West Grove, PA – How does it feel to be the best? Studentsin the Early Childhood Care and Education program at Chester County TechnicalCollege High School (TCHS) can tell you. Their program was presented the 2010Exemplary Program Award by the Pennsylvania Association for Career andTechnical Education (ACTE).
The ACTE annually presents the award to honor the bestcareer and technical program in the commonwealth.
The Early Childhood Care and Education program, just likethe school in which it resides, has just started its third year. However, bothare already receiving distinction for the opportunities they offers students,including the ability to earn college credits while still in high schoolthrough dual-enrollment.
The program’s instructor, Kelly Homick, believes threefactors earned the Early Childhood Care and Education class this recognition: thestudents access to preschool learning environments located in their highschool; student portfolios that document student learning experiences; and thestudent’s ability to earn industry certification and college credits while inhigh school.
“Since there’s a wing at TCHS specifically devoted to earlychildhood learning, students in the program are able to experience manydifferent types of classrooms without leaving the building,” said Homick. “Wehave special education preschool classes, and Head Start and Even Startpreschool classes right here at TCHS. This allows students to spend timelearning theory in the high school class, and then apply it in the preschoolclassrooms.”
Students then document this learning in portfolios andprofessional development records that track their experiences, including thelesson plans they have developed and implemented.
“We’re responsible for creating and implementing lessonplans based on the needs of a specific type of classroom - like specialeducation - which is great experience,” said Kirsten Wise, a student in theprogram from Octorara High School. “One of the most important lessons, though,is that we realize there are times when we will need to utilize a back-up planfor the lesson. We really learn to think on our feet.”
The portfolios also allow students to track theirprofessional development and any industry certification they have earned suchas the Pediatric First Aid and Pennsylvania Skills certifications. In addition, students graduate preparedto take the Child Development Associate (CDA) exam, the childcare industry’snational certification test.
Between documented experience and certification, studentsgraduating from the TCHS early childhood program have an edge over thecompetition in the labor market and in the college classroom.
“Being a student in the Early Childhood Care and Educationprogram put me ahead in my goal to work at a daycare,” said Shalane Houston, a2009 graduate of the program from Oxford High School. “I had experience workingin childcare right out of high school unlike many of my peers.”
Houston works at a daycare while taking classes to earn anassociate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Delaware County CommunityCollege (DCCC). She plans on obtaining a bachelor’s degree from West ChesterUniversity upon graduation from DCCC.
Many students at TCHS do not have to wait until high schoolgraduation to begin earning their associate degree. The Technical College HighSchool is Pennsylvania’s first hybrid career and technical high school andcommunity college.
The school is a joint venture between the Chester CountyIntermediate Unit and Delaware County Community College. It offers career andtechnical programs free of charge to students in grades 9-12 residing in AvonGrove, Kennett-Consolidated, Octorara Area, Oxford Area and Unionville-ChaddsFord School Districts. Inaddition, Delaware County Community College, which shares the campus with TCHS,offers associate degree programs to college students, and dual-enrollmentclasses for high school students that blend career and technical programs withassociate degree college courses. Students in dual-enrollment programs cangraduate from TCHS with up to 16 college credits.
Homick was presented the award on June 30, 2010 at the PennsylvaniaCareer and Technical Education Conference. In addition to the Juneacknowledgment, Homick and the program will be recognized at the Career andTechnical Education Month Celebration in Harrisburg, February 8-9, 2011.
The Chester County Technical College High School isaccepting applications for the 2011-12 school year. For more information,please visit http://www.technicalcollegehighschool.org.
Pictured Above: How does it feel to be the best?Students in the Early Childhood Care and Education program at Chester CountyTechnical College High School (TCHS) can tell you. Their program was presentedthe 2010 Exemplary Program Award by the Pennsylvania Association for Career andTechnical Education (ACTE). Pictured (from left to right) is:Brittany Higgins, 2010 program graduate from Oxford High School; ShalaneHouston, 2009 program graduate from Oxford High School; and Kirsten Wise, 12thgrade program student from Octorara High School, with three Head Start students. Students in the Early Childhood Care and Education program are able togain experience in various preschool learning environments while enrolled inthe program, including Head Start.