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Charter school | Preston Citizen

Charter school

July 27, 2013
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New option includes Preston, West Side, Malad districts 

By KELLIANNE GAMMILL 

Citizen intern

A new charter school will open this fall that will extend from Preston to West Side and Malad high schools.

Southeastern Idaho Technical Charter School, or SEITec, is a professional technical charter school that will not have a central building, but will take place throughout all three high schools.

“Although we are a separate charter school, we will operate with a part-time administrator, myself, whose sole purpose is to improve the professional technical programs that have been accepted as part of the charter school,” administrator Rachel Madsen said.

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The charter school will offer students the opportunity to graduate not only with a high school diploma, but also a certification in a technical field – meaning that students will be qualified to work in technical occupations right out of high school.

“Our goal is to provide 16 high-end programs that will allow students to have up-to-date training based on current industry standards and leave high school with an industry certificate,” Madsen said.

Not only will students be able to find jobs quicker, they will be able to hold them longer as the charter school will teach work ethic, teamwork and communication.

“They are also gaining the soft skills, the work-readiness skills, that employers are saying that kids don’t have,” Madsen said.

Professional Technical Education (PTE) programs will also help students stay in school. “PTE keeps a lot of kids in school,” Madsen said. “They start to realize the importance of English and math because they have a career path.”

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Though beneficial, PTE courses come at a cost. “PTE programs are expensive. It’s much more expensive to teach an auto program or a welding program than to teach a math class,” Madsen said.

Additional funding is available to help cut costs of PTE programs. “It allows us to qualify for additional support and additional funding in some areas,” West Side superintendent Spencer Barzee said. “We are happy for that.”

This funding will help cut costs for the students taking the courses as well.

“Recently, all funding for CNA (classes) was cut. That course runs about $800 a kid for everything. We are hoping the charter school will defray some of those costs,” Barzee said.

Students already enrolled at the three districts will attend their home high school, but take technical classes only offered through SEITec. Not having a central building comes with pros and cons.

“Advantages of not having a central building is that it saves money on all the expenses that come with providing a separate facility,” Madsen said. “A disadvantage is that it is hard to create a unified student body and staff when they are housed in three separate places.”

SEITec will offer different programs depending on the school the student attends. Preston will offer health occupations and electronics, West Side will offer health occupations and business and Malad will offer health occupations, business and information technology.

The board of trustees has also approved adding agricultural science, mill working and teaching assistance. “We are hoping to add more programs before we start up in August,” Madsen said.

“The largest number of students we can have is 199,” she said. While the number of students that will enroll is unsure, administrator Madsen is hoping for good results.

This story is sponsored by Preston Lions Club: Night for Sight and Preston Youth Football Camp.


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