Cultivating Kids For College

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Mike Pointer, the welding teacher at the Regional Technical Institute in Reno says the instructors take their jobs very seriously because they know they are the ones who provide professional training that will transfer into the job market after a short time with these students.
"They have an interest and now our jobs are to peak that interest and give them the skills, so that when they leave the program, they can go to post-secondary opportunities."

Not only are about half of the students attending a regular high school in the district, they get to earn community college credit if they get A's or B's in the technical courses offered at RTI, giving them a jump start on a college career before even thinking about what college to attend.
"It's a 2-hour a day, five days a week class. And, in this class, we cover all of the welding processes that you find ina welding shop."

Jon Reyes is a part-time student from Wooster High School, who actually got accepted into the graphic design program at RTI as a freshman... something most have to wait until they are juniors or "I'm interested in doing 3D design, imaging and animation for a high-end company such as pixar, dreamworks, something like that."

Jim Burke, the digital arts teacher, says the graduates of his class boast higher education and great paying jobs.
"We just had a graduate from the master's program at Stanford University. We have about seven students at University of Las Vegas in the architecture. We have three local architects..."

The Washoe County School District has a 77% graduation rate for our seniors, and only 49-percent are graduating with a standard diploma according to the Nevada Report Card.
But, the teachers at RTI say their students are not only graduating, but they're ready to enter the workplace or higher education completely prepared.

"What we're trying to do is prepare kids for jobs of the future. So, we're getting them to adjust and understand some of the technology, but be ready to make that change of the future."

This is the first year that RTI is a diploma granting high school, before they offered only part-time classes for students attending another Washoe County high school.
There are 100 full-time students this year, and they hope to double that next year.