(Posted May 11, 2015)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
As this school year comes to an end, Tolles Career & Technical Center is setting the stage for new student services in 2015-16. The overall intent is to give students more opportunities to become workforce and/or college ready.
More satellite programs
In addition to programs offered at the Plain City campus, Tolles is increasing its off-site offerings to 15 at the middle school and high school levels. The satellite additions reflect the workforce opportunities in each service area.
In West Jefferson, where several dis-tribution warehouses are located, Tolles is launching a logistics course at West Jefferson Middle School. Likewise, in rural Milford Center, Tolles is introducing a course to expose Fairbanks Middle School students to job options in plant, animal and environmental science that go beyond “cows and plows.”
Also new is an engineering, manufac-turing and information technology course at Jonathan Alder High School. This is an extension of the program that Tolles started a couple of years ago at Jonathan Alder Junior High.
“Jonathan Alder Junior High was our first partner to go with the governor’s call to bring vocational education to students at a younger age,” said Kim Wilson, Tolles superintendent. “The grades 9-12 pathway is all part of the progression.”
With a Straight A grant, funded through the Ohio Department of Edu-cation, Tolles also is starting the Dublin IT Academy to bump up information technology instruction at Dublin City Schools.
More Academic Honors Classes
Because students attend Tolles by choice, Tolles leaders are constantly looking at ways to boost enrollment. That includes balancing vocational programming with academic offerings.
“We have heard (from students and parents) that a lack of honors courses was impacting students’ decisions to come to Tolles,” Wilson said.
So, starting in 2015-16, Tolles is offering honors courses in English, Algebra II, macro and micro economics, chemistry and materials science. The center also is increasing its dual enrollment opportunities, which allow students to earn college credit while taking high school courses.
iPads for Everyone
This year, seven Tolles teachers piloted a program that put iPads in the hands of their students. In April, all staffers attended iPad University to learn how to better incorporate the devices into instruction. This fall, the concept goes campus-wide, with every student and instructor receiving an iPad.
The point is to promote critical thinking and technical proficiency.
“The iPad becomes a tool that allows ownership over learning. Students can create content and be collaborative,” said Shane Haggerty, Tolles marketing and technology director.
“It allows students to create work for a global audience,” Wilson added. “They research a topic, they write about it through video or blogs, then they put it out there. Because other people are going to see it, they are more serious about it, so the quality of their work goes up.”
Already this year, students posted videos online about skills needed to become a state tested nurse’s aide, step-by-step instructions for Photoshop vignettes, and how to make liquid popcorn, among others.
Tri-Rivers Career Center in Marion, Ohio, heads up the Robotics Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative (RAMTEC). Through a $14.99 million Straight A grant, Tri-Rivers is partnering with eight other career centers to expand the RAMTEC vision. Tolles is one of those centers.
The vision is to address a skills gap by preparing high school and adult students with advanced manufacturing and engineering skills. The grant is funding installation of equipment at participating schools for specified training.
“This will enhance the district’s engineering/manufacturing programs and provide a full-service, customized solution for adults to meet the demands of manufacturers in the central Ohio region,” Wilson said.
Tolles and the other partner schools will begin accepting students into the RAMTEC program during the 2015-16 school year.
To learn more about other new developments at Tolles, as well as ongoing programs, go to www.tollestech.com or call (614) 873-4666.