Schenectady County

Tech, career diplomas planned at Scotia-Glenville

Scotia-Glenville High School students may be able to apply for a special diploma in career and techn

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Scotia-Glenville High School students may be able to apply for a special diploma in career and technical education starting next fall.

The district is seeking approval from the state Education Department to award these new degree designations for students that have completed career programs. School officials are redesigning the curriculum to meet the new state requirements.

Connie Zack, chairwoman of the Family and Consumer Science Department, said the state is trying to raise graduation rates by providing students with real-life experiences to succeed in education and careers. The state Board of Regents has created this enhanced diploma for students enrolled in career and technical education programs.

Scotia-Glenville’s family and consumer science, technology and business departments currently offer more than 30 classes — one-third of which can earn students college credit. About 50 of the district’s students are attending classes through the Capital Region BOCES program, according Zack.

Zack said the district wants to include work experience for students built right into their courses. They are entering into partnerships with local colleges and universities and will develop an industry-approved examination that will be given at the completion of the course.

Potential courses include computer information technology and network technician, business law, human services, nursing and gerontology — the study of aging — according to Zack.

Patrick Collins, head of the Technology Department, said they are looking at developing programs in the construction and automotive trades, architectural and construction technology, power technology and technology education. The curriculum for these courses would be reviewed by a council of business leaders and college educators.

The state requires that a class in financial literacy be part of the requirements for graduation with this special diploma, Zack said. The district had originally envisioned a business English class but they were unable to work it out with the English Department. Instead, they are switching to a business math class. There is also a requirement that students take one year of foreign language.

Michael Parks, chairman of the Business Department, said the district plans to submit an application to the state by the end of the school year if not sooner.

“We’re a little bit behind where we wanted it to be,” Parks said. “We feel very confident with what we’ve put together.”

Department heads were busy during the first few months of the school year with developing the criteria to evaluate teachers, according to Parks.

Superintendent Susan Swartz said that there would be an increase in costs if the district wanted to pursue the career and technical education certification. Scotia-Glenville would have to make a long-term commitment.

“The underlying basic Regents’ requirements will not change. The designations are above and beyond the requirements for a Regents diploma,” she said.

Board member Gary Normington estimated a significant number of students would benefit from this diploma certification.

“I think it’s much larger than most of us think it is,” he said.

Vice President Colleen Benedetto said she is excited. “For a lot of students, this is what they love and the other academic part, maybe not so much,” she said.

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