Teaching Students Skills for Real-Life Work

Did you know Staten Island has a DOE Cooperative Technical Education program for high school seniors and post graduates up to age 21?

I recently had the opportunity to visit to learn more about the District 79 program, which is located in the New York State Institute for Basic Research (IBR) building at 1050 Forest Hill Road. The program offers classes in Medical Billing & Coding, Building Maintenance and Carpentry. Each program has a morning session from 8:30am to 11am and an afternoon session from 12pm to 2:30pm. Students attend either session that is compatible with their current school program.

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MEDICAL BILLING & CODING (Teacher: Mrs. Cerrai)
Students will learn about different types of insurances, billing for single and multi-physician offices, understanding hospital, emergency room and outpatient services. They learn about proper vocabulary, medical billing tasks, confidentiality and other laws that apply to the field. The students are exposed to a work-based learning environment and have the opportunity to participate in an internship with South Shore Eye Care. At the completion of the program, students will have an opportunity to receive Professional Certifications from the American Medical Certification Association for Billing/Coding and Medical Administrative Assistant/Electronic Billing and OSHA.

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BUILDING MAINTENANCE (Teacher: Mr. Territo)
This course provides students with the theoretical and hands-on experience necessary to perform entry building maintenance and repair functions. Students will learn sheetrock installation, finishing and repair, floors and wall tile installation, painting, door and door lock installation and repairs and landscaping. There will be a guest expert from Kingstone Locksmith (more at https://kingstonelocksmith.com/) to help students practice in lock installation. Students have installed memorials on the IBR grounds and maintained them. During my visit, I observed the students maintaining the interior and exterior of the IBR facility as part of their course work. At the completion of the Building Maintenance program, students have the opportunity to receive an OSHA certification.

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CARPENTRY – (Teacher: Mr. Baiardi)
Students will learn basic carpentry skills for residential and commercial construction that are applicable in both new construction and renovation/restoration. Students will learn to read blueprints and the proper use of hand and power tools. They will be exposed to cabinetmaking and millwork, as well as green carpentry and residential building framing and finishing. At the completion of the program, students will have an opportunity to receive an OSHA certification.

The current carpentry students are working on several projects, including trash-housing structures to secure the trash bins and reduce the trash that blows across the IBR campus. This will help the resident families, who are participating in the research projects at IBR. Additionally, the Coop Carpentry students are collaborating with Staten Island Tech High School via the Guild of Staten Island Tech MakerSpace teacher, Charles Dazzo, to build worktables to replace desks currently being used by SI Tech students. Last but not least, the students are building benches that will be part of the Historic Richmond Town renovation project.

Mr. Dazzo hosts monthly meetings where he invites Trade Labor Union representatives to present information and opportunities to students and families. As you can see, this is an exciting opportunity for high school seniors and post graduates who are 17-21 years old.

Parents, principals, and guidance counselors play a pivotal role in letting students know about these opportunities in the 9th and 10th grades, so they can plan to incorporate it into their senior year schedule. The School of Cooperative Technical Education at the Institute for Basic Research, a NYC DOE Career and Technical High School Program, is a great way to expose students to real-life work opportunities as they consider their options moving on to college and/or a career.

If you are interested learning more about this program or want to know if your child’s high school already participates, please email the Coop Tech Guidance Counselor Mrs. Vitale-Mercado at [email protected] or call (718) 290-8600 ext. 2110.

Read more about the Co-Op Tech Education at www.co-optech.org

By Community Education Council 31 President Michael Reilly