Scituate High gets green light for CTE program

Scituate High gets green light for CTE program

SCITUATE – On May 5, the Career and Technical Board of Trustees and the Department of Education approved Scituate High School’s computer science and pre-engineering programs.

The school’s biomedical program is expected to go before the board on June 27 and another yes vote is expected.

The approval of the career technical education (CTE) programs, which usually takes a year, comes after months of Town Hall debates over whether the community should fund the creation of its own CTE curriculum.

Scituate High School Principal Mike Hassell, in an interview with The Valley Breeze & Observer, said he was surprised that the programs were approved in 10 months.

“Bottom line, it’s what is best for students,” said Hassell.

Ultimately the School Committee was given $261,000 to establish its own program.

CTE programs are career-prep courses certified by the Rhode Island Department of Education that usually focus on the fields of science and technology. These are STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs that local schools can use to attract students from outside the district.

The programs are also free of certain regulations. There’s no cap placed on the number of students the program takes from each district. It could be eight one year, 15 the next. There’s also no specific formula used to calculate the per-pupil cost charged to a home district.

Scituate Supt. Lawrence Filippelli said neighboring schools like Ponaganset High School ask every district, regardless of size and means, to pay $18,190 tuition per pupil.

Last year, Scituate sent 16 students to Ponaganset alone, and without a cap on the number of students leaving, administrators can never really know how many students the district will lose.

Scituate officials set out to create their own CTE program to retain more students and to attract new ones.

Hassell said the three programs were chosen based on student surveys, district exit interviews, and recommendations from the governor’s office on careers designated as “high need.”

To prepare for the 2017-2018 program, the high school will send eight teachers to a two-week training through Project Lead the Way exposing them to program-specific curricula, assessments, and project-based learning strategies.