Attica educational facility offers unique opportunities


ATTICA — The Lapeer County Education and Technology Center (Ed-Tech) in Attica has for decades served as an educational oasis for Lapeer County students interested in learning the trades and numerous other skill-based fields.

To continue meeting its mission to provide such opportunities for young adults, the facility will soon undergo a $3.77 million expansion.

Once completed in autumn of 2023, the expansion will provide extra parking and needed classroom space to accommodate the school’s Early Childhood Center and its Careers in Education and Digital Media Arts programs.

Flint-based THA Architects has been contracted to oversee the construction process.

Digital Media Arts students prepare to film an episode of The Edge, a news magazine program. An upcoming building expansion will provide more classroom space for Digital Media Arts and other programs.

Steven Zott, Superintendent of the Lapeer Intermediate School District (ISD), believes the expansion fits in with district’s vision for the future.

Zott noted that each year, 40-45 percent of Lapeer County’s high school juniors and seniors take advantage of the 18 regional career and technical education (CTE) programs offered at the Ed-Tech Center.

“‘Rigor’ and ‘relevant’ are two key words for CTE,” Zott said. “It is important that our programs be relevant and closely connected to current practices in the field.

“That applies to the types of equipment and/or technology being used. The programs must also have the necessary ‘rigor’ to prepare our students for careers and/or continued learning opportunities.”

Zott pointed out that about 70 percent of students who complete a CTE program will continue their learning at a trade or technical school, a community college, or at the university level.

“Some students choose a path that involves entering the workforce first, and continuing their education later (avoiding debt),” said Zott. “So it is important that we are preparing students for continuing learning as well.”

With that in mind, Zott said local school districts are working hard to expand opportunities for students to earn post-secondary credits while still in high school.

Those avenues can include advanced placement (AP) courses, dual enrollment opportunities, and the early college pathway.

Zott said each CTE program has articulation agreements with colleges and/or universities.

“Articulation means the CTE program has the same content as an equivalent college course, and the college/university has agreed to award college credit if the student completes the program.” He added that students in CTE programs can also enroll in the STEMM Academy Early College and earn up to 48 college credits while still in high school, and at no cost to the student.

“In short,” Zott said, “the CTE curriculum offered to high school students can provide post-secondary as well.”

While some students who will choose not to continue education after high school, Zott said it is important that the school provide hands-on experiences designed to prepare them for entering the workforce.

Work placement

The Lapeer County Ed Tech Center also offers a work placement program, conducted by the school’s Workplace Coordinator Bob O’Dell and the teaching staff, who work hard to develop relationships with employers who can provide work site experiences for students.

Those opportunities include trips to business and/or industrial facilities, employers visiting classrooms, job shadowing, paid and unpaid work experience and apprenticeships.

Competent staff

Zott said the school’s staff members are a highly competent and committed group of people who have a passion for the hands-on approach, which is paramount to CTE.

“Our teachers and instructors are with their students for two-and-a-half to three hours each day,” Zott said. “During that time, they get to know their students very well and are able to develop strong teacher/student relationships.

“The staff cares deeply for their students’ success,” he continued. “Many of them have been active on state-level curriculum committees.”

Zott noted that each instructor maintains an Advisory Committee which includes representatives from business and industry.

“They meet with their respective committees to discuss their programs and to gain input and insight from the field, which helps us steer our curriculum and program direction.”

The Lapeer County Education and Technical Center is located at 690 N. Lake Pleasant Rd. in Attica.

For further information, call 810-664-1124.