At a Glance
The competitive Fast Track Exploration Program provides ninth grade students the opportunity to attend and explore every CTE program offered at Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School (BAVTS) so that they can make informed decisions about program enrollment.
The Fast Track Exploration program is a highly competitive program designed to provide ninth grade students who are at or above grade level the opportunity to attend BAVTS during their freshman year for one semester. Eighth grade students must apply for this career exploration opportunity as it is only open to 20 students per semester.
Students who are accepted into the Fast Track program rotate through all the career areas offered at BAVTS on a flex schedule during blocks of their school day. At the end of the assigned semester, the students have an opportunity to apply for a specific program for their tenth-grade year. This is different from the traditional tenth-grade student schedule of rotating through four programs before selecting the program of their choice. For detailed information on the Fast Track rotation schedule, the topics addressed and the grading policy, see the BAVTS Fast Track Information Flyer.
BAVTS implemented the Fast Track program to help increase student enrollment and to prepare students to make informed choices about their selected program and career. Craig Mosser, the program coordinator, finds the program gives students a clear indication of, and pathway, to their potential career goals at the secondary level.
BAVTS faced some challenges when it first implemented Fast Track, such as determining how best to push the Fast Track students into class without fully interrupting class time, adjusting the class schedule, and determining the best time of year at which to offer the program. For CTCs that want to implement a similar program, Mr. Mosser recommends they start with a small number of students in the program to keep the logistics manageable and to be able to quickly address challenges as they arise.
According to Mr. Mosser, the Fast Track program provides multiple benefits. BAVTS enrollment has increased, instructors have gained quality students who fill their seats before the tenth-grade rotation process, and full-time students have benefitted from a head start in gaining the essential knowledge and skills in the field of their choice. These students can make an informed decision about the program of their choice because they have explored every program offered at BAVTS. They also can start their coop experiences earlier and help teach rotation students. In addition, many of them have competed in Skills competitions for multiple years.