SouthTech Schools, a recognized system of schools within Palm Beach County, is comprised of SouthTech Academy, an A-rated high school; SouthTech Preparatory Academy, a middle school; SouthTech Adult Education, and SouthTech Success Center, for students at risk of not graduating high school. SouthTech has served Palm Beach County for more than 40+ years with deep roots in its community and foundation laid on career and technical training.
Imagine a place where high school students can earn a Practical Nursing License, receive industry certification as an automotive technician, enroll in the only high school motorcycle program in Florida, or earn multiple industry certifications in cyber security or computer diagnostics. These are just a few examples of the 13 career academies offered at SouthTech Academy. In addition, SouthTech Preparatory offers two career academies to its middle school students, as well as a STEAM focused school-wide curriculum, so students may explore their own career and education paths forward. Lastly, SouthTech Adult Education offers more than 40 intense job training classes and pre-apprentice/apprenticeship opportunities for individuals seeking employment transitions.
Success stories include students who graduated with specialized skills and certification that prepared them for higher learning at a post-secondary institution, entrepreneurs who launched successful businesses in the community, and graduates who are now employed professionals and are a vibrant part of the local economy.
SouthTech continues to be an incredible asset to Palm Beach County’s talent pipeline, training the county’s next generation workforce. SouthTech Schools is part of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County’s Branding and Marketing of Education Task Force, a group comprised of education leaders throughout Palm Beach County.
Here’s a Q&A with Jay Boggess, Deputy Superintendent of SouthTech Schools:
- Are there any new programs in the pipeline at SouthTech Schools?
The SouthTech Success Center is currently recruiting for its inaugural class and will open its doors August 2019. The Center implements an innovative approach to enable the success of students who have previously struggled in traditional school settings and are at risk of not receiving their high school diploma. The focus is to prepare students for careers in the community by providing them with opportunities to earn recognized industry certifications and attain high-paying jobs.
- What’s your favorite success story from a student graduate?
Two stories come immediately to mind: Dr. Alvancin Louis graduated from SouthTech’s Medical Sciences Academy in 2008 as Salutatorian of his class. He went on to graduate from the University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine in 2016. He serves in the U.S. Air Force and is a general surgery resident with University of Florida Health – Jacksonville. Then, there is a more local success story, Vice Boynton Beach Mayor Christina Romelus, who graduated from SouthTech’s Medical Sciences Academy. She went on to receive her bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and master’s degree in biomedical sciences from Barry University. She is a humanitarian who has now devoted her life to public service.
- What would you like industry leaders to know about SouthTech?
SouthTech Schools is the premier provider of career education in Palm Beach County. Together, community businesses and SouthTech Schools are building the next generation workforce. We’re looking to expand our partnerships with local businesses to provide more opportunities for students, including internships, job shadowing, part-time positions and hiring of graduates. If you’re not in the position to put our students to work, you can help by facilitating connections with local businesses, partnering with us on mutually beneficial programs, serving on academy advisory boards and more.
- What’s a new, innovative project that students have been working on in one of the academy programs this year?
SouthTech Schools is hosting its Boynton Beach Short Film Festival from April 30 – May 5 with generous support from The Virginia & Harvey Kimmel Family Foundation. This festival is driven by students in SouthTech’s Digital Film & Broadcast Academy and celebrates the rich diversity of South Florida through student films, as well as national and international films. The Boynton Beach Short Film Festival is the only film festival in the nation conceived by students who learn filmmaking and marketing/event planning as part of their high school curriculum.
- How has Palm Beach County’s collaborative environment helped SouthTech thrive?
A collaborative culture is critically essential in today’s public education. Essentially, SouthTech Schools and the Palm Beach County community are reframing what success looks like for this generation of young people. We are instilling in them that it’s not college that equates to success, but it is a career that equates to success. We use college, university, trade school, and the military as part of the pathway to higher learning to achieve the career path of a student’s choice and passion. With this kind of mission and mindset, SouthTech Academy’s class of 2018 posted a 98% graduation rate with nearly 96% of the graduates leaving with an Advanced Placement credit, dual enrollment course, and/or industry certification.