D93 Technical Careers High School offers new programs, valuable experience

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IDAHO FALLS — For the students at the Technical Careers High School, teachers and classmates aren’t just partners on the journey to graduation; they are a family.

“As a school, we’re pretty close to each other,” said Logan Holverson, a junior at Technical Careers High School and the student body vice president.

Holverson said he plans to go to college after he graduates, and is considering studying business wherever he attends.

“I feel like the influence that the teachers have here reflects on us a lot and shows us that college is good and it’ll help you in the long run,” Holverson said. “You might not want to go to school for another four years, but it’ll be worth it.”

Four years ago, the Bonneville Joint School District 93 school, offered three programs and had 20 full-time students. This fall, the high school will offer nine programs, three of them for the first time. They’ll also cater to some 100 full-time students, four times as many as last school year’s total of 25.

Miller said this year, he has had to turn some students away because of the lack of space available on campus. The new programs, combined with increased enrollment in the school district, are attracting more students to the technical school than ever before.

Additionally, online and part-time students will bring the total school enrollment to about 600 during the 2015-16 school year. Students who attend Bonneville High School, Hillcrest High School, as well as Bonneville Online students, have the option to take technical classes at the Technical Careers High School.

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(Lindsey Johnson / EastIdahoNews.com) Dozens of technical and traditional students use the wood shop at the Technical Careers High School each school year.

Miller said in the past, Bonneville Online High School and Technical Careers High School shared staff members, but since both programs have grown so much, they now each have their own staff.

The three new programs, Agriculture, Emergency Medical Transportation and Computer Information Technology, were chosen based on where workers are needed most in the state, Miller said.

“I work really closely with The Department of Labor to find out what kind of jobs they’re going to be needing in the next ten to fifteen years,” he said.

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(Nate Sunderland / EastIdahoNews.com) Teagan Holm, 17, is one of the welding students taking advantage of the programs at the Technical Careers High School.

The high school already offers training in robotics, electronics, auto technician, auto body repair, construction and welding.

D93 Superintendent Chuck Shackett, said the agriculture program has been a work in progress for years due to the heavy influence of farming and ranching in Idaho. He said the program will aim to strengthen the school’s relationship with the agriculture community.

Miller said that because there is not currently a high school agriculture program in Idaho Falls, the farming and ranching community has been requesting one to increase the number of potential workers.

“We’re excited to be able to get the agriculture program going, to get some of our agriculture community involved with the kids,” Shackett said.

Shackett said in addition to their technical education, students also take core classes at the high school, such as English, math, social studies and science.

The core subjects are tech-specific, Miller said, so students are presented with core subjects in a way they can understand and enjoy.

“We try to do our cores so that they’re applied to what they care about,” he said.

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(Lindsey Johnson / EastIdahoNews.com) Woodworking is one of several skills taught in programs at the Technical Careers High School.

He said that for the last three years, reading levels at Technical Careers High School have jumped about an average of two and a half grade levels each year.

“We’re seeing great strides,” Miller said. “Part of it is helping them gain confidence, and the other part is teaching them in a way they understand.”

The thing students love most about attending Technical Careers High School is having a place they feel successful and wanted, Miller said.

“Once kids feel safe, and feel like they’re wanted somewhere, you can get amazing things out of them,” Miller said. “That’s kind of the culture we’ve built here. Students feel like they’re really a part of school, that they belong here, that they’re wanted here.”

Working with students at Technical Careers High School has required plenty of hard work, but Miller said it has been a fun and rewarding experience.

“For the first time as an administrator, I really feel like I’m making a huge difference in a lot of students’ lives,” Miller said.

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