Some lower income residents and immigrants in Syracuse may have a better option to acquire diplomas and career-ready skills when the OnTech Charter High School opens in the summer of 2018. The school’s mission is to deliver an education that’s tailor-made to prepare marginalized students for the workforce using a technique called project-based learning, in addition to Regents coursework. OnTECH’s founder and president, Ellen Eagen, explains how different this is from the test taking culture Americans are used to.
“They come together to solve a real problem relating to math, relating to science using their literacy skills to do that. And they have to work together to address the issue and come out with a project at the end to present to the groups.”
The school is gearing itself towards accessibility, with a 10 A.M. start time to better mesh with the natural schedule of teenage minds. It’s also being built in a centralized location to eliminate as many transportation barriers as possible.
“We’re gonna try to make sure that Centro is able to drop our students off at a location that serves our students and also the neighborhood. In addition to that we’re going to be offering bicycles to students so that they get cycled to school so that there’s no issue about… well, I couldn’t get to school.”
Eagen’s goals stand-out now more than ever as the Trump administration continues to feed into biases against some of the people her school aims to teach. She thinks it’s important that people know Syracuse is welcoming to refugees and hopes that the OnTECH School will serve as a beacon to spread that message.
“The messaging out about serving at risk populations, serving refugee communities, will by gathering in number… speak louder than some of the rhetoric that is coming out of the Trump Administration about marginalized communities.”
The school received its charter in December and is working hard toward opening its doors in the Summer of 2018. Click here to find out more.