King Career Center to become King Technical High School
After serving the Anchorage School District for over 44 years, the King Career Center is taking a new path. The career center reported on the progress to the Anchorage School Board on Monday night on becoming an accredited high school.
"This is a work in progress, it's a lot of work converting a school," KCC Principal Lou Pondolfino said. "It's something that is very energizing for the community. We believe in what we're doing. We know there is a mountain of work and we know there are things we can't anticipate right now. We are taking this week by week and rolling up our sleeves getting to work in this transformation."
King Career Center is not a school, it is a program where each of the current students belongs to another high school district where they will graduate from. The proposal is to keep the same model that is currently in place and add a full-time component to it and become an accredited school beginning next school year, the fall of 2018.
"We've crunched numbers, we've looked at capacity space," Pondolfino said. "We feel we can take 200 to 300 full-time students next year in what will be called King Technical High School."
Pondolfino told the school board he feels it's best to rebrand because the King Career Center served a meaningful purpose for over four decades.
"King Technical will take it a step beyond," Pondolfino said. "I think we are all aware of a stigma that comes with career technical education. We talked to parents regularly who say that sounds like a great program but my child can't go there because my child is going to college."
Pondolfino says they need to break down that stigma.
"We believe if your child is going to college," Pondolfino said, "then, King Tech is where your child should be going."
King Tech will offer students a competitive advantage with a strong academic program and strong technical program to pair with it. King Tech believes the overall workforce is moving in that direction.
"We've been told by economists that it does not take a bachelor's or advanced degree to earn a living wage in Alaska," Pondolfino said. "Over 84 percent of all the jobs in the state require less than that. Not all of them are living wages but a great portion of them are. We believe we need to get our young people prepared for the emerging workforce that is happening right now."
King Tech will start with eight key staff people currently going through a micro-credential called "Guiding students through pathways". All in preparation to lead students from where they are right now, mostly as juniors and seniors to post-secondary to careers.
"We offer internships and on the job training," Pondolfino said. "We're working on expanding all of that. We expect that almost all of our students will be taking some online learning."
The vision for King Tech students is as follows. They will be goal orientated, they have some background in CTE. They are self-directed, self-reliable, motivated. They have an interested in creating a path through the program and are trailblazers.
The Anchorage School District feels that King Tech will be able to stand on its own as a school. The funding coming from the 800 to 900 part-time students continuing what they are doing plus the 200 to 300 full-time students which would bring in an addition $1.2 million for the district.
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