Getting high school students to start thinking about today's and tomorrow's challenging career world is what the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Education Services – or HFM BOCES – is all about.
All junior and senior high school students who are enrolled in HFM BOCES programs within Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties attend classes for a half day at their respective schools, then attend classes at HFM BOCES during the other half of the school day. HFM BOCES is located adjacent to Fulton-Montgomery Community College on Route 67 in Johnstown, and shares all campus buildings and facilities with the college.
“Students go for a half day at their schools for the core academic subjects, then spend the other half of their day at BOCES taking non-traditional classes that interest them – they choose those classes with the help of their guidance counselor,” says Patrick Michel, HFM BOCES superintendent. “For example, one student might enroll here in our pre-engineering program, another might be interested in welding, another in health care and so on.”
College and Career Ready
BOCES is a New York State Education Department program whose goal is to get high school students to become college and career ready, especially in today's advancing world.
“Studies show that all high school students today should attain some degree of technical expertise by the time they graduate, and that's where we can help,” Michel says. “All students should know how to read well and write well, plus be technically savvy. Those students will eventually secure good careers and be prosperous.”
The BOCES program has met with success in the HFM region, with 93 percent of students in the program going on to earn their high school diploma. In addition, BOCES educates 99 percent of disabled children in the region on the same college campus as their non-disabled peers, and the annual graduation rate for special needs children is 92 percent.
“We not only offer traditional trade career programs for electricians, plumbers and mechanics, but highly academic subjects for careers leading into medicine, law, science, mathematics and engineering,” Michel says. “We are also talking about adding a music program for the 2012-2013 school year because a lot of music programs are being cut due to fiscal issues in this region.”
Freshmen and Sophomores?
Michel says BOCES is also thinking about extending their college and career readiness initiative to freshmen and sophomores in the near future.
“We get high school students thinking early about possibly pursing the hottest of careers, so that they are ahead of the game by the time they graduate and get ready for college or a technical career,” he says. “We are helping to reshape education in the Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties as well as all of New York State.”
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