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P-TECH proposed at S-GI

SPRINGVILLE – A new opportunity for Springville-Griffith Institute students was announced at the Board of Education meeting Jan. 16. In a partnership with Alfred State College and Erie 2 BOCES, a P-TECH program is being proposed in Springville.

The Pathways in Technology Early College High School program would put S-GI students, as well as students from neighboring districts, on an accelerated path to their associates degree. Students would enroll in ninth grade and spend five or six years studying for their high school diploma and an associates degree from Alfred State in one of two majors. Proposed to open in September, students will have the option of an electrical pathway or computer technology pathway. The Springville campus would join 38 other P-TECH programs throughout New York.

“I believe we’re the perfect community for this,” Superintendent Kimberly Moritz said. “I’d be delighted to have this for our students”

The program would be inside the district office building, which would put students into that building. Due to the lab equipment needed for the program, the building would need to undergo renovations to increase the size. Moritz said there would need to be a capital project for those renovations, but there would be no cost to the local taxpayer.

“I hope I have gained enough credibility … that our community believes me when I say there is absolutely no cost to the taxpayer,” she said.

The local share for P-TECH would be 20.2 percent, but the district would enter into a lease agreement with BOCES for the learning space, which would cover the local cost. Because the program is proposed to begin in September, the district will be putting it to a vote at the annual May budget vote. Moritz said it was a fast-paced project, which would normally concern her, but noted BOCES has experience and P-TECH is successful throughout the state. The closest P-TECH program is in Dunkirk, in partnership with Jamestown Community College.

There will be a public presentation on P-TECH at the Feb. 6 board meeting, the board will vote on the program at its March meeting, a second public meeting will be in May, followed by the community vote. If approved, the program would begin in September at the high school, while the district office undergoes renovations. Once the renovations are complete, P-TECH would move into the district office building.

“I think this is an incredible opportunity and a point of pride for Springville,” Moritz said. “My hope and dream is to be able to provide adult education too.”

Student Representative Andrew Lazarus raised concern with students entering the program in ninth grade, and deciding on a college major.

“It’s a big commitment for kids in eighth grade … to chose their career,” he said.

Moritz and board member Dan Miess agreed, with Moritz saying that seemed to be the only downside. However, students can exit the program if they decide it’s not for them, and rejoin their class at the high school without falling behind. Students cannot join the program after ninth grade.

Students who learn in a “different way” would be perfect for the program, Moritz said, and because it’s open to the 27 BOCES districts as well as neighboring districts, wouldn't hurt S-GI’s number of students.

“So, what’s the downside?” Miess asked.

Moritz said she couldn’t find one, reminding the board the program works in other districts. She noted students would be able to walk at graduation with their class while continuing at P-TECH.

There will be a public presentation on P-TECH Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at Colden Elementary School. The regular S-GI Board of Education meeting will follow the presentation. For more information on P-TECH, visit www.HigherEd.NYSED.gov.

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