Mike Ritzius works with students at the Integrated Studies Program, a project-based pilot program inside the Camden County Technical School, in New Jersey. Students work to master state content with the help of teacher-advisors and project-management applications, primarily Project Foundry.
Chad: Would you please describe your school for us?
Mike: The Integrated Studies Program (ISP) is a pilot at Camden County Technical School (CCTS). The school as a whole is a county-wide technical school, serving 32 sending districts with the largest being the city of Camden, NJ. The majority of the students come from challenging socio-economic situations, making the entire school eligible for Title 1 funds. Students choose to come to CCTS to pursue a trade but recently, the district has been adding more professionally minded career areas. As a whole, the district delivers content through very traditional means.
The ISP approach is 180 degrees different from the rest of the school. The program was piloted in the 2009-2010 school year with five advisors and 100 students, now down to 87. The attrition rate for the rest of the district is 27% due mostly to the high mobility of the student body and the rigorous demands of CCTS as a whole when compared to the larger sending districts.
Related: Small Learning Communities.