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Brooklyn principals tour Barry Tech

 Brooklyn Principals Tour Nassau BOCES Barry Tech

Potential new graduation pathways sparked a New York Regent to bring more than 30 Brooklyn-based high school principals to Nassau BOCES Barry Tech on December 4. Calling Barry Tech a “model” career and technical education high school, Regent Lester Young said he wanted the Brooklyn principals to see the program in action and garner ideas as to how they could run similar courses for their students.

Barry Tech, which is located in Westbury at the Joseph M. Barry Career & Technical Education Center, serves nearly 1,400 students who want to get a jump start on a future career. Courses range from Aviation Operations and Police Science to Audio Production and Veterinary Science.

One of the proposed graduation pathways, which the New York State Board of Regents will vote on in January, will allow high school students to focus on career and technical education (CTE) courses. This new opportunity has principals of schools with few CTE courses looking for successful programs to replicate.

The Brooklyn principals were led by Michael Prayor, Superintendent of Districts 17-22, who thanked Nassau BOCES for allowing the principals to explore and ask questions necessary to build solid programs. Throughout the day, the principals visited classrooms – many of which are set up to resemble work sites such as a beauty salon, a pharmacy or a veterinary clinic – speaking with teachers and students from throughout Nassau County.

  "Having Barry Tech on my application made me stand out from other applicants."

The principals were particularly interested in how Barry Tech integrates academic subjects into the career education classrooms, such as having a math teacher provide a lesson relevant to students in the Pharmacy Technician program. They also asked questions about developing strong industry partnerships, rigorous curricula and college articulation agreements.

Laurie Harris, Interim Principal for Barry Tech, said that most of Barry Tech’s students approach high school education differently from their peers. “They attend these programs not to pass a class but to start preparing for a career they want to pursue,” she said. “They are here because they want to be and this often results in better attendance and higher grades in their academic courses as well.”

Several of the students who spoke to the principals said that attending Barry Tech gave them an edge when it came to being accepted to their college of choice. Samantha Eaton, a small animal care student from the Baldwin UFSD, wants to be veterinarian. She said, “Having Barry Tech on my application made me stand out from other applicants.” Nearly 80 percent of Barry Tech students go on to attend a college or university.   

Regent Young said he wants to ensure college and career readiness opportunities such as these are equitably distributed throughout the state.