Davis ATC prepares to open charter school for career seekers
By Nancy Van Valkenburg
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KAYSVILLE — Davis Applied Technology College this fall will open a charter school for high school students seeking not only a diploma, but technical training likely to lead directly to a job with a good paycheck.
Career Path High opens Sept. 3 on the DATC campus. Learning will take place in the school’s two DATC classrooms, at students homes as they work on computers, and at home on computers that are linked to the classroom or to groups of other students studying similar topics.
“Learning is the constant, time is the variable,” said Jay Greaves, DATC vice president of instruction and new director of Career Path High. “It’s a competency-based system in which learning continually is measured. Students who want a shorter pathway can do it by putting in more time. It’s all about getting students competent about what they are doing.”
Freshman and sophomores will focus on school work only. Juniors and seniors at Career Path High will add technical classes from DATC and will work toward achieving a basic certificate by graduation.
DATC schools of study include business and information technology, construction, health professions, manufacturing, service professions and transportation. For a full list of programs, visit www.datc.edu. Some fees may be required for DATC classes. DATC’s job placement rate is 88 percent, Greaves said.
The coming school year will be the first for Career Path High, but Greaves said he has watched high school students complete training courses prior to graduation using the existing concurrent enrollment program that allow students in area school districts to take courses at DATC.
Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College also offers concurrent enrollment programs to area school district students.
“We had one student, not too far back, who came up from one of the local high schools,” Greaves said. “He had a hard time with the math classes at his school, but he got into our machining program as a junior and started to apply math in the machining program, and he started understanding it.”
The student graduated and took a job for $16 an hour at a local machine shop, Greaves said. His employer paid his tuition for a degree in engineering, and the former student “is working with the Mars Rover, now making $80,000 a year,” Greaves said.
Other students have taken cosmetology and business training and run their own salons at home, he said. Weber State University offers an associate degree that incorporates Weber and Davis ATC classes with general education courses on the Weber State University campus. Some individual departments at Weber State also accept credit earned at DATC and OWATC, Greaves said.
“Career Path High is not a shortcut, it’s a smart cut,” he said. “It’s a smarter way to plan your educational track.”
The school has 175 slots open, and about 130 students have been accepted or are in the application process, Greaves said. Next year, the number of students at the charter school can increase to 300.
Some students want to finish high school faster and continue to college, Greaves said. Others want to get good jobs and have the option of returning to college at a later date and with tuition money saved. Others know the exact type of work they want to do and want the training young, so they can hit the ground running.
Greaves said the program’s flexibility is a big part of its appeal. Students can get their high school questions answered either in person or live over their computers. They can meet with classmates in the classroom or online. The one thing students can’t do is become slackers.
“Students, faculty and parents will have access to the progress of students,” he said. “They will be passing off learning competencies. It’s how we have operated the DATC for 35 years. It’s a self-paced program, just like our diesel shop, where we have 30 students in 30 different places (in program progress), all working with faculty.
“Career Path High teachers will know immediately if anyone gets behind, and so will students and parents.”
The new charter school can be reached through the DATC website or, more directly, through www.careerpathhigh.org. To reach a representative, call 801-593-2116.
A Career Path High open house is planned for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 23 at the school, 550 E. 300 South, Kaysville.
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