Partnership gets look at cooperative education program at KCSD

LOCK HAVEN — Daci Killinger, cooperative education coordinator at the Keystone Central School District, gave members of the Clinton County Economic Partnership a look inside the district’s program.

“This is my first year full time at Keystone Central (in this position),” she said.

Killinger was originally the culinary arts instructor at Central Mountain High School, later picking up the coordinator position on a part-time basis.

“It’s really a great pleasure to acquire this position,” she said. “We are making great strides in this work-based education program.”

Out of approximately 1,100 students in Central Mountain High School, 450 are enrolled in career and technical programs and that includes students from Bucktail High School in Renovo, Killinger said.

“In the past years it’s been around 200 students,” she continued.

The increase is due in part to the inclusion of ninth and tenth grade students being allowed to enroll in the program this school year, she said.

The programs range from basic academics to duel enrollment programs at area universities.

“We have a lot of students who take classes at LHU and Pennsylvania College of Technology,” she said.

The district offers a wide range of programs to the students that include work-based learning, capstone, internships and job shadowing.

Work based learning typically involved only twelfth grade students and is not limited to those outside of the academic sector of the program, Killinger said.

“I have students that are still taking career and technical education at school but they’re also going out to work in a different sector,” she said.

Their current enrollment in this program is 10 students this year with 10 more students slated to go out, Killinger said.

“There’s a good possibility that we’re going to have 20 students out,” she said.

This surpasses the district’s goal of enrolling 10 to 15 students in the work based learning program.

Another program specific to twelfth grade students is the capstone program.

“This is like a continuation for students that are enrolled in a career and technical program,” she said. “We can put them out into a work situation and let them build work experience.”

The district currently has 12 applicants in the year-long program, she continued.

Internships are another option that the district offers for eleventh and twelfth grade students.

These students come from the career and technical education classes or basic academic classes, Killinger said.

“We currently have students out on internships at The Express and at the probation office,” she said.

Last year the district sent 12 students to the Haven Skilled Nursing program at UPMC Lock Haven, she said.

The program lasts six weeks and students typically work approximately 40 to 45 paid hours.

“At the end of that process students are asked to write a report on what they learned… what that (experience) meant to them,” she said.

The final program offered is for all grades 9 through 12.

Job shadowing gives students the chance to get a taste of the career they may wish to pursue, Killinger said.

“This hasn’t really been something we’ve done a lot in the past few years,” she said. “We want to make sure, especially with our ninth and tenth grade students that this is the career they really want to do. Job shadowing is a really good way to do this.”

The program lasts approximately two days and totals about four hours, she said.

Killinger encouraged members of the partnership to consider participating in the program.

Lock Haven City Councilman Richard “Rick” Conklin commended the district for the programs they have in place.

“In the time I spent at Lock Haven Hospital, we had some incredible people in the therapy department,” he said. “It really helps them understand this is where they want to go. I don’t think anyone can say ‘I want to be a therapist or a technologist’ without seeing what they have to do first.”

Killinger agreed with Conklin’s statement.

“That’s why we’re really trying to implement it at ninth and tenth grade,” she said.

Dan Harger asked Killinger if the district planned to target some of the young people for specific jobs in the future.

“We do some recruitment in the eighth grade, and we have some students come over from the middle school,” Killinger said. “We also have fifth graders come over.”

Dave Harger also thanked Killinger for her hardwork over the years with regards to the district and the Partnership.

“I just want to thank you personally for everything you’ve done for the partnership,” he said.