Magazine article Techniques

Institute of Technical Studies-A Pathway to Success

Magazine article Techniques

Institute of Technical Studies-A Pathway to Success

Article excerpt

It Works

By working with the local technical center, a high school principal has found a way to help keep students-some of whom are at risk of dropping out-in school and on the road to a successful future.

When Elaine Scott was appointed principal of Evans High School in Orlando, Florida, she became inquisitive about her students, and of special interest to her were the withdrawal reports. To add spark to her "drive-to-know," an article appeared in the local newspaper stating that there were more than 700 students within one school year who would fail the ninth grade. Another report stated a loss of 1,200 students who would not be coming to Evans because of "A" "B" transfers (minority/majority) or magnet programs.

Scott met with district personnel to facilitate analyzing the withdrawal reports. She knew that something had to be done to help eliminate the exodus.

Luck would have it that she happened to meet with Dr. Kaye Chastain, one of the directors of the local technical center, Orlando Tech, and they began a dialogue on the requirements needed for students to attend a technical center.

Evans High School already had the largest dual enrollment at Valencia Community College. The technical center could be another approach. Scott found tremendous support for the partnership from Chastain, who is the senior director of Orlando Tech, and Workforce Education Associate Superintendent Dr. Bonnie Marmor.

A Program is Born A plan was developed to begin a special program during the 2001-2002 school year at Evans Ninth Grade Center. The program would be for ninth-graders who were unable to enter into the loth grade due to failing grades and/or not meeting credit requirements. The Ninth Grade Center was selected for the Institute of Technical Studies (ITS) because it is a closed environment-the freshman campus is separate from the main campus.

The first consideration was the need to identify new teachers for the program. Having students repeat the ninth grade could allow them to have the same teacher for a second time and might limit their chances for success. The desire was to place teachers with a vocational background in the classes to help these students move into a career tech/academic dual enrollment program and to have them be a part of something that would enable them to be successful-and not be labeled. Success was to guide the program and the students, knowing that one answer for their failure would not fit all.

This year, the students are required to wear uniforms. It is hoped that this will help to raise self-esteem and inspire the students to develop an appreciation of their presence in the classroom and the workplace. …

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