Wanted: The Next Class Of P-TECH Students

William DeJesus grinds metal in OCC’s machine shop classroom in the Whitney Applied Technology Center. DeJesus started taking classes at OCC two years ago while he was a high school junior as part of the P-TECH Program. Next May he will earn his Mechanical Technology degree.

The Syracuse City School District (SCSD) is looking for the next group of students who will enter the P-TECH program. P-TECH stands for Pathways in Technology Early College High School. The program helps high school students earn valuable credits toward an associate degree while partnering with industry leaders.

In January the SCSD will host P-TECH Info Sessions for middle school students and Career & Technical Expos for 8th grade students at various locations across the district. More information on dates, times and locations can be found on the SCSD website.

Nearly 100 high school students are taking classes at OCC as part of P-TECH in one of the following majors: Clinical Laboratory Technology, Computer Information Systems, Drone Technology, Electrical Technology, Health Information Technology and Mechanical Technology. All costs associated with the P-TECH program including tuition, books and fees are covered by a grant from the New York State Education Department.

Four P-TECH students here are on an accelerated schedule. While attending the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central (ITC) they amassed so many college credits they will earn their associate degree from OCC in just one year. One of them is William DeJesus, a Mechanical Technology major who started receiving job offers before coming to OCC in August. “In my family I’m the first person to go to college. The P-TECH program has opened up so many opportunities for me. It was important for me to get my degree now.”

Imari Gary (left), Quintin Shanes (center) and Mike Lloyd (right) are majoring in Electrical Technology through the P-TECH program.

Three P-TECH students majoring in Electrical Technology are on the same schedule as DeJesus. They received their diplomas from ITC in June 2018 and will earn their associate degrees from OCC in May 2019. They are Imari Gary, Mike Lloyd and Quintin Shanes. The thought of taking college classes before you are college-aged may seem intimidating. Gary said the professors at OCC made the transition seamless. “When we started coming to campus they were all extremely helpful. They knew we were high school students and steered us in the right direction.” A year from now Gary plans to be at the Rochester Institute of Technology pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Technology.

Besides being a full time student Lloyd also works at Carrier as a lab technician. He’s hoping his position there will become full time after he earns his degree from OCC. “I’m definitely glad I did this program. My parents picked it for me. I wasn’t on board with it at first but now I really like it.”

By contrast, Shanes seemed destined for Electrical Technology. His father is an engineer and his brother has an Electrical Engineering degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Shanes plans to transfer to Syracuse University next fall and pursue his bachelor’s degree. How can a middle school student know if P-TECH and Electrical Technology is for him or her? Shanes has the answer. “If you’re curious and want to know how things work like your phone or something in your house, engineering is the way to answer those questions. In P-TECH you can surround yourself with people who have an ‘I want to be better mindset’ and never settle.”

Summer Learning

OCC Biology Professor MaryAnn Page shows wide-eyed students what the inside of a frog looks like during the YMCA’s Power Scholars Academy.

Students enrolled in the YMCA’s Power Scholars Academy spent a day learning about biology in OCC’s Ferrante Hall. The students rotated through five classrooms where they engaged in hands-on learning activities with OCC professors. Lesson topics included:

  • Human skeleton with professor Emily Gardner.
  • DNA with Professor Leslie Lane.
  • Benefits of house plants with Professor Peter Kraai.
  • Aquatic insects with Professor Justin Fiene.
  • Survey of animal diversity and how to use microscopes with Professor MaryAnn Page.

YMCA Power Scholar Academy students in grades 3, 4 and 5 came to the campus from the East Syracuse Minoa and Syracuse City School Districts. A photo slideshow can be viewed below.

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Learning About Health

A 5th grade student from McKinley-Brighton Elementary listens to the heartbeat of a simulated patient in the SIM lab of OCC’s Nursing major.

Fifth grade students from McKinley-Brighton Elementary School visited the OCC campus as part of Health Career Day. The event was held on the first floor of Ferrante Hall where the Nursing major is headquartered.

Students rotated between areas where they learned about personal health and wellness, physical therapy, how to prepare for a medical procedure and how the simulated patients help teach students in the SIM lab. There was also a session on bullying and cyber bullying.

Health Career Day is the product of a partnership between OCC and the Syracuse City School District aimed at helping students think about career opportunities and higher education at a younger age. Photos from the event can be viewed below.

Playing the Buckets

Five-gallon buckets from Lowe’s never sounded so good!

Professor Rob Bridge

OCC Music Department Chair and Percussion Professor Rob Bridge taught 8th grade students how to “play the bucket” during a visit to J.T. Roberts PreK-8 School.

The class began with Bridge and Meredith Cantor Feller, OCC’s Interim Dean of Visual, Performing & Applied Arts passing out donated buckets and drumsticks to students. Bridge demonstrated to students the range of sounds a bucket could make depending on where it was struck. The remaining class time was spent working on a variety of musical numbers. The student’s instructor throughout the year, Paul Goodness, participated in the session with the class.

You can view video of the class playing the buckets here!

The visit was the product of a partnership between Roberts and OCC aimed at helping students start thinking about career opportunities and higher education at a younger age. The College has similar partnerships with McKinley-Brighton Elementary and Meachem Elementary schools, all of which are in the Syracuse City School District.

OCC was would like to give a special “thank you” to Lowe’s for donating the buckets and Vic Firth for donating the Zildjian drumsticks.

 

Excited About Reading

Students at McKinley-Brighton look through new books during OCC’s Book Fair.

OCC presented its first of two books fairs at McKinley-Brighton Elementary School on November 6. Students were given the opportunity to select a brand new book to take home as part of the “Bobcats Read” community reading project. Another book fair will be held in the spring. Between the two fairs McKinley-Brighton Elementary students will receive approximately 1,300 new books! Both book fairs are made possible thanks to the generosity of the Delta Kappa Gamma Educational Foundation, the OCC Foundation and the OCC’s Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

This is the second year of a partnership between OCC and students at McKinley-Brighton which brings College Administrators, Faculty and Students to the school regularly to share academic and life lessons. The goal of the program is to help students start thinking about career opportunities and higher education at a younger age. During this academic year OCC added Meachem Elementary and J.T. Roberts PreK-8 School to the partnership.

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Planting the Seeds of Learning

OCC student Alex Truong (on left wearing blue jean jacket) helped students plant a blackberry bush at McKinley-Brighton Elementary.

The partnership between Onondaga Community College and three schools in the Syracuse City School District will bear fruit one day. Students at Meachem, Roberts and McKinley-Brighton Elementary Schools planted thornless blackberry bushes at their school with the help of college  faculty and students.

OCC’s Meredith Cantor-Feller, Dean of Visual, Performing & Applied Arts, led the effort at each school. She spoke with students as the hole for each bush was being dug, the bush was planted and watered. Students at each school will be responsible for watering and maintaining the bush throughout the year.

This is the second year of the partnership between OCC and the Syracuse City School District. The goal is to help students start thinking about career opportunities and higher education at a younger age. During the first year of the pilot program lessons included arts and creative activities, STEM demonstrations and leadership activities. Students also took a field trip to OCC and enjoyed a day on campus.

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Embracing Our New Partners

Students at Meachem Elementary School hug OCC mascot “Blaze” during a kickoff event celebrating a new educational partnership between Meachem and OCC.

 

Onondaga Community College and the Syracuse City School District celebrated two new partnerships with energetic and heartwarming ceremonies September 14 at Meachem Elementary School and J.T. Roberts PreK-8 School. Both are joining a program which will bring OCC Administrators, Faculty and Students to the school regularly to share academic and life lessons. The goal of the program is to help students start thinking about career opportunities and higher education at a younger age. “All of the research will tell you the earlier you talk to a child about his or her future the more likely the student is to engage in planning and thinking and preparing,” said OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill.

OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill speaks at Roberts.

OCC started the pilot program last year at McKinley-Brighton Elementary. Throughout the year college representatives visited the school and assisted students in a variety of ways by working on arts and creative activities, conducting STEM demonstrations and engaging students in leadership activities. There was also a field trip to the OCC campus for students to enjoy and learn from.

“Our middle name is ‘community,’” said Dr. Crabill. “We think one of the most important problems to solve in Syracuse is a perceived lack of opportunity. Education is a piece of that and it doesn’t have to stop just because you graduate from high school.”

“This is a great partnership,” said Syracuse City School District Superintendent Jaime Alicea. “One of our goals is to graduate our students to be college and career ready. Getting the kids exposed to college at an early age will provide them the opportunity to be engaged in the process, to get to know people from college and give our staff the opportunity to work with OCC.”

The new partnership ceremonies ended with wonderful gestures from both schools to OCC. At Meachem, Principal Katie Moulton led the student body in a cheer called “The Roller Coaster.” At Roberts, Vice Principal Deanna Daniel was accompanied by 6th graders as she sang, “I Believe I Can Fly.”

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Vernon Macklin

Vernon Macklin
Vernon Macklin
  • High School: Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central, Class of 2015
  • Major @ OCC: Electronic Media Communications

Vernon Macklin started fitting in on the OCC campus while he was in high school. He took classes here while attending the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central, easing his transition once he became a full-time student. “I already knew people on campus and where all of the buildings were. It definitely gave me a head start.”

Macklin’s high school coursework in Media Communication made OCC’s Electronic Media Communications (EMC) major a natural fit for him. “The whole EMC Department here is really good. You feel like you know everyone. You have many of the professors more than once and really get to know them while you are here.”

Outside class Macklin has been involved in clubs and organizations where one opportunity has led to another. As a freshman he served as Vice President of the Film Club and Secretary of the Drama Club. His position with the Drama Club required him to attend Student General Assembly meetings. His participation there led to him being named Vice President of Entertainment and Programming for the Student Association during his sophomore year. “Once I started getting involved in things I felt like, ‘I can do more on campus.’”

Macklin will earn his degree this May. He plans to transfer to either SUNY Oswego or SUNY Purchase. His career goal is to become a writer for television and film. All of his experiences on campus helped him plan his future. “Being here at OCC helped me focus on what I want to do in life. All the extracurricular activities gave me purpose. There are so many things you can be involved with and take part in.”

Publishing Their Dreams

Students at McKinley-Brighton Elementary proudly show the journals they created.
Students at McKinley-Brighton Elementary proudly show the journals they created.

Students at McKinley-Brighton Elementary School are about to become published! Meredith Cantor-Feller, OCC’s Interim Dean of Visual, Performing & Applied Arts is leading the project with 5th graders there as part of an ongoing partnership aimed at helping students think about career opportunities and higher education.

MB-OCC Partner LogoThe project began with students creating journals. They folded construction paper in half, drew artwork on the front and back cover and had the construction paper laminated. A small notebook was attached to the finished product. On the first page of the notebook students wrote their name, career goal and how they planned to achieve their goal. Cantor-Feller will photograph those pages and turn them into a book which will include the goals and dreams of each student in McKinley-Brighton’s three 5th grade classes. A slideshow of students working on the project can be seen at the bottom of this story.

This is the latest chapter in the partnership between OCC and McKinley-Brighton. Administrators have also worked with students on qualities which make outstanding leaders and creating superheroes which can be seen on campus in the renovated Coulter Library.

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P-TECH Program Brings Henninger Freshmen to OCC Campus

Henninger High School 9th grade students (left to right) Michaela Cooper, Brenden Gallipeau and Kaila Dorsey examine a computer motherboard during Health Information Technology class on the OCC campus.
Henninger High School 9th grade students (left to right) Michaela Cooper, Brenden Gallipeau and Kaila Dorsey examine a computer motherboard during Health Information Technology class on the OCC campus.

Henninger High School students know a great opportunity when they see one. More than two dozen 9th graders came to the OCC campus in January as they began work toward earning college credits in Health Information Technology and Clinical Lab Technician programs. “I want to go to college and pursue a medical profession and this gets me started,” said Lara Shqair, a Henninger High School freshman.

Shqair and her classmates are taking advantage of the Pathways in Technology Early College High School program, or P-TECH. It allows students to complete work on their high school diploma while earning credits toward their associate degree. P-TECH is funded by a grant from the New York State Education Department. The grant covers tuition, books and fees. The program is free of charge to the students.

The Health Information Technology and Clinical Lab Technician programs are the product of a partnership between the Syracuse City School District, OCC, SUNY Broome, SUNY Upstate Medical University, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center and Laboratory Alliance of Central NY. Students will come to the OCC campus for their Health Information Technology classes. They’ll take their Clinical Lab Technician courses online through SUNY Broome.

“We’ll make sure students have the essential skills to be successful,” said Karen Fabrizio, Chair and Coordinator of OCC’s Health Information Technology program. “When these students graduate from high school they will be more than halfway toward earning their associate degree.”

Henninger students spent two days on the OCC campus as part of the effort to help build the student engagement component of the program and receive computer training. They met the two OCC Professors they’ll be learning from, Marlesha Minet and Meredith Wolanske. Students were also introduced to “Blackboard,” OCC’s Learning Management System. Professors use Blackboard to communicate with students by posting class content. Students use Blackboard to submit assignments.

These Henninger 9th graders are the first group of students in the Health Information Technology and Clinical Lab Technician P-TECH program. OCC is participating in two other P-TECH programs, both of which present students with opportunities in Electrical Engineering Technology or Mechanical Technology. It includes students from the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central along with students in all nine Oswego County school districts.

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