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VP-TECH announces new principal
Dec. 19, 2014


HERKIMER – Brittany DerCola has been named the first principal of the new Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School.

DerCola, who has been serving as the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES supervisor for special education, will play a large role in launching VP-TECH, which combines elements of high school, college and the professional world.

Made possible by a state grant of about $2.8 million over seven years, VP-TECH’s first cohort of ninth-graders will start in fall 2015. Students are expected to graduate in five to six years with a Regents Diploma and a free associate’s degree in quality assurance from Herkimer College. They will be prepared for jobs in advanced manufacturing and quality assurance and will be first in line for employment at many local companies in the industry.

“We need to think outside of the box and develop ways to reach students utilizing more creative and engaging strategies,” DerCola said. “Providing students with opportunities to tackle real world problems with academics infused throughout does just that. This is what we need to do to reach our students and to provide them with the skills that will allow them to be successful in business and industry.”

Before coming to Herkimer BOCES, DerCola was a teacher in the Holland Patent Central School District. She also served as a teacher leader in the development and implementation of the Holland Patent Middle School STEAM program and was integral in gaining approval for the program from the Board of Education.
DerCola brings experience in curriculum and program development and has successfully individualized programs to meet the needs of a variety of learners.

“I went into education with the goal of preparing students for the future. That becomes difficult when the future is ever-changing,” DerCola said. “VP-TECH gives us the opportunity to develop a program and tailor it to our students and our region to ensure that they are fully prepared for the ever-changing future.”

VP-TECH enables students to begin their college and professional lives more quickly and with more support than the typical school-to-work pathway. Graduates of VP-TECH not only earn an associate’s degree in quality assurance, but they also leave the school with the skills and knowledge they need in order to continue their studies or step seamlessly into competitive jobs in a variety of industries.

VP-TECH students will complete high school, earn a college degree and be ready to begin a career by the time they graduate. The length of enrollment is tailored to the learning needs and educational goals of each student. The students take regular high-school courses required to earn a high-school diploma and take college courses to earn their associate’s degree.  They receive individual support and guidance as they plan their high-school years and begin taking college classes.

VP-TECH students participate in real work experiences in which they learn teamwork and develop the skills they’ll need for professional and personal success. They explore various careers through internship coaching and mentoring opportunities provided by numerous companies throughout the region.

VP-TECH serves the Herkimer BOCES component school districts: Central Valley, Dolgeville, Frankfort-Schuyler, Herkimer, Little Falls, Mount Markham, Owen D. Young, Poland, Richfield Springs and West Canada Valley.

For information, contact your school counselor or call DerCola at 315-867-2056.



 
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