Transit Tech Career and Technical Education High School
Students learn to be subway mechanics by working on old cars
School has struggled to attract high-achieving students
After decades devoted to grooming students for careers in the transit industry, Transit Tech Career and Technical High School is broadening its horizons to prepare graduates for technology jobs and for college as well. To accomplish this, the school has added new facilities and taken steps to strengthen academics.
The changes, aimed in part at attracting moreand better-preparedstudents, come after several difficult years for Transit Tech, once a highly sought-after vocational school. The number, and by most accounts quality, of applicants dropped as students opted for other technical education programs, small schools or charter schools. The graduation rate declined, and there was frequent turnover in the principal's office.
Since becoming principal in 2013, Marlon Bynum, who was the last principal at the now-closed Franklin K. Lane High School, has launched a number of efforts to strengthen student performance. "The challenge is to convince prospective parents and students and also staff that to not only survive, but thrive, we have to make changes in curriculum," Bynum said.
For that reason, the school has added new technical programs in computer engineering and networking. Transit offers an internationally recognized basic certification indigital literacy and created five computer labs. One 11th-grader said that while he thought he knew a lot about computers before coming to Transit Tech, he has been struck by the level of detail in the classes.
All 9th-graders now take introduction to engineering and design, a course developed by Project Lead the Way, which provides programs and teacher-training in math, science, engineering and technology. The class, Bynum says, enhances student understanding of algebra and conceptual physics. On the day of our visit, students watched a video about, and discussed, computer coding before breaking into small groups to work on their own projects, such as developing a game. All students take two computer courses in 10th grade, along with trigonometry and Regents physics. Transit Tech has four physics teachers.
Transit Tech students must choose one of six career-oriented programs. Coursework for each of them involves one double period of a shop class in 11th and 12th grades, and often also includes an internship.
Three of the career programs are transit-oriented and feature partnerships with Amtrak and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Some students begin working at those agencies upon graduation.During their shop classes, students can work on two retired subway cars in one of the school's vocational labs.As the school has added new technology programs, it also has taken a renewed interest in itstransitprograms, and the MTA has stepped up its involvement with the school.
But the school also wants to attract students who are college-bound. About 60 percent of Transit Tech seniors continue their educations, with most going on to two-year CUNY colleges.New York City College of Technology is also a popular choice.
Many students who plan to go to college said they value the technical training they get at Transit Tech, commenting that it would help them earn money to finance their educations or be something to fall back on. "Even if you dont use it as a job, you can still use it," said one senior.
While the school has enjoyed success bringing up student achievement in English, it does not do as well in math. Bynum hopes the curriculum changes along with a renewed emphasis on math in shop classes will address that. He also hopes new outreach efforts, the technical programs, and efforts to position the school as a pre-engineering program will bring higher-achieving students to his school.
The students we spoke with generally liked their shop classes and shop teachers. They appreciated the school's many opportunities for internships. But they were less enthusiastic about some academic classes; one student said they varied in quality and another complained that some were too easy. Electives are limited; the only foreign language, for example, is one year of Spanish.
Classes are orderly, though in some teachers had to work to involve the students. An engaging science teacher needed to repeatedly prompt her class to respond to her questions about the nutrition cycle and photosynthesis.
All students must pass through metal detectors, but the school seems safe and we saw little, if any, evidence of discipline problems. Boys complain that there are few girls. Girls we spoke with said they had had no problems at Transit Tech despite being outnumbered by about six to one.
Special education: Transit Tech has a large number of students with IEPs, mostly for behavioral issues. The school makes an effort to include them in the shop classes.
Admissions: Transit Tech is open to any New York City students. Four of the programs are screened but for now, at least, most students who want to attend will probably be admitted. (Gail Robinson, February 2015)
About the students
About the school
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Programs and Admissions
The curriculum will expose students to a variety of law and government related information. Students will utilize modern technology to learn, enforce, and practice most recent government rules and regulations related to computer forensic science.
Develop knowledge of computer circuitry, micro-technology, analog and digital electronics, basic electronics, and circuit boards. Students learn about electricity basics, voltage, and current. Students also have the option to take a nationally recognized certification exam.
The program prepares students to install and repair industrial, commercial, and residential electrical circuitry. Students are provided with theoretical and practical knowledge, such as NYC Electrical Codes, to ensure they are prepared to meet up-to-date industry standards.
Sequence includes electrical and mechanical systems related to transportation and industrial and commercial wiring systems. Students are trained in a state-of-the-art lab, utilizing tools and equipment that are aligned with the MTAs training facility.
Basic to advanced level network and cabling coursework. Students are trained in installation, repair, and maintenance of wired and wireless network infrastructure. Students are also exposed to equipment such as coaxial cables, copper cables, fiber optic cables, network infrastructure, routers, switches, and access points. At the completion of the program, students are offered various industry certifications.
A+ Computer Repair technology. Students are trained on the basic concepts and functions of computers from an engineering perspective. Students acquire knowledge of motherboards, hard drives, RAM, CPU, GPU, computer peripherals, and various operating systems. Additionally, students are trained in security, preventative maintenance, and Microsoft Office. At the completion of the program, students are offered multiple nationally recognized certifications.
Students are trained in digital literacy, which includes basic computer skills such as hardware and software, Microsoft Office, internet connectivity, and network setup. Students are prepared to obtain an entry level IT Helpdesk position at the completion of the course. At the completion of the program students are offered multiple industry-recognized certifications.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Cross Country, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Softball, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams