Reporting for class: Pat-Med's CTE law enforcement program
Learning young — that is Pat-Med’s thought process behind its new in-house Career & Technical Education program, which launched this month during the start of the school year.
Radio dispatching, terminology and the phonetic alphabet were all part of the law enforcement class’s curriculum last week, the first full week of school; about 47 juniors and seniors are enrolled in the morning and afternoon classes.
Seniors Luke Gruber and Anthony Velasquez were part of the afternoon class, happy to be a part of something hands on; they said the class is less about “teaching” and more about training.
Gruber aspires to be in a warrant squad after hopefully attending Sacred Heart on some sort of baseball scholarship, while Velasquez would like to put on the uniform as a police officer after attending John Jay College.
“It’s nice to not be behind a desk all day,” added Gruber, happy with his decision to join the class.
The program, according to teacher and former NYPD officer Paul Pizzuto, will also invite members from the Suffolk County Police Department, K9 Unit and Sheriff’s Office as part of their learning and networking process.
“This is a really unique opportunity to get insight into what law enforcement does on an everyday basis,” he said, explaining that students take home unity, respect and integrity. “It’s great for them to be able to leave the everyday school life and come out here and learn if this is the path for them at a very early age.”
Right after speaking to the Advance, Pizzuto took his team to the fields to run some laps. Students will leave the course with CPR and first aid training and those who participate in the two-year course will leave with a certification.
Pat-Med also launched its first year of computer technology offered as a CTE course, with teacher Jeffery Gonzales — straight from a background in the industry — at the helm; about 32 seniors and juniors enrolled in morning and afternoon classes.
Senior Jason Samulik and junior Patrik Belz just joined the course and were excited to work hands on. Samulik has hopes of going to the University of Albany, while Belz sees a future at MIT.
Throughout the year, they will learn the components of the computer, troubleshooting, repair and servicing. The course leads to a CISCO certification, allowing students to jump straight into the industry.
MEET THE DIRECTOR
CTE director Ray Ruiz, new district hire, is now running Pat-Med’s first-ever in-house CTE programs. Ruiz has spent 17 years in the NYC Department of Education and was a CTE teacher before it was called CTE. He was a shop and career/technology teacher and also taught in the electrical trade, computer technology and networking programs. After working in the city, he migrated to Levittown, where he was also an electrical trade teacher in a program similar to BOCES but in-district, which also allowed neighboring districts to attend. He now resides in Nassau County.
“I feel what we are doing here, everyone should mirror,” he said of the reason for his move, providing the opportunity to help establish a CTE program from the ground up. “We need to bring these programs in-district. BOCES is very convenient, but it has a cost to it and we need to be monitoring our students’ success by keeping them in-house.”
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
The district’s CTE program will be state-approved, granting students who participate some sort of a certification upon graduation. Also, according to Ruiz, many local colleges, including St. Joseph’s, have acknowledged their programs by allowing reduced credits and/or a certain amount of already completed credits for incoming students.
“These programs increase the pathways students have when they leave our building with a skill,” said Ruiz, proud of the future success. “Instead of always pushing for college, this gives students a different option.”
Both courses are two-year programs; this year for the roll out, both classes are receiving the same first-year instruction and then next year juniors and seniors will be receiving separate instruction with a year-one and year-two course.
Ruiz will be working to help further the program by rolling out two more courses next year, based on which BOCES courses students are most interested in. Classes being considered include medical assistant, graphic design, construction, automotive, cosmetology and fashion merchandising. Enrollment will open in January for incoming sophomores.
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