The Norman Transcript

February 8, 2013

Technology center programs are great for high schoolers

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Q: Recently, my sophomore daughter went on a tour at the Moore/Norman Technology Center. She is interested in one of their programs and has told us it’s free. She says the school will provide transportation. How in the world can she get all the credits she needs for graduation if she goes there for half her school day?

— Laura, Moore

Dear Laura,

Your daughter is exactly correct. We are so lucky to live in a state that has such a wonderful technology program available to our students. The Tech Center offers various programs to students in the 11th and 12th grades and, yes, they are free. These hours become the students’ elective hours, and they receive their core course requirements at their home high school.

Most of the programs are two-year programs, and most offer certifications and/or college credit at a greatly reduced hourly rate. If a student doesn’t begin until his/her senior year, for example, they are given the opportunity to finish the program the year after they graduate … and it’s still free.

We highly recommend students look into this, whether they are college-bound or not. Learning a trade is never a bad thing. If your student is college-bound, this would provide a great part-time job opportunity to help with college expenses or just to have spending money.

The application process is going on now, so your daughter should pick one up at her school. Obviously, there’s not room for all students in every program, so there is a process for admission. Information will be available in your school’s counseling center or you can always call the Tech Center.

MNTC provides transportation to and from the Tech Center. Some kids like to drive themselves if they have that luxury, so that’s also an option.

We definitely think this is worthwhile for students and parents to investigate.

Q: My son mentioned that enrollment is coming up soon, and we have to figure out what he’s going to take next year. How do we know what’s best for him to take when we’re just now halfway through this school year?

— Joe, Newcastle

Dear Joe,

We, too, were astounded that the enrollment process starts in February, until we realized how much is involved in making sure students have the proper classes available to them each year. We think it’s very important to sit down with your student and talk over the enrollment process.

The first thing to consider is the required core courses. Make sure they are writing down the correct next-level classes. For example, if your student took Algebra I this year, he should not be signing up for Calculus next year. Also, if you and your son are interested in Pre-AP or AP classes, make sure you are both prepared for him to stay in the class all year.

Sections of classes are made based on the number of students who say they want to take a particular class. If several decide it’s too tough and they want to get out, there may not be a place to put them.

Students are given a course description booklet with their enrollment packet. This gives details about courses available, prerequisites and grade-level requirements. These guides are printed so you and your student will have all information necessary about courses offered and should be read and used.

As far as electives go, there are many things to consider. These classes are a necessary and integral part to the school day. Students get to enjoy something that isn’t as stressful as a required class, and they will learn skills that will be beneficial for the rest of their lives.

Make sure the elective choices are listed in the order of preference. A few hints: Ask your son why he wants that particular elective, and urge him to focus on his interests and not those of his friends or parents. The purpose of electives is to allow a student to broaden knowledge in different areas. If your son is a football player, for example, weightlifting or PE are not broadening.

We would like for you to understand how the process works — the course data is entered and the computer does the rest. Classes are assigned based on the students’ requests listed on the enrollment form. Make sure these forms are filled out completely, signed and turned in on time so courses can be made available.

Sally and Jeannie are certified school counselors with 49 years combined educational experience. Jeannie has two children, Sally three. The responses presented don’t necessarily reflect the views of any certain school district. Please send your questions to Counselor Connection C/O the Norman Transcript P.O. Drawer 1058 Norman, Oklahoma 73070 or email questions to Questions.

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