North Montco Technical Career Center (NMTCC) requires all students to complete a senior graduation project based on their technical concentration. The senior graduation project allows the student to demonstrate problem-solving skills, research skills, and independent work. The project also provides the opportunity for students to see multiple viewpoints, weigh conflict, and support views with credible evidence. Through the project, students take of ownership of learning and development of time management skills.
The stated goals for the senior graduation project center on:
1. Basic communication skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking
2. Past and present application of acquired technical skills
3. The ability to locate and interpret information and ideas gained in making decisions and solving problems
The project must include a written component, a product, a presentation, participation in the Senior Expo, and a reflection / self-evaluation. The products vary depending on a student’s program, but can range from portfolios with photographs of the student’s work to tangible outputs such as student-built furniture. Students are encouraged to work on their projects over the course of the school year, with specific assignments and deadlines set by instructors. Senior project components and/or assignments count for a minimum of 25 percent of each marking period’s grade.
The completed projects are displayed at a Senior Expo, a one-night event which is held each spring at the career and technical center. Student projects are displayed in the program areas and seniors are expected to attend the event, discuss their projects, and answer questions from the public. Prospective students, parents, and industry representatives are invited to tour the school and view the projects.
Origin / Implementation
The purpose of the project is to adopt highly rigorous and measurable standards for academic and technical performance that reflect global demands and requirements to make a diploma meaningful. Senior graduation projects became a requirement for NMTCC students in 1999. The first Expo was held in 2005.
The original impetus for this project was the state requirement that all graduating students complete a senior project (Pennsylvania School Code, Chapter 4, Section 4.24). NMTCC’s senior project has an occupational focus, requiring the use of technical labs.
In the early years of implementation, there was a staff person responsible for planning and organizing the Expo. Currently, the Expo is coordinated by program teachers during regular staff meetings.
Over the years, the project has grown into a major event at the school that demonstrates and showcases the school and student talents. Over 800 people attended the 2014 Expo.
Results / Impact
NOCTI results have improved each year since the Expo was initiated. Although this project cannot be directly attributed to the increase in scores, the program showcases the school and the graduating seniors. It is an impressive public relations event that has greatly raised the public’s awareness of CTE and NMTCC.
North Montco Technical Career Center
Michael Lucas, Administrative Director