Off to Strong Start in First Year

Cosmetology Program Off to Strong Start in First Year
Allison McGowan

Want to apply for the 2024-2025 cohort? See information and an application link below this story.

As you step into the cosmetology building at Gateways High School, Brattain Campus, a warm sense of joy welcomes you, and one can't help but feel their spirits lifted by the students' infectious excitement to learn their craft.

"The other day, I told a staff member I was going over to the cosmetology building and they said, 'Don't forget to come back!'", laughs Brattain Campus Principal Lesa Haley. "Once you come in here, you don't want to leave."

In the fall of 2023, Springfield Public Schools (SPS) welcomed the very first cohort of students into their cosmetology career and technical education (CTE) program. The two-year program, the fourth such CTE offering in the state and only the second housed within a high school, provides students with the education and practical hours to prepare them to sit the state board exam upon high school graduation.

Cosmetology teacher Shirley Arnett calls the program "rigorous and fun." 

"We cover a lot, from the science of cosmetology, which includes learning about skin and nail diseases and disorders and sanitation, to design, which is important in all aspects of cosmetology and especially haircutting."

In the first half of the first year, cosmetology program students chose a field of practice on which to focus: hair design, barbering, esthetics or nails. Classroom instruction in the basic concepts of the science of cosmetology and design followed, all while students continued their regular high school curriculum classes as students of Gateways High School.

There is much to look forward to in the second half of the year, including working toward the goal of opening the salon to the public in the spring.

Upon returning from Winter Break, the cosmetology students continued to apply textbook concepts to practical learning.

Hair and barbering students will begin the new year learning hair sculpting, clipper cutting and shaving before moving into chemical services, including perming, relaxing and coloring.

The esthetics student's studies will include a deep dive into anatomy and physiology while discovering specialty masks and their benefits, electrode devices and waxing.

The nail design student will continue detailed nail theory, manicures, pedicures and gel polish application and nail enhancements.

"I love seeing those 'aha' moments," says Arnett. "It's so gratifying in so many ways."


Applications are now being accepted for the 2024-2025 cohort!

Successful applicants will transfer to Gateways High School and undertake a two-year cosmetology training program alongside finishing their high school diploma.

Successful applicants will be:

- Current sophomores in Springfield Public Schools
- On track to graduate
- Have positive attendance
- Committed to the two-year program

2024-2025 Cosmetology Application

Students must be signed into their school Google account to access the application.

Applications will be accepted until April 15, 2024.