What is the Center for Advanced Technology @ Mohonasen?
The Center for Advanced Technology is a brand new, state-of-the-art facility with lab spaces that simulate “real world” work environments. They’re a lot like the learning spaces you’ll find at a college or in a workplace, allowing students to apply and practice their learning in a non-traditional educational environment.
What courses are offered at the Center?
The Center will offer courses in: Electrical Technology, Gaming, Health Professions, Machining and Manufacturing, Materials Technology, Media Arts, Nanotechnology and Welding.
Why would students want to take courses at the Center?
At the Center, students learn by doing – and meet high school graduation requirements at the same time. Rather than passive lectures, Center classes feature interactive, inquiry-based learning. Our students will create their own futures, gaining important technical skills and knowledge as they start down a path to a college degree or industry certification.
Who can take courses in the Center for Advanced Technology?
Courses at the Center are open to high school students throughout the Capital Region. This includes Mohonasen students taking technology (electricity, machining/manufacturing, building technology, nanotechnology), media arts classes, some science and advanced medical studies elective courses. In addition, students enrolled in the Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs being held in the building: welding, manufacturing, computer gaming, alternative energy, sterile processing technology and theatre and film production.
Are Mohonasen students allowed to participate in Capital Region BOCES CTE programs at the Center?
Yes, Mohonasen students have always had the opportunity to participate in these programs. The only difference is that the programs are now located in the Center for Advanced Technology building on the Mohonasen campus, rather than at one of the other locations where Capital Region BOCES operates CTE programs.
Can Mohonasen students take all of their required courses for high school graduation at the Center?
Initially, the Center for Advanced Technology will not offer all of the courses required for graduation in the new facility. However, there is ongoing discussion about making the Mohonasen campus a regional high school that hosts CTE programs.
Will Mohonasen students who have classes at the Center have to travel between the high school and the Center?
Yes, but every attempt will be made to keep travel between buildings limited to once per day whenever possible. For instance, a student might spend the morning at the high school and travel to the Center for Advanced Technology for the afternoon. Students will exit the high school through designated rear exits and travel on sidewalks to the Center for Advanced Technology.
What if there is inclement weather?
The safety of students is always the district’s first priority. Weather falls into this category, and we address each situation as necessary to ensure student safety. For years, Mohonasen students have travelled from the middle school to the high school to participate in swimming or from the high school to the track during physical education class, even taking mini field trips around the campus in general.
How far is it between the high school and the Center for Advanced Technology?
It is about the same distance as walking from the high school auditorium to the gym lobby.
Why were these programs/courses chosen to be offered in the Center?
Programs were selected after researching the economic needs of our region and the growing middle skills gap. The programs are designed to meet the needs of the local work force and to prepare students to graduate with skills and credentials that will allow them to compete for high demand jobs upon graduation. They will be able to choose whether they want to enter the workforce immediately or to pursue college.
What is the middle skills gap?
The middle skills gap is the mismatch between the needs of employers in fields of high demand and the actual skills possessed by the available workforce. Middle skills jobs typically require less than a four year college degree. These jobs can be an entry point for additional training and income potential, and can be a step toward pursuing a higher education degree if desired while the employee is earning money versus incurring educational debt.
What credentials can students earn through programs at the Center?
Depending on the field of study, students may have the option to work toward earning a professional certificate that is recognized by employers in their field. Some classes also offer college credit, reducing the number of courses they’ll have to take and the cost to attend college.
Schenectady County Community College (SCCC) is listed as a partner with Mohonasen and Capital Region BOCES in this new building. What does that mean?
Mohonasen High School has partnered with SCCC for more than 15 years, offering district students the ability to take college courses and earn credit while still in high school. This means that students earn both high school and college level credit for the same course all at once. The partnership between Mohonasen and SCCC has expanded each year, allowing students to accrue numerous credits. The goal is for the Center to eventually offer students a full year of college credit prior to graduating – something we call the “1 plus 1” program.
Can adults take courses at the Center for Advanced Technology?
Yes, part of the beauty of the partnerships with SCCC and Capital Region BOCES is the ability to offer programs for adults in the region. This will include college credit bearing coursework and training; training and retooling for the workforce; and, certification in specific workforce areas. These opportunities will be offered in the evenings (after 3 p.m.).
What programs, courses and training will be offered for adults?
We are currently in the discussion phase with SCCC and Capital Region BOCES about specific programs, classes and training sessions. We anticipate that the offerings will be similar to what our high school students are offered in the building – Electrical Technology, Machining and Manufacturing, Building Technology, Nanotechnology, some science and medical certificate programs and courses. However, if there are regional needs that can be met in the labs that exist in the Center for Advanced Technology, there is really no limit to what may be offered.
Why did Mohonasen partner with Capital Region BOCES and Schenectady County Community College on this building rather than do it all on its own?
The new technology center allows Mohonasen to expand opportunities and initiatives for students in a state-of- the-art facility. Sharing space with our partners provides increased opportunities for students and taps into the strengths of existing staff. It also enables us to address a clear need for a middle skills workforce in our region. The courses and programs in the Center for Advanced Technology provide an opportunity to collaborate, melding traditional subjects into a more relevant, project-based learning experience.
How will the community benefit from the partnership with BOCES and SCCC?
The partnership benefits the community in several ways:
- Increased educational opportunities for Mohonasen students;
- A regional training facility to prepare high school and adult students to gain employment, thus stimulating the local economy;
- Revenue is generated when two other entities inhabit the building.
All of this is done in a state-of-the-art facility that would have been impossible for Mohonasen to build on its own. Together we can accomplish something that would be impossible to accomplish apart. We cannot all afford to keep working separately from a perspective of fiduciary responsibility and what we owe our students in really preparing them for a changing world.
How does a Career and Technical Education program benefit students?
A typical high school education has changed and will continue to change as technology and the workforce changes. The New York State Education Department has recognized the value of a Career and Technical Education (CTE) by creating the “4 + 1” graduation option. This allows high school students enrolled in accredited CTE programs to replace certain Regents examinations with a rigorous industry examination instead.
Are classes offered in the Center for Advanced Technology only preparing students for that middle skills gap? What is the “target” student audience?
We welcome all students who have a variety of aspirations, including those who aren’t quite sure what is in store after high school. The courses and programs offered in the Center for Advanced Technology provide students the opportunity to experience realistic, hands-on learning challenges that they will face – whether it is in the workplace or in college. Professional certificate programs, additional training and preparation for college study are all options available to students taking courses in this building. The laboratories and classrooms found in the Center for Advanced Technology are modeled after those found in both colleges and industry.
When did students begin taking classes in the new building?
The Center for Advanced Technology opened for classes in the fall of 2016. Facility tours for interested districts around the region and members of the public are available upon request.
In these tough fiscal times, how will other districts afford to send their CTE students to the Albany location and/or the Center for Advanced Technology at Mohonasen?
Districts cannot afford to keep working separately from a perspective of fiduciary responsibility and what we owe our students in really preparing them for a changing world. Therefore, local school district superintendents are working together to discuss shared transportation plans that would allow students to participate in these CTE programs at both venues without adding significant costs to the districts.