District engineering tech program

JOHNSTOWN – The Greater Johnstown School District is developing a brochure to help promote its new technology program, dubbed the “Learning Project,” which starts in September at the former Jansen Avenue Elementary School building.

District Superintendent Robert DeLilli said his school system is preparing for the non-mandated program, which is aimed at Johnstown High School seniors.

The Board of Education has been getting briefings on the new pilot program.

DeLilli said he also has discussed the project with Fulton-Montgomery Community College President Dustin Swanger and Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services Superintendent Patrick Michel.

He said district funding will be used for technology-related instruction at the Jansen building. DeLilli said the curriculum will involve “problem-based” learning for students that is “off the radar.”

“The board is behind this,” DeLilli said. “It’s beyond the traditional.”

District officials say the staff is excited about the new technology instruction, which will involve busing JHS students for a half-day to the Jansen building. Instructional sessions would replace traditional 40-minute periods.

“We’re kind of sketching it out,” DeLilli said. “It would just be for seniors.”

DeLilli said a couple of “outstanding” teachers probably will run the project initially – social studies teacher Anne Bagot and physics teacher Heather Buskirk, an alumna of the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation.

Officials said the effort will be a STEM – science, technology, engineering and math -model school for project-based learning, where the focus is on interdisciplinary, group-directed, creative problem solving.

DeLilli said the district is creating a brochure to be used to advertise the project.

He said the program might be for students who have an affinity for science, and will give them more hands-on work away from the typical classroom setting.

DeLilli said the hope is to start the program this fall.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at