To help equip students for future careers and post-secondary education in a very competitive global environment, the William Floyd School District has launched the second phase of its Career and Technical Education (CTE) program with the addition of two new academies – Automotive Technology and Medical Assisting. These are in addition to the kickoff of three new academies that started last school year – Carpentry, Cosmetology and Culinary Arts. The award-winning William Floyd Business Department also includes academies that are part of the CTE program.
“Career and Technical Education has taken on heightened significance and our CTE programs are a great way to equip our students with the skills that will be needed to be successful in the 21st Century,” said Steve Leunig, the new Director of CTE and Secondary Education for the William Floyd School District. “Our programs provide students with more choices and options, and they blend high school coursework with college and career readiness. Being a former technology education teacher myself, I know firsthand the value of hands-on learning and how having those skills can lead to profitable careers and provide students with valuable, practical knowledge that can be useful throughout their adult lives.”
The Automotive Technology program, which started this year, includes a two-year course of study taught by James Byrne, a certified teacher and automotive professional with vast experience in the industry. First-year students in the program are learning through a blend of classroom instruction and hands-on work that focuses on preventive automobile maintenance in a new state-of-the-art automotive facility that was constructed as part of the EXCEL Capital Budget Project approved by district voters in 2007.Construction of the automotive facility was completed in September 2013 and the final pieces of equipment were installed in December 2013.
“My students have a great opportunity to learn using the most up-to-date tools and diagnostic equipment in the field,” said Mr. Byrne.
Students are learning how to use a variety of automotive hand, power and specialty tools as they apply their learning. Some of the preventive maintenance tasks they are focusing on are oil changes, drive belt replacements, coolant flushes, automatic and manual transmission flushes, complete brake jobs, including cutting rotors on a brake lathe, tire installation, repair and wheel balancing, and basic computer diagnostics. Students will also learn to perform compression and cylinder leak down tests, and they will learn how to raise vehicles using both jacks and lifts to enable servicing and assist with performing alignments.
“My goal is for the students to leave the program with the skills necessary to perform basic maintenance on their own vehicles and be qualified to join the workforce as entry-level technicians,” said Mr. Byrne. Second-year students will undergo further in-depth learning that includes advanced computer diagnostics, the replacement of timing belts and hub bearings and the rebuilding of engines and transmissions. After completing the two-year program, students will have the skills necessary to join the automotive workforce as C-Level technicians.
The District has also worked out an articulation agreement with Suffolk County Community College, which has an Automotive Technology program where students can continue their education while pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Applied Sciences in Automotive Technology.
The Automotive Technology program has also received its first car donation – a 1997 Ford Thunderbird. Mr. Byrne added, “I want my students to know that there is a lot more to automotive technology than just fixing cars. If they set their minds to it, they can design the next electric vehicle or super car.”
The two-year Medical Assisting program, taught by Rhonda DeTrano, LPN, is in its first year, with a focus on learning medical terminology, health care practices, anatomy, physiology and clinical medical assisting practices. Through class instruction and practice, students are learning and gaining experience in a wide variety of skills, including recording patient intake information, learning how to chart, checking vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, pulse, pulse oximetry), conducting basic eye exams and eye-washing procedures, performing laboratory testing, electrocardiograms, bandaging, basic wound care, transferring patients from a wheelchair and how to assist doctors with minor office procedures.
“Many of my students have already set their career goals, with plans to pursue an advanced career in health care,” said Ms. DeTrano, adding that some have also expressed interest in becoming physicians, nurse practitioners, staff nurses and radiologists. “Some of them have told me that this course will help them decide if they want to continue pursuing a career in health care,” she said. “My hope is that this course is just a stepping stone for students to realize that this does not have to be the end product. Their options are numerous, and this class will leave them ready to obtain a job right out of high school while also having the option to pursue higher education. It offers them an option to earn a salary while at the same time getting experience in the health care field.”
After graduation, successful students will have obtained a Medical Assistant certification. “They will be ahead of the game – having earned that certification and already possessing the basic skills, terminology and knowledge of anatomy and physiology,” said Ms. DeTrano.
Ms. DeTrano is also encouraging her students to take the national examination for medical assistants. “While not mandatory, it is highly recommended, and it shows potential employers that students have taken the initiative and gone the extra mile,” she said.
Additional CTE Programs available
In addition to Automotive Technology and Medical Assisting, students can also participate in the Business, Carpentry, Cosmetology and Culinary Arts programs. Each program focuses on students gaining the practical experience and skills necessary to be career and/or college ready. Several programs currently include articulation agreements with colleges and universities and the district is pursuing additional agreements for the new programs.
The Business Academy encompasses a comprehensive program of challenging courses in career preparation and technological literacy that are enriched with a variety of extracurricular activities. Their half- and full-year courses complement academic study and provide opportunities for students to satisfy many of the commencement level NYS Learning Standards. Courses are designed to prepare students for post-secondary study and/or entry-level employment.
In the Culinary Arts two-year program, taught by Rich Daly, the Guinness World Record holder for fastest ice carver, students work in a fully-equipped kitchen equivalent to facilities found in restaurants around the world. Their learning includes culinary mathematics, menu planning, food science, health and safety procedures, food identification, purchasing and more.
Cosmetology, a two-year program taught by Wendy Joyce, gives students the practical experience in performing the same hair, nail and skin care techniques that are employed at major salons and spas around the world. Students can earn 1,000 hours of experience in preparation for taking the State Board exam to become a New York State-licensed cosmetologist.
Carpentry, a two-year program taught by Matt VanHorne, provides students with hands-on experience in carpentry, building trades and construction. Students construct miniature homes utilizing the plans and components of a full-size home, and they design furniture and perform work in and for the community. The program prepares students for College Construction Technology and Engineering programs and also trains students for entrance into the Carpenters Union Joint Apprenticeship program.