Amsterdam freshman shows growth at P-TECH

Saturday, October 22, 2016 - Updated: 4:08 AM


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Although the school year is only nearing the five-week report mark, Jack Cornett said he has already pushed himself and developed as a person.

Cornett is a freshman at the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Pathways in Technology Early College High School on Jansen Avenue in Johnstown.

P-TECH principal Michael Dardaris, and Cornett, who comes from the Greater Amsterdam School District, spoke to the board of education Wednesday night.

Dardaris asked the board to raise their hand if they understood the P-TECH concept. The majority of the board did. Dardaris used a slide presentation to refresh some of the background information about the program.

P-TECH uses project-based learning and includes college-level, credit-bearing coursework. Students, who come from 15 different home districts, choose their own "pathways" to high-skills jobs in five career clusters- business management and administration, advanced manufacturing and clean technology, information technology, health sciences and renewable resources.

"They come to us to start their college degree and get their high school diploma at the same exact time," Dardaris said.

Students can earn one of 11 different associate degrees through the program. This is at no cost to their families.

"We have a very non-traditional setting, project based learning. Students collaborate in projects instead of sitting and getting the information from the teacher," Dardaris said.

Students may spend four to six years in the P-TECH program. They will have the opportunity to work with business mentors in various career fields.

Cornett was home schooled, until he switched to public school in the 7th grade.

"So, when I first applied [to P-TECH] I thought it would be an opportunity to push myself. To push myself to my limits and see how far I can go. But now that I have been there and we are almost to our five-week report mark I found that yes it is a wonderful way for me to push myself but it's also help me develop so much as a person. I've met so many amazing people, teachers, and students alike who have help me test myself and get to know myself better," he said.

Dardaris said P-TECH is presenting to the New York State Board Association next week. He said said P-TECH is an opportunity for parents and students.

"So the environment for the students is the draw and for the parents it's the cost of college," he said.