BURRILLVILLE – The Rhode Island Department of Education has approved two new Career and Technical Education programs for Burrillville High School, bringing the total now offered in the district to seven.
The approval means that teacher education and graphic design coursework, which has been taught at the school for years, will now come with expanded opportunities for students.
The RIDE seal of approval also has potential to bring in additional funding for Burrillville schools, allowing the district to collect tuition for students from other towns who sign up for the programs.
The new CTEs join five RIDE-certified programs already offered at the school: environmental science, engineering, construction management, criminal justice and and biomedical science.
“Just two years ago we had one so – a lot of great work at the high school over the last couple of years,” said Supt. Michael Sollitto.
“I think that’s wonderful,” said School Committee member Terri Lacey of the news.
While CTE programs are similar to what was once called “vocational training,” in Rhode Island, there’s incentive to develop more. Students can choose to attend a program offered elsewhere, making their home district liable for tuitions of up to $18,000.
The RIDE system, which is aimed at providing kids with more opportunities, has resulted in something of a race between neighboring districts to attract students.
Sollitto thanked to graphic arts teacher Lisa Sciacca and education teacher Amanda Martins for their work on the applications.
“The Board of Trustees for Career and Technical Education – they met last Friday had some questions for us, but our applications were really well done,” said Sollitto. “This means that a review of the programs determined that each program met the rigorous standards.”
Curriculum in teacher education and graphic design was previously offered as a learning “pathway,” but the official stamp of approval means the BHS coursework has met RIDE certification requirements by providing opportunities for students in both higher education and real world experience.
Students in CTE programs focus, in part, on work-based learning through internships and projects.
Sollitto said that since the classes are already running, the change takes effect immediately.