Back to School: Franklin County Tech launches new vet program, more AP courses

  • Students at Franklin County Technical School’s freshman orientation got laptops that they’ll keep for their four years in school. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

Staff Writer
Published: 8/29/2019 5:44:48 PM

MONTAGUE — Franklin County Technical School is expanding its academics with new courses and a veterinary science program, the first new shop class at Franklin Tech since the school opened in 1975, according to Superintendent Rick Martin.

The new shop also makes Franklin Tech the only veterinary training school in Franklin County, Martin said. Students will graduate certified to work in a veterinary office as a vet’s assistant, or can go into a pre-vet program or seek a vet technician certification in college, he added.

The vet program is only open to freshmen, and will grow each year as new classes enroll, Martin said.

This year’s freshman class with about 150 students is the largest Franklin Tech has had in two decades, Martin said. Administrators believe that the introduction of the new vet program was at least partly responsible for the increase in enrollment, and hope the trend continues.

The lack of any similar program in Franklin County was seen by school administrators and Tech School Committee members as an unmet industry need, as well as an opportunity for Franklin Tech, Martin said.

Planning for the vet program took about two years. Franklin Tech had recently ended its business technical program due to low enrollment, not necessarily expecting to replace it with something new, Martin said.

The new shop space and equipment are totally paid for with a grant of $275,000, Martin announced, which Franklin Tech officially received on Thursday.

AP courses

The other major addition to Franklin Tech’s academic offerings is a new Advanced Placement (AP) statistics class, said Principal Brian Spadafino.

This makes for a total of five AP classes at Franklin Tech, Spadafino said. Advanced classes cater to an increasing group of students who want to go to college, he explained.

“Kids want to be challenged in their academic course work,” Spadafino said.

Spadafino added that Franklin Tech’s sports programs continue to be well supported, with plenty of student interest.

“There’s a lot of positive energy,” Spadafino said. “We’ve got a vibrant community here that’s supportive, and our kids are awesome.”

Getting oriented

Freshman orientation was on Aug. 22. Since Franklin Tech draws students from all over the county, orientation was the first opportunity for new freshmen to meet their classmates and to get to know the school.

“I have a feel for where everything is now,” said Henry Jones, a freshman who lives in Colrain and attended Mohawk Trail Regional School until this year.

Every student at orientation got a laptop that they will keep for their four years at Franklin Tech. Franklin Tech is increasing its use of email for communicating with students, Assistant Principal John Carey said, “just like in the real world.”

Students at orientation set up their new school email accounts, which they used to write letters to their parents and school administrators. Some found that the default password wasn’t working, which led to troubleshooting work.

“This is technology 101,” Carey said.

Reach Max Marcus at or 413-772-0261, ext. 261.

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