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Sherman to offer new learning opportunity

May 21, 2015
Westfield Republican

By David Prenatt

SHERMAN- Sherman Central School students who struggle with the regular academic process will have the opportunity to enter a program as 8th graders which will lead to a Regent's diploma and an Associate in Applied Science degree from Jamestown Community College, board of education members learned recently.

Sherman Principal Michael Ginestre gave a presentation to the board about the P-Tech STEM College and Career Academy, offered through Erie BOCES 2 and JCC. P-Tech (Pathways in Technology Early College high school) is a state-sponsored program. A consortium of area school districts, led by Dunkirk, acquired a P-Tech grant of $2.8 million to initiate the program, Ginestre said.

The program is designed for students who are "at risk" of failing in the traditional high school system but who show motivation, commitment and good academic standing, Ginestre said. Courses will take place at the LoGuidice Center.

Ginestre said that in the first year the student will "double-up on English and Math." But after that, most of the course work will be on-the-job training. "It's all hands-on. They are learning from people in the field," he said.

Currently, Sherman students can choose a degree program in welding technology or mechanical technology. Graduates will have a very good chance of obtaining high-paying jobs in the area, he said.

"These opportunities come out of the business and industry needs in the area," he said. "For some time, businesses in the area have been clamoring for skills of this type."

Initially one 8th grade student will enter the new program. Ginestre stressed that students who participate in the P-Tech program will be permitted to participate in the school's extracurricular activities and will graduate from Sherman Central School.

Superintendent Kaine Kelly, as well as members of the board of education, expressed enthusiasm for this partnership with Jamestown Community college and the business community.

"This is for the kid who is not a cookie-cutter student," Kelly said. "But they have to have a lot of motivation and courage."

Kelly also updated he board about the "summer camp" program proposed by instructional support specialist Bryna Booth. Kelly said he met with Sherman town supervisor Mark Persons regarding how the program might affect the town's summer recreation program for youth.

Persons was impressed with the program, Kelly said, and offered to turn full control of the summer program over to the school along with any funding the town receives from the state.

Kelly also informed the board that a shared student council meeting with representatives from Sherman, Clymer and Panama has been scheduled. Members of the student councils have responded enthusiastically to the shared sports program as well as the development of a new school logo and mascot, Kelly said.



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