PHS expands career tech course offerings

PELHAM – Pelham High School is expanding its career tech programs for the 2018-19 school year, according to the district’s director of curriculum and instruction Shannon Bogert.

Bogert said the school system is expanding its biomedical and engineering course offerings and will be implementing an education and training program for aspiring teachers. Bogert said engineering and biomedical were both Career Academy courses, but they are being switched to the school’s career tech program.

Bogert said the switch will require the programs to meet certain state and federal guidelines, but the programs will receive federal funds and this will also open the door for more opportunities for students and more specialized training for teachers. Bogert said the move will amplify both programs.

The school will expand the advisory boards for both to include more industry professional who will give input about workforce demands to help ensure that students have the necessary skills to be successful in college or on the job. The advisory boards are made up of teachers, parents, students and industry professionals.

Biomedical and engineering, which both have three course offerings, will increase to four course offering next school year. Both programs will receive an internship class. Bogert said the system will hire a new teacher with specialized computer science skills to teach the new engineering course.

Third-year students in the engineering career tech program will be taking a new course next school year also – Computer Science and Software Engineering.

Bogert said both programs are set up to allow students to start taking courses in the ninth grade and take one course each year of their high school careers.

The school system is also implementing an Education and Training program for aspiring teachers.

“We’ve known for about two years that the industry indicates there’s a shortage in teachers,” Bogert said. “The Future Teachers of America club was started this school year to gage the interests of students and we consistently have 50-70 students attending the meetings.”

During the 2018-19 school year, Bogert said one class, an introductory course, will be implemented and each year the district hopes to add a course until the program has four course offerings.

Bogert said an advisory board will be developed for the program also.

“This is one that students are really excited about,” Bogert said. “Some of the kids have already been interning at the elementary schools to get some real-world experience and help them decide if it’s really something they want to do.”

The PHS student interns at the elementary schools help teachers with reading and math remediation and provide extra supervision.

“It’s almost like a student teacher in college,” Bogert said. “They get to see all the working parts of a school.”

Bogert also acknowledge the hard of the PHS teachers who participate in specialized training in order to be able to teach these courses.

“We couldn’t do any of this without our teachers who put in hours of specialized training,” she said.