InTech, East Valley School District’s new career and technical education program, is opening up to students outside the school district.
“We need people to know about it,” said Darsi Bankey, a teacher in the teen parent program and health and fitness.
Since the program was introduced in January, 50 East Valley students have signed up. InTech will be a project-based, career and technical program for next year’s freshmen held in the Walker Center on Sullivan Road. It was put together by a group of teachers hoping to offer students something different.
Almost as soon as the program was introduced, InTech was met with criticism. Some parents felt it would take resources from the high school and that next year’s ninth-graders, the students who have been the recipients of the district’s K-8 program, have already been through enough.
The teachers involved hope to change minds about InTech.
Bankey said there is different funding for CTE programs, and students from outside of the district will bring revenue to East Valley, so InTech wouldn’t be taking resources from the high school. The Walker Center needs to be brought up to code whether the district has a program in it or not. The district received the building for free from the Department of Defense, the agreement stipulates the building can only be used for CTE and the district can’t sell it.
Bankey said the location of the Walker Center puts them in close contact with businesses for mentorships and real-world job training.
Most importantly to Bankey, giving students choices in their learning will keep students in East Valley who might have otherwise transferred to another district. If they can keep students at East Valley and bring more students in, she said she feels it would benefit the high school as a whole.
“We’re a great mainstream school, but we don’t have any choices,” Bankey said. “Even with negative publicity we’ve still got 50 kids.”
“Kids want to do something different,” said math teacher Kurt Krauth. He said teachers are no longer the keepers of knowledge, students are finding the knowledge on their own. The teacher’s job is now showing students how to use that knowledge.
They said the program works by finding something the student is interested in and wrapping the standards around that subject. Bankey said one of her students in the teen parent program was interested in tattoos. He researched the meanings of many traditional tattoos and created a project that satisfied his social studies, science and engineering and English standards. Bankey said this is an example of how finding an interest the student already has can keep them engaged in school.
Families interested in enrolling a student at InTech should call John Savage at (509) 924-1830.