BY JOE MARVILLI
Martin Van Buren High School’s co-location held its opening ceremony last week, with students, educators and elected officials on hand to welcome the new addition.
On Oct. 3, the Business Technology Early College High School, also known as BTECH, celebrated the start of its first school year with speeches and announcements in the auditorium it now shares with Martin Van Buren. The six-year program is the result of a partnership between the Dept. of Education, Queensborough Community College and software corporation SAP SE.
BTECH will enable students to earn a high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree in computer information systems or Internet technology. Students at BTECH are partnered with academic advisers from QCC and SAP mentors to help them find the career path right for them. Job training, internships and apprenticeships are available for students from SAP.
There are 115 students in the inaugural class.
“What’s amazing to me is that we have places and institutions that are highly competitive for access. In this case, it was their desire, it was their interest that really brought them to us,” QCC president Diane Call said. “They’re going to be so prepared to be part of their community and to be part of the world of business and to be successful.”
The road to BTECH’s opening was a rocky one. The proposal of a co-location at Martin Van Buren was met with protests by the school’s students and teachers as well as criticism from elected officials. Leaders were particularly upset that the co-location was pushed through rapidly, with what they saw as minimal community input.
Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) attended the BTECH opening ceremony. While he said he was happy for the students, he was still frustrated with the way the school came into being.
“I wish all these students much success. It was unfortunate the way it was rolled out when it was first suggested, in the middle of the night in an email. But we have a new administration and they’re going to work on trying to work together with the community,” he said. “From what I understand, only a handful of students here are from District 26. Ideally, we’d have a lot more than that.”
Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) also weighed in on the co-location.
“It almost guarantees graduates, if they want, a job in technology,” he said. “At first, people were very hesitant from the community. So far, it’s been an ideal partnership.”
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.