News 4 Buffalo

Niagara County school keeps students engaged in hands-on learning programs

NIAGARA COUNTY (WIVB) – A school district in Niagara County is keeping students engaged through its technology and engineering programs.

Royalton-Hartland Central School District Superintendent Dr. Hank Stopinski says the programs have helped students during a challenging year.

The district says throughout the pandemic they’ve noticed more students are expressing interest in both these programs, which require hands-on courses such as drafting, manufacturing and computer science.

“There’s rigor that’s been built into these courses and our students all have to complete their English, math, science and social studies as part of their core requirements, but the engineering, our CAD courses, all the things we do outside, our BOCES partnerships enhance the learning for all of our students that gets them engaged and wanting to be in school,” he said.

Stopinski says over the last few years the district has been investing in its technology infrastructure, which has helped them when they had to switch to remote learning at the start of the pandemic.
He says there were some learning curves but he credits the teachers and students for devoting their time sorting it out.

“It’s a small community. It’s always been that way,” he said. “It’s always been about our young people. Every person wants to support them and the teachers do whatever it takes to make sure that the learning continues and granted we have some hiccups but they continue to work day in and day out throughout the course of the week and as long into the night.”

During a class on Tuesday, students heard from a former graduate about how the technology and engineering program contributed to his collegiate and professional success.
about 25 percent of high school students are participating in these programs in a hybrid learning model.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.