Q: What is Tri-Tech Skills Center?
Answer: Tri-Tech Skills Center (TTSC) is one of 11 skills centers in Washington. Skills Centers are dedicated to offering high-quality, tuition-free technical and professional training for high school aged students.
TTSC operates as a cooperative school of seven local school districts: Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, Finley, Columbia Burbank, Kiona-Benton and North Franklin. Tri-Tech also serves students from the Prosser School District, online schools and home-school students. Tri-Tech serves as a branch campus of all area high schools providing programs that would normally not be offered in a comprehensive high school due to high operative and equipment costs or not enough student enrollment at the school.
TTSC is designed to help students get a head start on their career goals by providing focused training in specific professions. Programs are designed in three-period blocks allowing the extended time to not only learn the theory of a subject, but to also get hands-on experience. The programs are personalized. Instructor-to-student ratios is low, allowing the skills center staff the time to get to know each student and address their unique learning styles.
Q: Who can attend?
- Students from area high schools aged 16 through 20 who have not earned a high school diploma.
- Students from private and online schools aged 16 through 20 who have not earned a high school diploma.
- Home-schooled students aged 16 through 20 who are registered with their local school district.
- Students aged 16 through 20 who are working on or have earned their GED, on a space available basis.
Q: What are the types of enrollment?
Answer: There are three types of enrollment for programs. Below is a description of each. A key for the enrollment type of the program is located on the Equivalency Credit List noting enrollment type.
Open Enrollment Programs
Several programs are open enrollment programs. These programs are designed to accommodate mid-semester entry. The curriculum has been designed for students to work at their own pace and earn variable credit depending on the time of entry.
Semester Entry Programs
Most programs at Tri-Tech are designed for semester entry, allowing for new students to enter at the semester break.
Limited Enrollment Programs
There are a hand full of programs that are full year programs only. Due to highly specialized training, immunizations, safety instruction and background checks, entry is allowed only at the beginning of the year.
Q: How is Tri-Tech funded?
Answer: Tri-Tech is an extension or branch campus of local high schools. Tri-Tech is a public school offering tuition-free career and technical education.
In the spring of 2007, new language related to the skills center student FTE was adopted. The new rules allow for the following:
Taken from the 2007-08 Enrollment Reporting Handbook, Pgs. 17-18
If a student enrolls in both a high school and a skills center, they may be claimed up to a total 1.60 FTE based upon their enrolled hours. The 1.00 FTE limit applies separately to the high school FTE and the skills center FTE.
Example 1: A student is enrolled in the skills center for three hours a day, five days a week and also is enrolled in their high school for three hours a day, five days a week.
The student’s FTE would be split as follows:
0.60 – for the skills center
0.60 – for the high school
Example 2: A student is enrolled in high school six hours a day, five days a week and also is enrolled in the skills center three hours a day, five days a week.
The student’s FTE would be split as follows:
0.60 – for the skills center
1.00 – for the high school
What does this mean for the skill center student?
- Provides state funding for additional options for zero hour and seventh hour academic support classes at both the skills center and at high schools
- Provides state funding for options for late afternoon expansion of course offerings at Tri-Tech, i.e. 2:45 to 6 p.m., Monday - Thursday.
Q: What about summer school?
Answer: TTSC summer school is an opportunity available to high school age students including incoming freshman. Summer classes are generally 6 1/2 hours a day for 14 days.
Classes range from:
- Introductory classes of our existing programs. Students take these to get a taste of the class.
- Extensions of programs to allow for deeper learning in a content area. These are advanced placement experiences for current students. An example is the AYES summer automotive internship.
- Classes offered to allow students the opportunity to take classes that they may not have been able to fit into their schedule and for students to work ahead to open space in their schedule to attend a full TTSC program. Examples of these programs are Fiber Arts, Computer Applications, Career and Consumer Connections, Family Health and Nutrition which meets the health graduation requirement.
Enrollment begins in the spring, with most classes starting right after school is over. For up to date TTSC summer school information please click here.
Q: What is the college connection?
Answer: Tri-Tech Skills Center works closely with Columbia Basin College and other post-secondary schools to provide advanced placement and credits for high school students. More than 80 percent of Tri-Tech Skills Center programs have a post-secondary connection, significantly reducing student training time and costs beyond high school.
Students at Tri-Tech Skills Center can earn college credit via the following:
- Articulation. The articulated agreement between Tri-Tech and the post-secondary institution states that a student who successfully completes an articulated program at Tri-Tech can enroll in a corresponding college program and, upon completion of the first quarter, receive advanced placement and college credit in the corresponding program.
- Dual Credit. The program is offered through various Tech Prep consortia in the state. The majority of the Direct Credit agreements are with Columbia Basin College. The direct credit articulation agreements allow students to earn college credit if they maintain an 85 percent or better over the course of two semesters.
The Direct Credit program provides a number of benefits to students, parents and teachers. Some of those benefits include the following:
- Students can earn college credit for professional/technical courses taken within the high school that are managed through the articulation process.
- Students can streamline their secondary and post-secondary education by not enrolling for coursework that repeats competencies they have already gained through high school classes.
- Students can spend less on tuition, fees, and books.
- Students can generally use up to 15 credits of professional/technical coursework toward their transfer degree if they choose to continue on to a four-year university. As in all cases the post-secondary institutions have the final say on acceptance of any credit.
- Direct Credit promotes a smooth transition for students from secondary to post-secondary institutions.
- Students can gain higher skill levels - while not spending valuable time in college retaking courses already completed in the high school.
- The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges reports that students who receive direct credit: (1) generally show a higher grade point average than their peers while in college, (2) are more likely to transition to their local community college, and (3) are more likely to stay in college.
Q: What are equivalency credits?
Answer: All programs at the skills center offer successful completers 1.5 occupational or elective credits per semester. Most of the programs at Tri-Tech Skills Center offer an equivalency credit option as well. All students enrolled in the program complete the work required for the equivalency credit whether they need it or not. Instructors keep grades for each of the equivalencies their program offers. These credits are reported each semester to the home high school. For a student to earn an equivalency credit they must successfully pass the program and equivalency portions of the curriculum and earn full credit for two consecutive semesters.
The Technical English equivalency credit is based on a skills center wide curriculum, therefore students may earn the Technical English credit only once while at Tri-Tech.
Equivalency credits are utilized at the discretion of the sending school district.
The equivalency credits earned through Tri-Tech Skills Center meet Washington Opportunity Scholarship requirements.
Q: What are the Tri-Tech portfolio and culminating projects?
Answer: Tri-Tech Skills Center has a portfolio requirement in each program housed on the skills center campus. Students are required to have at the minimum evidence of the following:
- Personal statement or mission statement
- Letter of application (cover letter)
- Employability skills rubric/certification
- Program competencies checklist
- Leadership and school activities
- Evidence of student work
- Select and complete a project
- Write a reflective paper regarding the project and its impact on the student
- Complete a presentation regarding the project
- High School and Beyond Plan
Many of these items are also home high school components as well. Tri-Tech instructors work with students and the home high school to not duplicate assignments and coordinate efforts in the completion of culminating project requirements.
For a student to complete the culminating project components of the portfolio they must successfully pass the program and retain full credit.
For Kennewick School District students, the Tri-Tech portfolio completely satisfies the culminating project graduation requirement.
High School and Beyond Plan graduation requirement information
The state of Washington requires a High School and Beyond Plan as a graduation requirement. Tri-Tech Skills Center has adopted and incorporated the High School and Beyond Plan into the student portfolio requirement. All students attending Tri-Tech Skills Center will complete a student portfolio.
For Kennewick School District students only: Tri-Tech students will meet the KSD navigation requirement through the Tri-Tech student portfolio activity of their Tri-Tech class. If the student is a junior, the student will receive a P for each semester that they receive a passing grade at Tri-Tech. For seniors, students will meet the navigation requirement (High School and Beyond Plan) if they pass Tri-Tech for a full year. Students who return to their home high school at semester will re-enroll in the navigation program. Juniors at Tri-Tech who return to their home high school their senior year will re-enroll in the navigation program.
Q: What about certification?
Answer: Many of our programs prepare a student for professional or technical certification. National certifications are recognized anywhere in the United States. As an example, American Culinary Federation Certification in the Culinary Arts program makes students eligible for higher wages, qualifies them for scholarships and allows for advanced placement in articulated post-secondary schools.