Career center students to get more shop time Primary goal is to make schedule resemble workday

Change planned for fall

Students will keep connection to their home schools

March 31, 1996|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

Students at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center will begin a schedule this fall that will give them a longer day at their chosen shops, but for only a semester at a time.

"The overall reason is to improve the instruction of the students to resemble a workday," Principal Catherine Engel said.

It also will merge nicely with the four-period day that three more high schools will adopt by fall, she said.

North Carroll High School has had such a schedule for three years.

High school is changing in the county, and that includes the "sixth" high school, the career center.

The schedule change came from principals' trying to find a way to increase the time students spend on instruction and cut the time they spend doing other things, such as riding buses.

Up to now, students have attended the center for about 2 1/2 hours in the morning or afternoon during their junior and senior years and spent the rest of the day at their home high schools.

On the new schedule, seniors will spend five hours a day at the center for the fall semester, and juniors will spend five hours a day there in the spring semester.

During the spring semester, while se- niors are at their home schools, they also can arrange for internships and apprenticeships.

Students will take buses to the center in the morning, then to their home schools about 1 p.m. for one or two academic classes.

"We're going to have way more time for our studies here, and way more time to get the whole spectrum of things to do," said Kory Hawkins, a junior at Liberty High School who takes culinary RTC arts classes at the career center.

"Just recently we were doing cooking with beef," said Shawn Partner, another culinary arts student and a junior from Francis Scott Key High School. "A lot of recipes took more than two hours, so we had to start them one day and finish them the next."

The schedule change will have several benefits, Ms. Engel said:

It will cut in half the amount of time the students spend riding buses to and from their home schools every day. For many students, that's an hour of bus time every day. And for Westminster students, that means less time waiting for the students from other schools to arrive. It also means $70,000 to $80,000 less for buses.

More time will be saved because the students won't have to stop and clean to make room in their shop space for the next shift of students. For example, a morning student who starts painting a car has to stop after 2 1/2 hours and put everything away to make room for an afternoon student.

The ending time will be more compatible with the four-period schedule that four of the five high schools will be adopting by fall and still will work with Liberty High's traditional seven-period day. Students will get back to Liberty in time for the last two class periods. Students at the other schools will get back in time for the last 90-minute period.

With the time saved, students will be able to pick up two more credits over their junior and senior years. Currently, students who want to attend the center give up those credits.

When administrators and teachers first looked into the change, they considered having students attend a full day at the center without going back to their home schools. But students said they wanted to maintain a connection to their schools so that they could get prom and graduation news and see their friends daily.

The educators wanted students to be able to take complementary academic courses, such as algebra and science.

North Carroll students who went to the technology center had some trouble adjusting their schedules. The morning career center students, for example, would have arrived back at North Carroll in the afternoon in the middle of a class period.

The solution was for them to take a 45-minute academic course (( at Westminster High School before boarding a bus back to Hampstead in time for a 90-minute period.

South Carroll High School Principal David Booz came up with the plan to have students spend five hours a day for a semester at a time, Ms. Engel said.

It is a schedule much like the one once used at a satellite technology center at his school, where South Carroll and Liberty High School students can take some shop classes without traveling to Westminster.

Peter B. McDowell, director of secondary education, said the best part of the new plan is that it eliminates the inequity that career center students faced -- giving up two credits. Only Liberty High School students might find the new schedule limiting, he said. Most of their courses are still full-year courses. 00 In contrast, most of the courses at the other high schools will be semester courses.

"I think there will be more of a problem at Liberty than anywhere else," he said.

Still, many English and science courses there are taught by semester, he said.

Pub Date: 3/31/96

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