Pre-Employment Transition Program

at Franklin County Tech

Discovering and Nuturing Potential

in every student
for over 25 years.

Franklin County Technical School

administers quality, individualized special education services to local students.

Franklin County Technical School

administers quality, individualized special education services to local students.

The Pre-Employment Program at FCTS is a Special Education program providing academic coursework, pre-vocational skills,
and life skills to students ages 14 to 22, within a substantially seperate setting.
The Franklin County Technical School has been administering quality,
individualized special education services to local students for over 25 years.
Applicants are considered without regard to race, creed, color, gender, national origin or disability.

"Students are provided with academic coursework, pre-vocational skills and life skills..."

About the Pre-Employment Program

Our Instructors

The Pre-Employment Program Instructors provide instruction in English Language Arts, basic mathematics and algebra, current events, and critical thinking skills.

Charlie Choleva (Mr. C for short): Charlie never thought that he would become a teacher and his life path shows that: Grocery clerk to meat wrapper, to meat cutter, to radio advertising sales, to disc jockey, to account relations manager, to working in a residential program for kids that have a wide range of physical, mental, behavioral and emotional problems. That was when he got his first job teaching. He started as a teacher at Linden Hill School, a boarding school for boys with primarily dyslexia, then taught at NEARI School in Holyoke, working with students with emotional and behavioral students. Currently, he has been the lead academic instructor in the Pre-Employment Program for the last 5 years. He loves teaching and loves seeing the excitement in his students eyes when they learn something new. He has been teaching in special education for the last 11 years.

Phil Foisey: Phil`s career after college included working within the construction and home remodeling industries and at an auto body repair shop as a general repair technician. This is his tenth year at FCTS, seven of which were in auto collision repair. He is currently the shop instructor in the Pre-Employment Program, teaching various hands-on life skills like wood shop, auto detailing, and general maintenance. Phil enjoys seeing the excitement of achievement from his students and prides himself in teaching and modeling a strong work ethic. He enjoys restoring classic Corvettes from the 50`s and 60`s, playing drums and guitar, hiking the White Mountains with fellow teachers, and is currently studying to acquire his private pilot's license.

JoAnn Stafford: JoAnn has worked in the PEP room for over 9 years.

MacKenzie Ellis: MacKenzie has worked in Special Education for the last 4 years.

Kim Willis: Kim Willis has worked with Special Needs Students for the last 9 years.

Program Content

The Pre-Employment Transition Program at the Franklin County Technical School is a special education program providing academic coursework, pre-vocational skills and life skills to students, ages fourteen to twenty-two, within a substantially separate setting. The Franklin County Technical School has been administering quality, special education services to local students for over 25 years. This small, but highly effective program is designed for students with physical or cognitive challenges.


Students are provided instruction in English Language Arts, basic mathematics, current events, and critical thinking skills.

Life Skills: Students practice cooking, money matters, time and time management, calendar, shopping, and telephoning skills which are essential for independent living and future employment prospects.

Vocational Skills: Pre-employment shop duties such as laundry, copy center, recycling, business technology, typing, time cards, and delivery skills provide students with job readiness and employment competencies.

Supervised Exploratory: Students can be part of a supervised exploratory within the FCTS vocational programs which integrates them into the school social settings.

Community Experience: Students participate in regular trips to local businesses and non-profit organizations for the purpose of gaining community-based like skill experiences.

PEP Program Instructors

Charles Choleva
Charles Choleva Educational Instructor
Phil Foisey
Phil Foisy Shop Liason/Instructor
JoAnn Stafford
JoAnn Stafford
Teaching Assistant
Mackenzie Ellis
Mackenzie Ellis
Kim Willis
Kim Willis

"Annual reviews are held at Franklin County Technical School to determine progress and continued placement."

Information For Parents and Sending School Districts


Applicants complete the Franklin County Technical School application after being referred by the Special Education Department of their local school system. Interviews and visits are provided for students and their parents.

Franklin County Technical School will participate in special education team meetings to determine the appropriateness of placement and considerations.

Career Opportunities


A tuition charge is billed quarterly to each school district with students in attendance.

Additional charges may include any auxiliary services such as speech or physical therapy, extended day or extended year services, as well as any evaluation costs.


Students are referred by the Special Education department of the sending district. For more information, contact
Nathan May, Director of Special Education/Pupil Personnel Services at 413-863-9561 x123.


Transportation is available on the FCTS bus system. Any special transportation is the responsibility of the sending school district, as is transportation for students from non-member communities.


Students are reported in SIMS by the sending district. The sending district is also responsible for the completion and submission of the IEP.

Special Education progress reports are available to parents.

Annual reviews are held at Franklin County Technical School to determine progress and continued placement.

Three year re-evaluations are completed by local school systems.


Certificates of completion are awarded to students who successfully complete a minimum of 1 year in the Pre-Employment Transition Program A compilation of competencies attained is provided to students and their parents. Students are often required to take the MCAS or complete the MCAS Alternate portfolio.

"Students travel regularly to local businesses and non-profits to gain community-based skills."

Pre-Employment Program News

Pep Students Again Show Their Generosity and Pride

Students and staff make donation to Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society and the Ronald McDonald House.

See story

School Store 2014

Wear It With Pride: New School Store Carries FCTS Clothing, Gear

See Story

Dakin 2011

Students and staff go to Dakin Animal Shelter and present a $733.00 donation.

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Scarf Sale for Montague Dog Pound

Franklin County Tech's Pre-Employment Program hosted their 3rd annual scarf sale in December. Charlotte Choleva, mother of lead teacher Charlie Choleva, donated approximately 200 hand knit scarves and 20 pairs of embellished flip flops. Charlotte is a lifetime resident of Montague and former 1st grade teacher at Hillcrest School.

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Carl Beane, The Voice of Fenway Park Speaks to Students at FCTS!

Students and sports loving teachers got a real treat when Carl Beane came to speak about his life and love of Boston sports. Not only did Mr. Beane come filled with wonderful stories, he brought with him a treasure chest of memorabilia to show students.

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PEP Students and Staff Bring on the Halloween Spirit

In the spirit of Halloween & autumn, the PEP program students and staff created a wonderful presentation outside their class area.

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"Discovering and Nurturing the Potential in Every Student"

Pre-Employment Program Videos

Promotional Video for FCTS

A commercial spot created by Graduate Adam Jaillet for his Senior Capstone project. "Soar with the eagles today..."

FCTS Graduation 2013

A home video of the graduation ceremony from 2013.