Building on the previous administration’s achievements, Pawhuska High School Principal Joe Sindelar presented his educational goals for graduates to attendees of the Kiwanis Club meeting on March 26.
First, Sindelar plans to enable students to graduate with up to 40 hours of college credit. To accomplish this goal, Sindelar plans to expand the high school’s participation in Advanced Placement curriculum by adding college courses offered at Tri County Technology Center in Bartlesville and at the satellite office of Tulsa Community College in Hominy.
"This is worth $50,000 to $60,000 to the student," Sindelar said.
In explaining the importance of providing this educational opportunity, Sindelar explained that educators need to understand how technology impacts the job skills required to be employable.
Pawhuska School Superintendent Dr. Landon Berry, also at the meeting, expressed his support. An estimated $200,000 in possible budget cuts is another practical aspect of the plan, Berry said.
"We would be able to do more with less faculty," Sindelar said.
"We need to promote these opportunities," Berry told the Kiwanis members. "It’s different from vo-tech programs of the past. Now vo-techs are like junior colleges."
Berry offered the example of auto mechanics jobs, which now require specific computer proficiency in order for the worker to be able to diagnose and make auto repairs.
Describing his steps toward these goals, Sindelar said that he has meetings scheduled with TCTC and TCC to discuss streamlining student enrollment process for the upcoming school year.
Students and parents need to be aware that there are high standards for the behavior of high school students attending these classes
"Students can get in, but those who aren’t serious are weeded out," Sindelar said.
This school year in a class of more than 200 there are only 16 Pawhuska High School students enrolled in classes at TCTC and one student enrolled at the satellite location of TCC in Hominy.
With these statistics, Berry and Sindelar agree that there is a lot of room for improvement. However, new school polices would be needed, for example, a policy allowing students to receive high school credit for completed college courses — essentially, dual credit, Sindelar said.
These new policies would require school board approval before they could be implemented, Sindelar explained.
School Board member Lori Loftis, who is also President of the Kiwanis Club, said she supports such policy changes. Loftis also agreed that this new plan would build upon the work of the previous educational administration, which focused on Advanced Placement classes as a means of enabling students to accumulate college credit.
Speaking of A.P. classes, Dr. Berry said that students had to achieve a test score of "three" or better in order to get such college credit and that this was hard for students to achieve. This new plan would enable more Pawhuska High School students to graduate with college credits, Berry said.
The second aspect of Sindelar’s vision is to improve American College Test scores. An ACT score of 19 is required in order for students to qualify to take classes at the satellite location of TCC in Hominy, Sindelar said.
In order to maximize the number of students to take advantage of this opportunity, Sindelar hopes to offer ACT prep courses. However, additional staff would be needed to accomplish this, he said.
Third, as part of his vision, Sindelar seeks to maximize the high school graduation rate. However, graduation alone is no longer enough, he said.
To prepare students for academic and job-readiness, Sindelar would like to provide more educational opportunities.
"If we don’t, we may be setting kids up to fail; and when they fail, we blame the kid. I hate that.
"We’ve just started introducing it, and the kids like it. We need to understand whose future we are preparing them for — theirs and not ours," Sindelar said.