Pa. Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary vis­its lo­cal school

Pennsylvania Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Pe­dro Rivera vis­ited the Tech­ni­cal Col­lege High School Brandy­wine Cam­pus.

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - Staff Re­port

DOWN­ING­TOWN >> Pennsylvania Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion Pe­dro Rivera vis­ited Tech­ni­cal Col­lege High School (TCHS) Brandy­wine Cam­pus as part of a “Schools That Teach” tour fa­cil­i­tated by Gov. Tom Wolf’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

A panel of stu­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tives and TCHS ad­min­is­tra­tors warmly re­ceived Rivera, who be­gan his visit on Sept. 20 with an open ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion. Stu­dents asked the sec­re­tary about a va­ri­ety of top­ics, in­clud­ing the job mar­ket, grow­ing in­dus­tries and tips for col­lege suc­cess.

“Col­lege is 90 per­cent time man­age­ment and ef­fort,” Rivera said. “And you can’t fol­low money. If you pick a track you’re in­ter­ested in, op­por­tu­nity will fol­low.”

This state­ment was met with nods and smiles. These stu­dents are al­ready pur­su­ing their pas­sions in STEM, the arts and skilled trades in the ca­reer pro­grams TCHS of­fers. They are also al­ready tak­ing ad­van­tage of in­tern­ship or co-op op­por­tu­ni­ties and earn­ing col­lege cred­its through dual en­roll­ment ar­range­ments. TCHS Brandy­wine Cam­pus is a pub­lic ca­reer and tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion high school op­er­ated by the Ch­ester County In­ter­me­di­ate Unit with a stu­dent-cen­tered ap­proach that of­fers stu­dents a rel­e­vant ca­reer-fo­cused ed­u­ca­tion to de­velop their in­ter­ests and ap­ti­tudes into fu­tures. TCHS Brandy­wine Cam­pus serves stu­dents re­sid­ing in the Coatesville Area, Down­ing­town Area, and West Ch­ester Area school dis­tricts.

Fol­low­ing the Q&A, Rivera toured the school with stu­dents show­ing him their ap­plied learn­ing labs in

pro­grams such as ve­teri­nary sci­ence and au­to­mo­tive ser­vice tech­nol­ogy.

The tour ended in the TCHS Brandy­wine restau­rant, where TCHS culi­nary arts stu­dents work as the chefs and serv­ing staff. Over light brunch fare, the open di­a­logue be­tween the sec­re­tary, stu­dents and ad­min­is­tra­tors re­sumed. Rivera spoke about the Wolf ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ef­forts to re­form grad­u­a­tion re­quire­ments and school per­for­mance pro­files by tak­ing a more holis­tic ap­proach that takes mul­ti­ple mea­sure­ments into ac­count in­stead of only stan­dard­ized test­ing scores. Un­der this plan, schools would be able to con­sider vo­ca­tional cer­tifi­cates and other fac­tors at grad­u­a­tion time.

Stu­dents also asked Rivera about the fu­ture of ca­reer and tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion in Pennsylvania. One stu­dent won­dered if it would ever be­come more than a priv­i­lege and be­come more of a re­quire­ment. Rivera said that, “yes,” the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion is try­ing to be “more de­lib­er­ate” about pro­vid­ing ca­reer path ex­po­sure to stu­dents, even at an early age.

Con­ver­sa­tion took a more per­sonal turn when stu­dents asked the sec­re­tary about his own life ex­pe­ri­ences and ca­reer dis­cov­ery. Rivera de­scribed his youth in North Philadel­phia and how he worked full-time at a restau­rant while still in high school. The first in his fam­ily to grad­u­ate col­lege, his hard work en­abled him to study ed­u­ca­tion at Penn State Univer­sity.

“The stu­dents were in awe to have such an in­ti­mate dis­cus­sion with Sec­re­tary Rivera,” said TCHS Ad­min­is­tra­tor Michael Katch. “He shared both pro­fes­sional and per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences that in­spired and com­ple­mented their ca­reer path­ways.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Tech­ni­cal Col­lege High School (TCHS) Brandy­wine stu­dents wel­comed Pennsylvania Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion Pe­dro Rivera to their school, a stop on the “Schools That Teach” tour. Rivera spoke about the job mar­ket, grow­ing in­dus­tries and tips for col­lege suc­cess dur­ing a ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion.

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