One look at the courses available at Sheridan Technical High school and College and you may be ready for a new career. From Accounting and Automotive to Surgical Technology and Web Design with about 40 other specialties in between, Broward County Public Schools has a path available for any kid who doesn’t necessarily see themselves as University or Military bound. Although, said Lynn Goldman, Community Relations Coordinator for the Broward Technical Colleges & Technical High Schools, which include Sheridan Tech here in Hollywood, they have a nearly 100% graduation rate and that almost all of the high school graduates do go on to college –and not just any college, she pointed out, but very often Ivy League and other prestigious universities.
And, she continued, when they get there, they’re prepared.
“Academics here are taught at a very high level,” Goldman explained. “Everything is Honors or Advanced Placement. These kids do plan to go on and get advanced degrees. Most of them know early on that they have this passion, and they’re getting their technical education at the same time as they’re doing their academics, so if they’re planning to be a dentist, they are part of the dental lab program. If they want to be a doctor or a nurse/practitioner, they come out of here as an LPN, so they are able to work in the field with full industry credentials while they’re in university.
Programs available at Sheridan Tech are many: cosmetology and massage, business services such as accounting and legal administration, computer and network support systems, a full range of medical services, everything to do with driving and automotive, construction skills from cabinet-making to electricity, plumbing and HVAC, Early Childhood education and that staple of South Florida life, Hospitality and Tourism.
Students at Sheridan Technical fall into three categories. Full-time high-school students, part-time “dual-enrolled” high school students from partner schools like McArthur, and adults.
The high school students spend half their day in academics and half their day in tech programs. When they’re freshmen and sophomores, they’re in stringent career exploration programs where they visit classes and workplaces and shadow workers so that by 10th grade, they can make educated choices about where they want to focus.
Dual-enrolled students go to Sheridan once a week for their electives and receive their technical certifications that way, while adults — the “college” students — choose and pay for their own courses.
“It’s a technical education,” continued Goldman. “ What we do here is about industry certifications, not developed by us but by the industries. We’re teaching what industry wants.”
Whether they go on to college, work while they’re in college or go on to the workforce, all of this is free to them while they are in public school.
“You used to have to choose, vocational or academic,” stated Goldman. “Here, we’ve been able to marry the two. We’ve changed our name to colleges because we articulate to other colleges; for example, when you leave here having completed our culinary program, you’re only 15 credits short of an AA degree in hospitality management.”
She further explained that the adult and the high school technical programs are identical.
“Our high school students, our adult students, our dual-enrolled students, they’re all taking the same programs for the same industry certifications.
“It’s the same program, it’s the student that makes the difference.”