Charles H. McCann Technical School curriculum prepares students for college, workplace

Tuesday November 6, 2012


Mitchell Malloy is a junior at the Charles H. McCann Technical School. He’s already earned certifications by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).

When he’s not in school, he works on the side helping to install wiring in houses. At the end of November, he’ll be partnered with master electricians through McCann’s cooperative work program.

"They told me it would be a solid job. Everyone’s going to need an electrician," said Malloy, who said the hourly pay range is $15 to $20 to start.

"Here, you learn from the bottom up," said Malloy. His training in McCann’s electricity program prepares him for residential, commercial and industrial projects.

At the trade school, better known as McCann Tech, Principal Justin Kratz said programs are expanding, both in terms of vocational and academic curricula, to "provide everything students need to be successful at college or in the workplace."

McCann serves 506 students in Grades 9 through 12, and 58 students through its post-secondary programs.

"Vocational education has changed drastically over the years," said Kratz, who is new to the position of principal this year.

He said the state is in the process of revising and adopting new vocational frameworks for all the shop areas, from metal fabrication to automotive. Kratz said some McCann educators are advising the state in this capacity.

This year, McCann added Advanced Placement (AP) English to its academic offerings. Last year, the school added AP Calculus. The addition of an AP Biology course is being planned for next year.

"We’re beefing up our honors course offerings," Kratz said.

The school also challenges students through its annual senior projects program. Students, like Michelle Briggs, are charged with creating an original project to show in the spring. Briggs, who is a senior in the computer assisted design (CAD) program, is designing a house, from floor plan to cost analysis.

"The goal is, if someone looks at the project, they will actually have all the information they need to be able to build the house," Briggs said.

Beyond curriculum, the school also made some renovations over the summer by updating and restructuring the post-secondary cosmetology lab, installing new lockers and replacing cafeteria room furniture.

All of this was presented last month during McCann’s annual Showcase for Success open house event.

"It’s great to be able to show the public what we do," said Richard Bergendahl, who teaches in the information technology department.

One of his students, sophomore Noelle Gageant, was able to present to visitors everything from how to run an operating system in various computers to the construction of circuits in a computer’s motherboard -- things she said she’s been interested in since age 6.

"Here, I’ve found so many people that are like me," she said, "We get a lot done."


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