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January 17, 2014 @ 12:00 am EST
Today’s program took us to the Edward Miliken Training Center in Oakdale. The facility houses the technical training program that Eastern Suffolk BOCES uses to impart numerous practical skills ranging from solar electric installations, nursing, diesel mechanics, and auto repair to audio-visual training, and various other important skills needed in industry. The unit is now called "The Academy of Applied Technology."
It would be a mistake to think that the academy is just producing skilled craftspeople. They are in fact giving the students an education that demands that the science of their work is understood. Students are no longer faced with the stark choice of going to college or working as a laborer. The objective is to give the students salable skills and a background that encourages pursuit of higher education, if they choose that course later.
The academy is staffed with teachers that are from industry and know the skills that they are teaching by actually having to have had made a living doing it. They are practitioners first before ever teaching. That real world knowledge is essential to making a program like this work.
While at the meeting this morning I mentioned that when I come into the building the students and staff are open and friendly. They greet you in the hall and smile. I asked if that friendliness is promoted by the school. The answer they gave is no, and Julie Lutz, the administrator there, noted that learning disabled students that are referred from other schools in the system have a high rate of success. The reason for the success with those students and the good attitude in general could be that achieving something worth doing has a calming effect. There were a few people in the room that have benefited by the programs and they supported the notion that education received there was worthwhile.
Presenting was District Superintendent Dean Lucera and Leah Arnold Director of Technical Education, Picture shown, and Superintendent of Educational Service Julie Davis Lutz.