For the first time in Butler Tech’s history, high school sophomores will soon be eligible to take some classes from the career school, the Journal-News has exclusively learned.
The eligibility expansion beyond Butler Tech’s traditional grade restrictions of high school juniors and seniors is the latest example of the career school’s expanding efforts with local school districts to extend career awareness and learning to younger students.
“Butler Tech is on a mission of transforming lives by making students career-ready and college-prepared. It’s not always clear to students how their academic courses in high school can impact learning and earning potential in the future,” said Michael Beauchat, spokesman for Butler Tech.
The program, named the Butler Tech 10th Grade Academy, will start students who are freshmen and will be sophomores in the fall.
“One of the key times to reach those students is at the end of their freshman year of high school as they prepare for sophomore year,” said Beauchat.
Students in their middle school years may be asking “why do I need to learn geometry or biology,” he said. “Without clear answers, some students may have a harder time choosing a pathway to college or career.”
Butler Tech, which opened in 1975, will offer its 10 partner school systems in Butler County and northern Hamilton County “a new option to recapture students’ imaginations – and give them a renewed sense of passion and purpose.”
Rather than just learning science or math, said Beauchat, students will have hands-on experiences through enrolling into a number of career classes at the school “that cement those learnings in a more practical manner.”
In some ways, the program would be similar to Butler Tech’s current junior/senior schedule. They would spend half their day working on academics (geometry, biology, etc). The other half of the day would be the ‘lab’ – with a more intensive focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.
“So if students are learning about energy and power, the teacher could tailor a practical experience using our automotive programs to show how an engine powers a car,” said Beauchat.
“If the lesson is on physical structures, students could see in the construction lab how builders have to account for various types of force. A lesson on control systems might incorporate precision machining to highlight computers and coding in the manufacturing process and a lesson on heat transfer could potentially draw on practical lessons in cosmetology or culinary arts,” he said.
Butler Tech recently opened its first career lab, offering eighth-graders exposure to 20 different careers via inter-active computer and other learning stations at its main D. Russel Lee campus in Fairfield Township.
Initially the program will be offered to 100 area sophomores and students or families interested in the program may apply online at ButlerTech.org.