Northampton High School to launch new IT program

  • Northampton High School sophomore Lane Hall-Witt, a summer IT intern, opens up one of the 650 Chrome books destined for JFK Middle School on Monday, Aug. 6. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton High School senior Ethan Lucey, foreground, and other interns in the summer IT program prepare the third floor computer lab for the fall semester. Joining him, from left, are 2018 NHS graduate Gillian Doucette and sophomores Lane Hall-Witt and Josh Reinhardt. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton High School senior Ryan Cheevers-Brown works in the summer IT internship program at the high school on Monday, August 6, 2018. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Samuel Lev, right, IT Specialist with Northampton Schools, oversees work by sophomore Lane Hall-Witt in the summer internship program at the high school on Monday, August 6, 2018. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton High School sophomores Lane Hall-Witt, left, and Josh Reinhardt work in the summer IT internship program at the high school. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton High School sophomores Lane Hall-Witt, left, and Josh Reinhardt, interns in the summer IT program, prepare the third floor computer lab for the fall semester on Monday, August 6, 2018. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 8/22/2018 8:14:13 AM

NORTHAMPTON — The first day of school for students in Northampton Public Schools will be Aug. 30. However, students in a new IT program at Northampton High School launching this year have already been hard at work in internships over the summer.

The IT Innovation Pathway Scope and Sequence was started this spring, initially with the help of a grant from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. It will allow students to graduate with an NHS degree, while also receiving education and internship opportunities in the IT field.

“You still have a lot of traditional coursework,” said Molly McLoughlin, the school’s digital learning and computer science coordinator. “You get a little benefit of both.”

Students can enter the program in either their freshman or sophomore year. In the summer before they enter their sophomore year, students will do a 50-hour internship with the school IT department. The following summer they will do a 50-hour internship with the school or city IT department and they will do a 100-hour internship with the school IT department during their junior year.

In their senior year students will take a 14-week course with Tech Foundry in Springfield, where they will do a capstone project. Tech Foundry also offers badging in areas such as cybersecurity, networking, computer science and coding, which can allow students to enter the workforce directly after graduation.

However, Antonio Pagan, the schools’ chief information officer, said the program will also be helpful for students looking to go to college.

“You don’t have to follow an IT pathway,” he said.

Students in the program will also take normal courses, as well as courses at Greenfield Community College. Those who complete it will have three internship experiences, industry credentials and 12 college credits in addition to their NHS diploma.

McLoughlin said she has seen an overwhelming amount of interest in the program. She also said that the rising sophomores have been enjoying their internships.

“Students have been so engaged in the opportunities,” she said.

New initiatives, employees

Northampton Public Schools Superintendent John Provost said enrollment this year is “very consistent” with enrollment in the past several years, with roughly the same number of classes and students. The exception is preschool, which has experienced significant growth, resulting in nine preschool classes this year as opposed to eight.

There were also be a number of new faces working in Northampton schools this year.

“We’ve hired approximately 35 new employees over the course of the summer,” said Provost, saying that most of these employees were hired because of retirements.

He also said that the district is an attractive one for potential employees, with more than a hundred applicants for some positions.

Provost said that staffing increases are in keeping with the fiscal year 2019 budget, and that most are concentrated at Bridge Street School.

The last day of school this year will be June 13.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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