Glen Mills Schools — Printing for the Future
BY Kristen E. Monte
At first glance, Glen Mills Schools might be mistaken for a prestigious private school, with its gated entrance, steep hills and buildings dating as far back as 1826. It is not until you explore the campus that you realize this is a residential facility for troubled youth.
Glen Mills Schools, located in Concordville, PA, approximately 20 miles southwest of Philadelphia, is the oldest residential school for court-referred young men in the country. Founded in 1826, it is home to boys, ages 15 to 18, from all over the U.S. and several other countries.
The fundamental concept of the school is for the boys there to learn and grow to show a greater potential for their lives, while accepting some basic mandates: to change behavior from anti-social to pro-social, and to develop life skills that will help sustain this change.
At Glen Mills, the students focus on a heavy workload of academics and athletics. Since there are students from all walks of life, the curriculum is designed to teach at five different academic levels: from special education through college preparatory. Students are also involved in vocational studies—including the graphic arts—based upon vocational assessments, training and placement by the Vocational Education Department.
“The students at Glen Mills are always on the move; they are very busy,” says Jim Chobany, vocational coordinator. “The more hands-on experience they have, the more they are going to learn, and it also keeps them constantly involved and less likely to lose their focus.”
Students have a choice of 15 different areas, including journalism, optics, engineering, photography and radio broadcasting, to name a few. Those who will go on to the printing program begin with a computer program, Print 101, which teaches them the basics before they ever step foot in the shop. From this program, they learn basics about the presses, the industry, technology, desktop publishing and the way a plant floor is run. This aids the students in learning what to expect.