ICS and Hutchinson Public Schools Team Up for Hands-On High School Student Opportunity

Connecting high school education with future education and career opportunities is the goal of “TigerPath Academies. ” Hutchinson Public Schools has pioneered a unique path program to provide their students with hands-on experience before entering the formative years of higher education and ultimately, their careers. Tyler Stenzel, a recently-graduated Senior at Hutchinson Public Schools, recently partnered with ICS Consulting Inc.’s Dan Thompson on a unique internship opportunity

Thompson, ICS’ Superintendent for the Hutchinson High School project, said “this portion of the building is being designed around the TigerPath concept and I am confident that both the students and the community will be very impressed when it’s completed.” The additions and renovations at Hutchinson High School, approved as part of the $44.95 Million bond referendum in November of 2015, involve major renovations and additions at the existing high school including core classroom spaces, science, art, FACS, band, health, physical education, resource commons and collaborative/group learning areas. Major areas to be renovated include the existing kitchen and serving areas, auditorium, locker rooms and industrial technology areas to support programmatic initiatives for the Tigers.

Tyler spent an hour of each day working alongside and shadowing Thompson five days a week. Tyler said “some days we looked at the job on the project. It reassures me that that’s what I want to do.” This “out-of-classroom,” real-world experience has solidified Tyler’s future career path in the construction field. The STREAM program (Mechatronics, Construction, Engineering, Automotive, Renewable Energy, Manufacturing, Design and Agriculture) included a 60-day term with a 20% minimum requirement of in-classroom experience. This in-classroom experience included cultivating professional development skills and class-workplace professionalism. According to Hutchinson High School Principal Patrick Walsh, 50% of all Hutchinson High School students participate in STREAM, not including the other three academic academies the District currently offers.

Hutchinson Superintendent Daron VanderHeiden said “what we’re really shooting for is all of our seniors have some type of hands-on experience in a career area that they might be going off to school in or they might want to graduate from high school into that career. Tyler is one of the first that has actually been put into the program.” The other academies of the District include Business Finance, Human Services and SciHi (Healthcare/Science). Tyler, on his way to South Dakota State University for Construction Management, has already taken courses such as Architectural Drafting, Residential Construction and CAD Courses through this specific program. The District partners with businesses and organizations within the community directly to to provide hands-on experience for all students of Hutchinson High.

Walsh stated “we believe in comprehensive education. I want to have a high school in which every kid has the best preparation in the things that we offer…we made an explicit doubling-down in the fact that we are going to be the best comprehensive high school not just in having teachers but the programs that support great teaching/learning.”

ICS Consulting, Inc. provided pre-referendum assistance and is currently providing Project Representative Services for the Hutchinson High School improvements as part of the overall referendum projects. In collaboration with LHB Architects, construction for the building is set to be completed in September 2018.