Central Chester County students to reap the benefits of a TCHS education
Downingtown, PA – The successes of the first-of-its kind Technical College High School (TCHS) Pennock’s Bridge Campus are set to be emulated beginning August 2012 when the school opens the doors to its second campus, the Technical College High School Brandywine Campus, in Downingtown.
A student who has been dreaming of being a doctor since she received her first toy stethoscope taking part in clinical rotations at a Chester County hospital; a student diligently working to earn the first 18 credits of his college career; and, a student obtaining her Pennsylvania Safety Inspection license may all seem like descriptions of happenings at area post-secondary institutions this fall, but they are not.
These are the experiences of hundreds of high school students at the Chester County Technical College High School (TCHS) in southern Chester County. What’s even better is that students in the central part of the county will have similar opportunities next year when TCHS opens the doors of its Brandywine Campus in August 2012.
In 2008, the Chester County Technical College High School became Pennsylvania’s first hybrid career and technical high school/community college. The school features three distinct yet interrelated educational programs: traditional high school career and technical programs, traditional college courses through Delaware County Community College (DCCC), and new dual-enrollment classes that blend high school and for-credit college courses.
TCHS Brandywine will serve high school students in the Coatesville Area, Downingtown Area, and West Chester Area school districts, and will offer many of the same benefits as its sister school in southern Chester County.
According to Alan Slobojan, Ed.D., Director of Career, Technical & Customized Education for the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU), which operates the school on behalf of Chester County’s 12 public school districts, the school will replace the Center for Arts & Technology (CAT) Brandywine Campus in Coatesville.
“CAT Brandywine was in need of costly renovations to meet 21st century standards,” said Slobojan. “Because of the equipment utilized by the programs, we couldn’t simply relocate them to an alternate area of the building or temporarily house them in trailers while still providing a quality career and technical education.”
The most practical solution was the renovation of a 200,000 square foot warehouse behind CCIU’s Educational Service Center on Boot Road in Downingtown. The Chester County School Authority purchased the building, which will be operated by CCIU, and is on schedule to open its doors in August of 2012, due in part to great cooperation from Downingtown Borough.
According to Dr. Slobojan, TCHS Brandywine will benefit learners of all ages: “The school will be a remarkable asset to the borough and community, bringing a state-of-the-art learning facility to the area for high school and adult students alike, and could potentially operate seven days a week.”
The facility will provide an improved environment for the delivery of more than 20 high school career and technical education programs, which include both theory and hands-on application of that theory in labs, post-secondary programs, and other CCIU school-age and preschool programs.
Current principal of CAT Brandywine and future principal of TCHS Brandywine Campus, Seth Schram, has witnessed firsthand the benefits of a TCHS education. Schram was principal of the Pennock’s Bridge Campus, and is ready to assist in the opening of the Brandywine Campus.
“This is a great opportunity, utilizing a proven successful hybrid model, that can and will benefit all types of learners,” said Schram. “The development of our programs and facilities is a combination of Pennsylvania Department of Education standards, business and industry recommendations, and the result of utilizing what has been successful in career and technical education in recent times.”
An example of a TCHS success is 2011 graduate Michael Kolachny, Jr., of Avon Grove School District who earned 26 college credits – while in high school.
Kolachny was enrolled in the Health Career Academy, which provides the opportunity for qualifying students to earn 11 credits at DCCC. Students who successfully complete the high school program and earn the associated DCCC college credits are eligible to articulate eight additional credits for DCCC’s RN program or the CCIU Practical Nursing program.
But Kolachny wasn’t finished once he received those 19 credits. He took advantage of additional opportunities to take courses through DCCC, bringing his total advanced credits to 26 before he even graduated high school. He plans to continue his education in nursing to the Master’s level and beyond.
A few of the high school programs expected to be offered at the new campus include some of the more common career and technical programs such as carpentry, cosmetology, and culinary arts, as well as new programs such as Health Information Management, Biomedical Science, and Banking & Financial Services, which is set to include a student-run branch of a local financial institution.
“Career and technical education students really have the best of both worlds,” said Dr. Slobojan. “They are provided with a career pathway that prepares them for entry-level employment and teaches them employment skills such as teamwork, being punctual, and communicating with customers, and also provides them with the ability to continue their education at the post-secondary level, often times with college credits being earned while in high school.”
For more information, including more of the anticipated career and technical programs, please click here.
Photo Caption 1:Michael Kolachny, Jr., of Avon Grove School District, is a 2011 Technical College High School graduate. Kolachny was enrolled in the Health Career Academy and earned 26 college credits – while in high school.
Photo Caption 2:Lilliana Guzman, Avon Grove High School senior, has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work in the Automotive Service Technology program at TCHS, including first place in the 2010 “Show Us Your Wheels” contest sponsored by the National Car Care Council Women’s Board. Guzman plans on continuing her education at the University of Northwestern Ohio with the hopes of becoming a great mechanic.
Photo Caption 3:Bobby Abel, a senior at Unionville High, has been a student at TCHS for the past four years. Abel is enrolled in the Wildlife and Natural Resources Management program and has used his time at TCHS to take part in exciting opportunities such as participating and placing in the Longwood Gardens Fairchild Challenge, and holding a volunteer position with Longwood Gardens arborists.