Guest Editorial: PCAPS Board responds to questions about innovative high school program
As members of the Advisory Board of the Park City Center for Advanced Professional Studies, we share some thoughts about our program, known as "PCCAPS."
PCCAPS presents a new and innovative approach to college and career preparation. It is adapted from a successful program that leaders of our school system identified as a model to enrich the educational experience of our students. We believe that PCCAPS adds a unique opportunity for students to learn and apply professional skills in a project-based environment, working with dedicated partners.
We are not alone in this view. Governor Herbert visited PCCAPS last spring and said,
"This (PCCAPS) is a win-win all the way around and if we can replicate this in the other 40 school districts around the state, we would in fact, raise the bar significantly when it comes to creating new business entrepreneurs, people who can think outside the box, using some creativity and be better prepared to compete in the real-world marketplace." (Deseret News May 7, 2014)
The Utah Department of Workforce Services and our many partners have also supported PCCAPS with startup grants and opportunity, for which we are most grateful.
In our first year, 122 students took part in PCCAPS classes and 41 mentors assisted our students with 66 projects. To measure the effectiveness of PCCAPS, each semester all PCCAPS business partners (mentors and clients), parents and students are surveyed to provide feedback on the program. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. All faculty and staff at PCCAPS actively address recommendations including providing more professionalism and business communication training for the students. Survey results can be found on the PCCAPS website at caps.pcschools.us.
The faculty, administration and Board of Education continue their efforts to strengthen PCCAPS. In that regard, it is reasonable to plan for expanded courses and to develop the best facilities and programs that are practical. We think it is a "false choice" to consider one building project or program versus another. Strengthening education is about "and" rather than "or". We applaud the Superintendent’s decision to include the PCCAPS program in her recently recommended study of facility needs for the Park City Schools.
We appreciate greatly that the leaders of our school and our partners have added PCCAPS to the opportunities our students have. We expect the PCCAPS experience will inspire our students to new levels of achievement and help them make informed choices about their education and career plans. As members of the Advisory Board, we are advocates for the PCCAPS program.
“If you cannot love your neighbor as yourself, no matter who they are, start by looking in the mirror and see what changes need to be made from within.”