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Foothills PTECH set to open next year

April 13, 2018 | Filed in Top Stories

The Gloversville and Johnstown school districts have been awarded a $3 million grant to offer a new Pathways in Technology Early College High School. Beginning in the fall of 2018, freshmen in the two districts will have the opportunity to earn their high school diploma and a college degree simultaneously at no cost to their families.

Johnstown and Gloversville school districts are partnering with the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES, Fulton Montgomery Community College, the Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce and local businesses to launch the new Foothills PTECH. Foothills PTECH will be open by application to a total of 80 incoming freshmen from the two districts.

“At Foothills PTECH, our students will be supported by their teachers in both their high school and college classes,” Johnstown superintendent Patricia Kilburn said. “This approach increases the chances for each child’s success — as well as their chances to launch their futures — as college educated and employed young adults.”

Following the model of the two successful PTECHs currently in the HFM region, Foothills PTECH will offer a high school education featuring college-level, credit-bearing coursework that allows students to select their own career pathway to high-skill jobs. Through the program, selected students will have the opportunity to earn associate degrees at no cost to their families and will be considered for jobs with partner businesses when they graduate.

The new Foothills PTECH will offer two areas of study at two locations. The Academy of Health and Medical Sciences will be located in the former Meco Elementary School in Gloversville, and the Academy of Computer Science and Game Arts will be housed within Johnstown High School in the newly renovated computer and video gaming lab and classrooms. Gloversville and Johnstown students are welcome to participate in either academy, while still being enrolled as district students with the opportunity to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities offered at their home high schools.  

The Academy of Computer Science and Game Arts will focus on the digital gaming industry as the entry point for studies in computer science, internet/web development, animation and related business and marketing fields. The Academy of Health and Medical Science will focus on the medical arts and sciences, with specific attention centered on laboratory, clinical and patient technician career paths.

“Foothills PTECH is a remarkable educational opportunity for our students and families,” Gloversville Superintendent Robert DeLilli said. “Regional job growth continues in both of these fields, and there is tremendous room for continued employment and career growth.”  

Through the Foothills PTECH program, students will be able to earn one of the following associate degrees: Health Studies, Medical Administrative Assistant, Web and Mobile Applications Development, Digital Media Technology and Design, Computer Information Systems, Business Administration and Business Marketing.

“Expanding the use of the successful PTECH model in our component school districts will transform the educational landscape in our area,” HFM BOCES District Superintendent Patrick Michel said. “In addition to providing more opportunities for students, PTECH is an economic and workforce development initiative that benefits our entire region. We can no longer separate our high schools from our colleges and employers. The expansion of PTECH programs will help us prepare a competent, modern workforce to supply our regional businesses and industries and attract new employers to our area. I’d like to thank the Governor and the state Department of Education for embracing this program for our children.”

Foothills PTECH will be the third PTECH program to launch in the HFM region. HFM BOCES partnered with its component schools districts, Fulton-Montgomery Community College and local business and industry partners to launch the area’s first PTECH school in 2014. Now in its fourth year, PTECH is poised to graduate its first class of students this June, with many of them on track to receive their associate degree and high school diplomas at the same time.

Recognizing the success of the PTECH model, BOCES and its component districts partnered with SUNY Cobleskill to open the agricultural-themed Ag PTECH in 2016.

In addition to Gloversville and Johnstown, HFM BOCES is working with other school districts in the area, including Amsterdam and Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville, to offer college degree and career pathway opportunities for their students next year using the PTECH model.