By DIANE M. BITTING
This coming school year, 18 juniors and seniors at Elizabethtown Area High School will be able to participate in a new pre-apprenticeship partnership with the Keystone Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc., learning such skills as carpentry, plumbing and heavy equipment operation. Likewise, three seniors will have the opportunity to do a pre-apprenticeship with Fullerton Electric, learning electrical skills.
Also this year, students may take college courses at the high school through partnerships with the University of Pittsburgh, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, and Murray State University in Kentucky. These are part of the duel credit program already in place with several local institutions but differ in that these courses will be taught at the high school by high school faculty.
The Elizabethtown school board heard about these programs and more at board’s workshop meeting on Tuesday, May 14, during a presentation on life-ready learning opportunities given by Superintendent Michele Balliet; Dan Serfass, assistant to the superintendent for learning; and Maura Hobson, high school principal.
“Our goal is to share with students that there are multiple ways of obtaining a high-wage job that doesn’t get you into debt,” Balliet said while talking about hard-to-fill jobs with a range of credential/certification requirements, from a 6-week commercial driver’s license training to degrees in nursing and engineering
Serfass shared that the pre-apprenticeships with ABC Keystone would allow students to earn six months’ worth of credit toward two-, three- and four-year paid apprenticeships, and students with Fullerton Electric can earn a year of electrician apprenticeship credit.
For the college in the high school program, the courses are Advanced Placement psychology and AP statistics (Pitt); game design multimedia design and AP literature (Harrisburg); and greenhouse management and landscape design (Murray State). The courses will be offered at reduced rates, such as $59 a credit for the Murray State courses.
Also new this year, Elizabethtown seniors can take part in early enrollment at the Lancaster School of Cosmetology, going full time starting in the spring semester.
“What we’re really doing is allowing those kids not to get bored at school,” said board member M. Caroline Lalvani, commenting on the district’s efforts to expand learning opportunities. “It’s allowing the students to be engaged in their own education.”
The board also voted to advertise the proposed final budget of $65,676,141 for 2019-20. It includes a 2.9% tax increase, raising the millage to 17.0878. Board member Michael Martin cast the only no vote, clarifying that he wasn’t voting against advertising the budget.
“For the second year in a row, (I) have asked for more information on the proposals to see what a lower tax increase would look like and haven’t been able to get that information,” he said.
The final budget will be approved at the June 25 meeting.