LEXINGTON, Mass. — Minuteman Tech, a regional, vocational-technical high school in the western Boston suburb of Lexington, is a far cry from the old image of a vocational high school.
Minuteman looks more like a high-tech office park than a school. Here, in a futuristic brick and glass building, is a small city of real-life businesses providing students with work skills: two student-run restaurants (one serving grilled salmon with hollandaise), hair salon, fully equipped garage, child-care center, gift shop and bakery.
Out on the school grounds, students hammer pink insulation into a state-of-the-art model house.
Minuteman is where David Healy went after his disastrous high school experience. "It gave me confidence," he says. Healy entered Minuteman as a postgraduate adult student and did a straight 2-year vocational program. He's now working on his bachelor of arts and teaching there two nights a week.
"Many of the students in the neglected majority are just as bright, but they learn in a different way," says James Amara, science department head at Minuteman. "They're hands-on learners, not book learners." He says Minuteman presents information in three forms: visual, auditory, and hands-on.