The interdisciplinary approach to secondary education is the first in the United States to view academic subjects through the lens of historic preservation. The goal of the Preservation Arts and Technology program is to provide students with a meaningful educational experience that is geared toward future training in preservation artisan trades, as well as related professions such as law, architecture, city planning and conservation.
A high school for the preservation arts consists of two components, the academic and the "hands-on." With the reciprocal nature of these two components lies the essence of historic preservation. Unique to the artisanship that is applied to an historic preservation project is the compound nature of its requirements including: knowledge of the physical means used to create the artifact being worked upon; its significance relative to similar artifacts; an understanding of the context in which it was created, and the process of its evolution. Each of these requirements will factor into which materials are conserved, restored, replicated/substituted or altered. The means and methods of each of the processes will be many and varied depending upon the structure/object and its design/composition. Within these broad yet subtle parameters lies the inspiration and development of the preservation artisan. The goal of the Preservation Arts Technology Program (including internships) is to inspire and further qualify students to go into higher education in historic preservation or begin as an artisan apprenticeship within the preservation industry.
Preservation Arts is the employment of architectural and artisan skills in conjunction with the academic disciplines of history, English, science and math to form an appreciation of, create a valuation for and enable the preservation of an historic structure, object or place.
The Preservation Arts sequence of study includes all four years of standard high school academic subjects taught using the preservation-based methodology described above; two years of 45 minute Preservation Arts classes taught five days per week in 9th and 10th grades; and selective participation in the Preservation Arts and Technology Internship Program. The 9th and 10th grade Preservation Arts classes focusing on Weeksville and Green-Wood Cemetery provide the students with the visual literacy, vocabulary, survey and study skills necessary to understand the philosophy and practice of historic preservation.
The Preservation Arts and Technology Career and Technical Education (PAT/CTE) program is an 11th and 12th grade program for which students are eligible if they have successfully completed the 9th and 10th grade pre-requisites described above. The PAT/CTE program meets 90 minutes per day five days a week in the 11th and 12th grades. These courses focus on the building materials and technologies found in historic buildings, the physical means by which they deteriorate and how they are preserved. Six-week summer internships are provided for the PAT/CTE students as part of their graduation requirement.