Recent certification earned by a pair of teachers at West Forsyth High School means students in their classes will be learning along industry standards.
West Forsyth High School teachers Dan Biskup and Anthony Tarantino recently earned Engineering and Technology Education Program Certification by the state.
“If you pass the certification, basically you are doing everything industry wants to see in a high-school-type environment to produce work-ready skills within high school students,” Tarantino said.
Tarantino said the evaluation was a lengthy process involving lots of documentation and on-site visits from the state.
“It’s an in-depth process,” he said. “It takes probably a couple hundred hours devoted to it, whole weekends, a lot of nights [and] lot of early mornings. There is a portion where the students get interviewed as to what they have been doing in class.”
As part of the process, schools are given $10,000 to complete the process, which West used for safety upgrades including updates to machines and safety glasses and a cabinet to store them in.
“One of the things we needed at West Forsyth, simple enough, was safety tape that goes on the floor around your machine, like you would see in a regular industry certified space,” Tarantino said. “That’s basically an operator zone where the individual operator of the machine should stand to make sure they’re safe and no one else is walking there that might accidentally get hurt.”
Tarantino said West was the first county high school to complete the certification and the other high schools would likely be approved later this semester or in the fall.
“I think the kids and parents in Forsyth County really want that competitive edge, and there are not that many programs in the state that have it,” he said. “So, by saying, ‘we have this. We can offer this to our kids,’ is just another way of showing how great our school system is.”
He said one of the benefits of the certification is that it comes from the industry.
“It tells the students what they’re learning has a real value to it and it’s not just what the teacher in the room thought in a given day or not what the administration thought,” Tarantino said. “It’s what the industry wants and supports.”