District strengthens tech center academics

Curtis Martin, left, a junior at Corry’s Career and Technical Center, and instructor John Dougherty look at a part for a portable air-quality downdraft system in the CTC’s renovated metalworking/welding room. Journal photo by Maryann Mook

Editor’s note: This is Part 2 in a two-part series on recent improvements in the Corry Career and Technical Center.

Positive changes have been taking place at the Corry Career and Technical Center the past few months.

In addition to physical changes, such as making more space for machinery, painting, and adding equipment to improve air quality in the machining and metalworking/welding programs, the district is focusing more on academics in correlation with the CTC.

The changes are the result of a review that resulted in a poor analysis of the machining and metalworking/welding programs by a team of Corry industrial leaders. The district then enlisted their expertise in their respective fields when making the changes.

One of the priorities on the district’s list of changes and improvements is to hire a new CTC director. Brian Dougherty, superintendent of the Corry Area School District, has been acting director for several months since the former director resigned this past summer. Dougherty expects to make a recommendation to the board to hire a director at its March meeting.

The district’s 2010-11 spending plan will include an additional machining teacher and a business teacher.

“We’ve gotten to the point where we believe we have to hire a skilled person,” Dougherty said. “That position includes computer numeric control (CNC) setup and use.”

The machining teacher will be separate from the metalworking/welding trade.

Also, Dan Mather, the current buildings maintenance instructor, will assume split duties in teaching and placing students in cooperative work-experience programs.

“We’re going to become more aggressive in getting apprentices and positions for our students,” Dougherty said.

The district also will expand the courses it offers.

An alternative career training program, or ACT, will be initiated in 2010-11 for students who will not complete or enter into a three-year CTC program.

“ACT is for male and female students who are academic in nature and are drawn into the CTC programs without a three-year commitment,” Dougherty said.

Students choosing the ACT program may choose from courses in computer applications relative to the working world or general/light maintenance in several areas of trade, such as introduction to metal occupations and house wiring.

Revised scheduling will expand to allow students to explore career options.

“We are pushing the ninth-grade exploratory program back to eighth grade and will explore all CTC programs available,” Dougherty said.

The exploratory program will allow ninth-graders to start CTC immediately in a three-year program for ninth-, 10th-, and 11th-graders. Students will be out on work experience in 12th grade.

Dougherty said the difference will be flexibility in scheduling.

“If a student chooses a three-year program and changes his or her mind halfway through, they can pick up another three-year program,” Dougherty said.

And the three-year program will be more demanding, Dougherty said.

Every ninth-grader that chooses a CTC program will be required to fill out an application. Students will undergo an interview process with a counselor, a teacher, and parents.

See the Journal's Tuesday, March 2nd edition for full story.

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