DECO students learn about next year’s offerings


Shannon Ahearn

Science teacher Jared Cowden instructs his DECO students

Jenna Coladarci, Correspondent

Last year, a group of incoming freshman and their families interested in DECO gathered in the cafeteria to see what the first year of the program would look like.

Since then, the administration has reported that in quarter one only 20 percent of DECO students failed one class or more, compared to the entire Freshman Academy where 26 percent had failed one class or more.

The same pattern continued for quarter two, when 23 percent of DECO students failed one class or more compared to 27 percent in the entire academy.

DECO stands for Danbury Early College Opportunity. It is an effort between the district, Naugatuck Valley Community College and local businesses — NewOak and Pitney Bowes — to offer associate’s degrees in IT. In other words, students who stay in the program could graduate with not only a high school diploma, but also a two-year degree.

The encouraging statistics were released Feb. 10, when this year’s DECO students and their families gathered again in the cafeteria over pizza to discuss what the second year of the program will look like.

Students — there are 98 enrolled this year — will have an opportunity to take more electives next year by getting their graduation requirements out of the way in the summer. Summer courses will be offered at Rogers Park Middle School from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with a 30-minute break for lunch.

Algebra 1, Geometry, and Chemistry will be offered for free with a pass or fail grade. However, attendance is crucial; a student who has more than two absences will not earn credit.

One of the electives that DECO students are required to take next year is Workplace Learning 2.

DECO students are taking Workplace Learning 1 this year. Workplace Learning is a business class that prepares the student to work in the business world. The class will take place two times a week next year.

 Naugatuck Valley Community College will also offer two elective classes for DECO students that will go toward their associate’s degree.

The classes they are offering are Introduction To Computers and Digital Arts. Introduction To Computers will be a semester class that takes place three times a week. It can be taken the same period as Workplace Learning 2.

 “I think that the students are enjoying the program because they get a chance to work with mentors in the business world and take field trips to Western Connecticut State University,” said Sarah Roy, director of the program.

 DECO students agreed.

“I think the DECO program is going pretty well because we get some insight into the business economy,”  said Kayla Fraser.

  Wesley Pooze added, “I have improved my knowledge of business attire and communication skills.”