Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School
Jamaica NY 11432
Students learn a trade and enjoy a well-rounded high school experience
Limited electives classes
Thomas A. Edison High School sets the gold standard for Career and Technical Education (CTE). Unlike the newer crop of small CTE schools that focus on a particular theme, Thomas Edison offers 11 CTE tracks spread across seven themed programs: visual art and design, information technologies, computer aided design (CAD), electrical installation, automotive, robotics/STEM and medical careers. All students major in a trade but also enjoy a well-rounded high school experience that includes solid academics and lots of activities and sports teams.
There is a pleasant and old-fashioned quality to this school. Safety officers greet visitors with a cheery smile; many teachers, especially in CTE classes, have worked in the school for years. Principal Moses Ojeda, a graduate of the school, is also a longtime staff member, having worked as a teacher and then assistant principal before heading the school starting in August 2012.
Students seem particularly engaged in the shop and lab classes, where they can be found working under the hood of a car, designing a newsletter, testing new commands for a robot or extracting DNA from a banana. Most shop classes take place in spacious rooms with desks on one end and lab tables, computers, or heavy-duty equipment on the other. Students hone their mechanic skills in the school's fully functioning, state-licensed garage where they service well over 100 cars per year. Students on the MOUSE Squad are on-call for in-house computer assistance. Seniors in graphic arts produce all the school's printing needs with the aide of a commercial grade digital printer. They produce materials for outside organizations and area schools; some get internships with the Center for Arts Education.
Theres a biotechnology lab for students studying pharmaceuticals, an electrical wiring shop, robotics labs and multiple rooms filled with computers to accommodate the many technology-based CTE classes.
Students can earn industry certifications such as Adobe software (web design and graphic communications), CISCO networking, A+ computer maintenance (information technologies), AutoCAD and multiple certifications in automotive maintenance and repair.
Academic classes are more traditional with desks in rows and teachers up front, but there are variations, especially in English and history classes where group work is becoming more of the norm. A big push to improve students writing is evident throughout the school. For instance in algebra, students write about careers in mathematics and the kinds of courses one needs to succeed, such as trigonometry for electricians, and advanced topics including calculus and finite math for architects. In an automotive class, students research and write lengthy essays on topics such as the difference between rack and pinion vs. parallelogram steering systems. Teachers often ask students to present their work to the class.
Model UN is a popular activity that draws students from all programs. Ojeda says the program, which seniors take as a class for credit, exposes students to experiences they otherwise would not try. During a practice session for an upcoming competition, students role-played delegates from various nations as they debated international policy. Off in the corner a mother sat quietly observing her son, an automotive student, debate Sharia law as a delegate from a Middle East nation. He begged me to come watch him, said the mother who had just completed her night shift at work. Im so impressed. He really enjoys this and is learning so much.
Honors and Advanced Placement classes are offered in some subjects. Spanish is the only foreign language taught.
There are few elective classes mainly because students schedules are packed with academic and shop classes. Students can participate in PSAL sports as well a nice range of clubs and student organizations.
The schools graduation, college attendance and college readiness rates are well above the citywide average. Many students attend 2- and 4-year CUNY colleges, and some attend SUNY and private schools. A fulltime college counselor, along with guidance counselors and several teachers guide students through the college admissions process.
Special education: Special education students may apply to any program. There are a range of services and supports, including self-contained and ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes. An alternative assessment program teaches life skills and academic subjects to special needs students who are unable to take a traditional academic load because of severe disabilities. They learn basic skills for independent living in the schools apartment, a room equipped with a full kitchen, washer and dryer and a bathroom with a shower.
Admissions: Electrical Installation Technologies accepts students based on the educational option formula that is designed to ensure a mix of low, average and high-achieving students. All the other programs admit students based on grades, test scores and attendance record. (Laura Zingmond, November, 2014).
About the students
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Programs and Admissions
Prepares students for careers in one of the following areas: Graphic Arts, Commercial Art, or Web Design. Training in use of Adobe design software which allows students to pursue digital media, drawing, painting, digital photography, or web design as an area of focus.
Prepares students for careers in CISCO Networking, focused on building and securing wired and wireless networks. Information Technology Specialist program focuses on building, maintaining, and troubleshooting computers, mobile devices, and printers. Computer Forensics focuses on concepts of computers and transitions into security awareness, hacking, and mobile device and advanced computer forensics.
This program prepares students to enter the field of architecture, construction and engineering (ACE). Students learn drafting fundamental and advanced features of AutoCAD and 3-D modeling using Revit Architecture software.
Focuses on low voltage systems, residential wiring, motors, and motor controls. Students are also OSHA (Occupation Safety and Health Administration) certified.
Focuses on National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) in the approved areas of Automotive and Collision/Refinishing. Automotive: Auto Electric, Brakes, Engine Performance, Steering and Suspension. Collision/Refinishing: painting and refinishing, Non-Structural Damage Analysis, Repair Standards and Competencies.
Focus is centered on students first learning basic robot building instructions, programming, and movement then working with sensors and more complex robot behaviors. Projects incorporate STEM concepts.
Prepares students for careers in the Medical Assisting and Biotechnology professions. Medical Assisting focuses on the administrative duties and clinical skills required in a health care center. Biotechnology prepares students to work in a laboratory through simulation and lab settings.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP English, AP Psychology, AP Statistics, AP US Government and Politics, AP US History, AP World History
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Handball, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams
Cricket, Double Dutch