Peabody-Burns High School principal Tim Roberts said more students than ever have expressed interest in taking classes from Newton Vocational Technical School next year.
“It gives the kids the opportunity to explore vocation courses we don’t have the capacity to offer,” he said.
Peabody-Burns offered classes through the technical school for several years but had to discontinue the program because of budget restrictions. Two years ago the program was reinstated after the state passed a bill that allowed high school students to take college classes without having to pay state tuition.
Typically two to three students enroll in the automotive or welding classes, Roberts said. This year at least five students have already signed up for classes, with the potential for more if scheduling can be worked out.
The increased interest stems from new programs offered by the school in medical and engineering fields.
“In the past, most students were involved in welding,” he said,” but the school has a new program, medical science, that kids who are interested in that types of careers can take.”
Many of the classes give students hands on learning experiences such as medical science 3, which is held in a building across the street from Newton Medical Center giving students access to the hospital.
“The class works with the hospital to do many things,” Roberts said.
Vo-tech classes are either 1½ or 3 hours long. The school transports the students to Newton. Roberts said even though some of their day is consumed by travel time, students have enough cushion built into their schedules to handle the one class period a semester worth travel time consumes.
Roberts said he likes the classes because they help students gain valuable knowledge toward their future careers.