Pickens Technical College is heavily involved in its surrounding community in Aurora, as you probably know by now if you’ve been following PTC’s blog at all. PTC works in conjunction with Vista PEAK Preparatory, a school within the Aurora Public Schools district that takes a nontraditional approach to education, working with parents and students to craft pathways for students in order to prepare them for the next stage of their education. The Vista PEAK Campus is a combination of the philosophy of the district’s strategic plan, called VISTA 2015, the Governor’s P-20 Council, the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids based on Senate Bill 212, and the Colorado Department of Education’s strategic plan, called Forward Thinking. This approach to education allows Vista PEAK Prep to partner with schools like PTC at the next level for technical training for students interested in a particular job skill.
Vista PEAK’s PoWeR program allows students to take electives in fields and subjects they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. The Program sends students to PTC to learn from college-level instructors about technical skills and programs they need to learn to go into a particular field. This Spring PoWeR Session has students going to PTC to take courses in Cosmetology, Graphic Design, and Automotive Technology. Students with the PoWeR program are taking a course in Cosmetology taught by the Cosmetology department staff at PTC. Some are learning about Graphic Design by attending the Graphic Design Jam, where they get to try to create their own designs and receive feedback on them from PTC staff. Auto engineer students are also signed up to take part in PTC’s Go Kart Academy, in which students work together to build their own go karts.
Vista PEAK’s PoWeR program opens doors for students who want to learn a skill and be in a better position to move on to technical school while they are still in high school or after they graduate from high school. Vista PEAK also prepares students for four-year colleges as well, but PTC accepts many students from this school who want to take part in their technical college programs. This system creates a clear career path for many students at Vista PEAK—moving from high school to PTC, and using PTC’s influences and connections in the business community of Aurora and Denver to place them in careers they’ll love. This is one of PTC’s many connections with the local school district and educational community that surrounds it.