High school mulls how to offer more opportunities for students

In order to hear from the local business community on how the Williamsport Area High School can better prepare their students for the work force, school administrators met for breakfast Thursday to discuss desired skills.

Those in attendance ranged from politics to art to education.

Dr. Don Adams, district superintendent, explained that the high school is looking to build partnerships with the local business community in order to give additional opportunities for students. He said building relationships not only helps students, but the community as a whole.

“The power of any community comes from the partnerships that are built,” he said.

“We can’t do it alone. No one can,” Adams later added.

Mike Reed, high school principal, said that the school emphasizes “one degree shifts” on improving. He added that it wants to provide students with opportunities to grow.

“We want the best opportunities for everyone,” he said.

And while students are given a variety of opportunities, from college courses to the school’s career and technical education program, many in attendance noted that curriculum should emphasize the soft skills.

Aspects of the job such as showing up to work on time, effective communication and not spending time on their mobile devices all need to be part of the career preparation.

It doesn’t matter what career one chooses, these core skills are needed by all.

Discussions said there are too many examples of youth only communicating through technology, and not having the basic face-to-face social skills.

Randy Zangara, career and technical education principal, explained that in the programs these qualities are taken into consideration when grading.

The group also discussed how the business community could get involved in the education of the students. Having business leaders speak with classes to discuss the expectations of the work place and what is entailed in the job would help students better understand the career.

The district is planning a Community Resource Fair so the business community can interact with students.

The high school also uses programs to help give direction to students on career choices. Zangara said the ninth-grade pathways program allows students to explore careers.

But Zangara said it’s also important to not only decide on whether they will attend college, but what their plans are after graduating from a post-secondary institute.

Reed added that he hoped those interested in helping students with career preparation would continue to have dialogue with the school’s administrators on possible improvements and opportunities.

Zangara explained that working together with the community will build a promising future.

“It’s like building a house. The foundation is the kids in our district,” he said.