Johnstown gears up for P-Tech program

JOHNSTOWN – The Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education last week received an update on the regional P-Tech, or Pathways in Technology grant program, currently being planned for the coming school year.

Superintendent Robert DeLilli and Director of Curriculum, Testing and Personnel Patricia Kilburn gave the update on Johnstown’s involvement in the program during the board’s meeting at Pleasant Avenue Elementary School.

“I’m very glad that Johnstown is so involved in the plan,” said board Vice President Jennifer Sponnoble.

DeLilli said the district is “excited” about the program, which may involve about 10-12 Johnstown students. He said it will give students “options” on their curriculum for the future.

In August, it was announced a $2.4 million state grant was awarded to the Hamilton Fulton Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services, its component school districts, Fulton-Montgomery Community College and 16 regional businesses. Students will be drawn from component districts in the BOCES region. The program will help local students prepare for high-skill jobs, including health care, advanced manufacturing, engineering and technology and business management. It will allow them to earn an associate degree tuition-free from FMCC.

“FMCC has been incredibly supportive,” Kilburn said.

It will be possible for a student to obtain both the college degree and high school diploma in the same four or five years.

“The planning is still going on,” DeLilli said.

He said the P-Tech program may involve as many as 50 students from the region. He said the students in grades nine and 10 in the program will be at Jansen Avenue School for a full day.

Kilburn said students will enter the program in grade eight. She said the 16 businesses that have committed to the program may also provide potential jobs to the students once they earn their associate degrees.

Kilburn said regional representatives, including herself, are due to visit a P-Tech program in Brooklyn this week. She said the Brooklyn P-Tech program is being used as a model, but this region’s program may end up being different.

She said educator Michael Mardaris of Marcellus, Onondaga County, will serve as regional principal of the program.

Kilburn said six Johnstown teachers will be helping with the program, and the planning for it will now become “very intense.”