The Royalton-Hartland School District has found that increased interest in its Technology and Engineering Program is helping many students to keep engaged in academic work during the challenges of the pandemic.

Guided by Gary Bell, high school principal, and Michele Parker, technology teacher, up to 100 high school students – about 25% of the student body – are participating in a variety of program courses, including those that are part of the Niagara County Community College CAP (College Acceleration Program).

These offerings begin with Design Drawing and Production (DDP) where students are introduced to drafting, CAD (Computer Aided Drafting), basic drafting principles, concepts, and industry standards. From there they move to Advanced CAD, Architecture, and Manufacturing. Students can take hands-on courses, such as, Materials Processing, Principles of Engineering, Energy and Transportation. Micro-Computer Applications, Computer Science, and Digital Photography classes further open a world of opportunities for students interested in computer technology.

As they proceed through the course sequence, students eventually are drawn to the program’s multi-function room where they can construct project components – such as small building models – and become acquainted with the use of robotics and drones.

“For many of these students, engaging in these hands-on, creative and interactive offerings keeps them going academically and mentally in light of the instructional challenges posed by COVID-19,” said Dr. Hank Stopinski, superintendent of schools.

Through its technical education program, Roy-Hart students are able to earn up to 14 college credits in the courses for enrollment in Niagara County Community College (NCCC) – a tuition savings for students and families.

“We have experienced a high degree of success with students who have completed the program,” said Ms. Parker. “Many have gone on to both two and four-year colleges, with several now using their skills in the Armed Forces.”

“We have one of the highest graduation rates in Niagara County,” Bell said. “Our students are all hard workers – balancing school and work. They need experiences and opportunities and this program provides it.”

Financing for custom program furniture and touch panels came through funds made available by FMC Corporation (FMC) to be requested by the Royalton-Hartland School District for qualified projects under the Environmental Benefit Projects Policy of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), in accordance with a 2019 Order on Consent between FMC and NYSDEC.

As part of the Program, students recently participated in a ZOOM meeting with 2012 Roy-Hart alumnus Ryan Czaja (on screen below), who provided insights into how the Program contributed to his academic and professional success. He is now a junior product engineer at Takeform in Medina and chief of the Middleport Fire Department.