Friday, December 06, 2019 08:53am
North Adams, MA now: 27 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Printer Friendly Version
   Recommend this story to a friend

iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

McCann Freshmen: Exploratories Aid Career, Life Choices

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Katelyn Cristofolini, Angela Martin, and Kristin Gregory share first-hand experience at the Charles H. McCann Technical High School Information Technology curriculum. All McCann freshmen rotate through each school program as part of first-semester exploratories.
North Adams - There's no substitute for hands-on experience when career is the consideration, according to a significant number of Charles H.McCann Technical High School's 143 freshmen students.

The Class of 2010 is spending their first high school semester engaged in "exploratories," which means an introduction to each of the school's nine career-based curriculums before selecting a four-year program.


Anthony "Tony" Saltamartini tackled culinary arts program skills during an Oct. 11 exploratory.
The process delivers multiple benefits, said school Principal Gary Rivers during an Oct. 10 school interview. Each first-hand program review acquaints the students with the fundamentals of a McCann education and allows them to discover if the career they believe they want is actually going to interest them.

Hands-On, Changed Minds

Betty Welsh, 15, of North Adams, is among the 70 percent of freshmen who change their mind about a curriculum once the exploratory process is completed.

"I came here thinking about electricity," she said from a work station at a computer-assisted drafting [CAD] classroom. "But I liked machine technology. I liked working with the materials and making things."

Ashley Burris, 15, of North Adams, is having a change of interest as well.

"When I came here, I wanted to do the culinary program but now I'm thinking I might want automotive," she said.

The encouraging atmosphere at the school has made an impression, she added.

"They make you feel welcome wherever you are," she said.

"With exploratory, you get to see what's what and what really interests you," said 15-year-old North Adams student Cameron Skiffington."Sometimes you end up finding out that something you thought would interest you is not what you actually are interested in."

Molly Downing and Kristal Weatherby during an automotive exploratory session.


Once each student has rotated through each program, a list focused on individual top three curriculum picks is created, and students are placed in a curriculum based on their interest and instructor scores that are designated as each student tries their hand at the varying program components.

About 90 percent of the students are assigned their top preference, said Rivers.

A Four-Year Trip

"One purpose of exploratory is make certain that the kids understand their options within specific career areas," Rivers said. "They may come into the school with a narrow view of a particular profession and then realize that there is much more that they can do. I guess you could say that 'exploratory' is really a four-year trip. You discover what is in your profession and beyond. At this school, we are preparing students for life, and that is an exploratory process."

Field trips may be included during the exploratory sessions. Some teachers arrange for the students to visit pertinent job sites, for instance, an automotive exploratory might include a trip to a vehicle dealership so that students can see how the repair shop operates. Students may also visit senior project work sites to gain a deeper understanding of programs.

Senior students serve as mentors during exploratory weeks, Rivers said. The older students take the responsibility seriously, he added.

"A lot of the skills that the freshmen learn during these first weeks come from the seniors," Rivers said. "It's reaffirming to the seniors because they are teaching what they know. It validates how much they know and they find themselves teaching many of the fundamentals."

"It's A Good Thing"


McCann freshmen get a sample of the school's four-year carpentry program.
The school received over 250 applicants for the freshmen class, and there is a student waiting list, Rivers said. Enrollment to each curriculum is limited due to student safety requirements and work station availability, he said. Among the most popular choices are the culinary arts, machine technology, carpentry, automotive, information technology, and electricity programs, Rivers said.

Luke Gardner, 14, of North Adams, and Matt Andrews, 15, of Adams, have rotated through three programs.

"It's a good thing," said Andrews of the process. "We get to have a hands-on look."

"Some kids want one thing and then they change their minds," said Gardner.

Adams student Lindsey Serrano, 14, said she is reconsidering her program choice.

"I was interested in the information technology but now I'm looking at electricity," she said.

Open Minds

Heath Tisdale, 14, of Monroe, 14-year-old Justin Perrault of North Adams and North Adams resident Tom Denault, 14, said that they are keeping "open minds" about the curriculums until they have experienced all of the choices.

Ben Bethoney chopped pickles during an exploratory stint at the culinary arts department.


"I like McCann," said 14-year-old Katelyn Cristofolini of Stamford, Vt. "I think it's better because you work on academics and a trade."

Angela Martin, 14, of North Adams, said she likes the school's one week of academics, one week of career training approach.

"We get to do different things," she said.

"I'm learning a lot," said Ashley Gamache, 15, of North Adams. "There's a lot of stuff to do."

"So far, I like information technology and automotive, and I'm really looking forward to CAD," said Nhi Nguyen, 15, of North Adams.

The school offers Spanish language education as an elective. A growing number of students are interested in the class, and some come to the school with basic Spanish language skills.

"I know Clarksburg [elementary school] has a good program for Spanish," said Rivers. "Some of our kids come to us ready for second level Spanish."

The school has scheduled an Oct. 26 "Showcase To Success" event. The two-hour public exhibit is set to begin at the Hodges Cross Road school at 5:30 p.m..

Additional information about the Charles H. McCann Technical School, including secondary and post-secondary education programs and SkillsUSA participation, is available by calling 413-663-5383 or at a www.mccanntech.org Internet web site.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
Your Comments
Post Comment
No Comments

 
View All
Oh Be Thankful Pie Contest
Gabriel Abbott School’s annual Oh Be Thankful Pie Contest...
McCann LPN Graduation 2019
McCann Technical School held its pinning ceremony for 20...
Williamstown Veterans Day...
Williamstown's American Legion Post 152 holds Veterans Day...
Pittsfield Veterans Day 2019
The Pittsfield Veterans Day Parade stepped off at 10 a.m....
North Adams Veterans Day 2019
North Adams held its Veterans Day observes Monday morning...
Cross Country: Multiple teams...
Ted Yee finished second overall, and Colin Young placed...
Ephs Defeat Amherst, 31-9
Senior safety Ben Anthony's interception return for a...
G Soccer: Smith Academy vs...
Lenox girls soccer team won over Smith Academy 2-0 in the...
Football: Lee vs Hoosac...
Lee High football team wins over Hoosac Valley 12-7 on...
G Soccer: Frontier vs Mount...
McWeeny's successful PK clinched a 4-1 shootout win for the...
G Soccer: Palmer vs Hoosac...
Sydni Jamross scored late in the first overtime Tuesday to...
G Soccer: Pathfinder vs...
McCann Tech girls soccer team win 4-1 over Pathfinder in...
B Soccer: Mohawk vs McCann...
McCann Tech boys soccer team lost to Mohawk in Penalty...
Football: Pittsfield vs...
The Taconic football team enjoyed contributions from all...
Football: Pathfinder vs...
The McCann Tech football team Saturday scored the first two...
Volleyball: Sabis vs Mount...
Consistency was the key factor in this match and Mount...
Oh Be Thankful Pie Contest
Gabriel Abbott School’s annual Oh Be Thankful Pie Contest...
McCann LPN Graduation 2019
McCann Technical School held its pinning ceremony for 20...
Williamstown Veterans Day...
Williamstown's American Legion Post 152 holds Veterans Day...
Pittsfield Veterans Day 2019
The Pittsfield Veterans Day Parade stepped off at 10 a.m....
North Adams Veterans Day 2019
North Adams held its Veterans Day observes Monday morning...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved