For students coming to Marist High School this year, taking classes for future careers may have become a little easier, as the school expands its technology in order to prepare students for the next level of their education.
As with many other fields, technology has allowed smaller schools like Marist to offer programs that larger schools have resources to provide.
Three years ago, when Marist High School opened its new library media center, officials there envisioned using technology to expand its reach and provide students with opportunities that the school could not provide within its walls.
Although each year has realized a little bit more of that goal, this year appears to be taking a larger step toward providing students with a global education.
In some ways, Marist ties together the Catholic communities in both Bayonne and Jersey City, a co-ed high school that draws students from many locations, but particularly Jersey City and Bayonne.
A Catholic college preparatory, co-education school, it generally has a population around 500 students each year in grades 9 through 12.
Several programs this year connect to other schools in Bayonne and in Jersey City, allowing Marist students to take advantage of arts and other programs and to mentor students through student partnering.
One of the more interesting additions to this year’s curriculum is a program called “Project Accelerate.”
This is a gifted and talented program that teams up with Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School in Jersey City and All Saints Academy in Bayonne.
This is an enrichment program that explores subjects beyond the usual scope of study. Eighth graders will team up with elementary students for the first semester to study Korean culture, including history, literature, arts, food and other aspects. The Korean Cultural Society will be making a presentation at Marist on Oct. 15, wearing native garments and presenting foods native to Korea.
In the second semester, students will study research paper writing.
Seventh graders get into the act in the third semester, when they use math and science to become the CSI of Marist High School in a possible study of forensics.
Through the use of its media center and its science classes, Marist is hoping to prepare students for medical careers – including doctor, nurse, or any related field. This is a new program offered this year starting with the freshman class, and about 15 kids have signed up.
“This could even include students who have an interest in becoming veterinarians,” said Brother Steve Schlitte, principal at Marist.
The program will include study, and an internship at some kind of medical facility or veterinarian’s office. The student will also have to perform volunteer work.
The goal is to prepare students to enter preparatory schools with a medical focus.
“We hired a director for the program who also teaches,” Brother Steve said.
Roxann D’Allessio, the program director, has worked on a high school level, has taught in medical preparation programs, and has a theoretical and practical knowledge that the school needed.
A teacher at the Good Counsel in Newark for 12 years, she left teaching for a while, but came to Marist because she wanted to teach in a Catholic school, Brother Steve said.
This program is something of an outgrowth of the media center, Brother Steve said.
“We starting noticing a lot of kids who were interested in going to college for nursing,” he said.
Alice J. Miesnik, assistant vice principal for academics, said this has been a growing interest for the last few years, and that this year, the school is providing a way for students to begin study in these fields and to better prepare these students when they move on to college and the next level of their education.
The school is also making an effort to “go green” through new uniformed email accounts for students, online resources, and new global virtual Internet technology – which will allow the school to get involved with a global service, where Marist contributes a teacher to a vast network, pays a fee, and then can have students access a variety of programs taught at other schools online that include sciences and other classes the school could not otherwise provide.
This includes work in CAD, DNA technology, biology and other subjects, and the school has 15 students signed up for each of the two semesters.
Expanding the walls of the school has been part of the overall goal of Marist over the last few years, and the joint Visual Performing Arts program allows Jersey City students at Marist to join students from the Jersey City Arts High School. Students attend programs at NJCU, getting their own focused classes on performing arts, choral music, and other aspects of study in the arts.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.