Submitted by Rene Carroll
Washougal High School is celebrating Career and Technical Education (CTE) student successes and exploring training opportunities as a part of national CTE Month during February.
“CTE Month gives us a platform to celebrate the value of CTE and the achievements and accomplishments of our CTE programs and students,” said Margaret Rice, WSD CTE Director. “We want all students to be ready for their next steps after high school by facilitating the teaching of relevant skills and knowledge for learning, career and life.”
A goal of CTE education is to increase graduation rates and prepare students for employment by engaging them in learning related to career interests and workplace readiness with 21st Century skills. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 93 percent, compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 80 percent and 91 percent of high school graduates who earned 2-3 CTE credits enrolled in further education or training.
“There are many paths to a desired career and our job is to assist students in understanding those various paths, so they choose the best one to fit their needs,” Rice said. “We believe all students, when provided the opportunity, will flourish in an environment that engages them in learning. We strive to keep programs current by staying connected to what is happening in business and industry. Through this collaboration we can positively impact our students learning and their preparation for the world of work.”
In order to align with State graduation requirements and to meet district goals of preparing students for their future, students are being asked to begin to build their High School & Beyond Plan in middle school. Student use program tools to learn more about their interests and learning styles which connect them to potential careers and determine a pathway. This work begins at the middle school level in WSD.
Washougal School District CTE courses fit into a variety of the 16 National Career Cluster Pathways. Their courses include:
- Intro to Culinary, Baking & Pastry, Advanced Culinary
- American Sign Language
- Family Healthand Medical Detectives offered at the middle school with new classes at the high school in the Health Sciences pathway, which include Intro Med Careers & Term and Biomedical Body Systems
- Applied Math, Basic Construction, FA Woodworking, Metals Crafts & Production, Metals Tech & Manufacturing, Small Engines as well as Design & Modeling, Automation & Robotics and Flight & Space offered at the middle school
- Computer Applications, Yearbook, Leadership in Project Management, Financial Fitness, Digital Photography and a new class called Visual Design & Marketing
WHS senior, Dylan VanHorne, has a goal is to work as an American Sign Language Interpreter and is following the Education & Training pathway. “The classes at WHS that helped me are ASL classes, Yearbook classes because of the interpersonal skills needed to interview people, and Leadership in Project Management (ASB),” he said. VanHorne is also WHS Student Body President.
“ASL Club has also helped along with Mrs. Ritchie and Mrs. Grant,” he said. “The knowledge and support of these teachers has assisted me a lot in determining my path and helping me plan for my future.” In the fall, VanHorne will be attending Western Oregon University to major in American Sign Language/English Interpreting.
Dylan Corbitt, a WHS senior, plans to work as a chef and is following the Hospitality & Tourism pathway
He has taken WHS Culinary Arts classes and the Cascadia Technical Academy Culinary, Baking & Pastry Program. “I am in an internship now at Nuestra Mesa in Camas,” he said. “I work at Dish and Line Prep.” Corbitt’s internship is a part of the Washougal Adult Transition Program.
WHS sophomore, Kirstyn Bisig, has selected her pathway as Architecture & Construction. Her career goal is to be a Heavy Machine Operator. “I am a member of SkillsUSA which has given me the opportunity to work with people I wouldn’t normally get to work with and learn more about the business-side of things,” she explained. “The WHS Metals and Wood classes helped as much as they could because there are age restrictions to operate heavy equipment.”
Wyatt Grindy, WHS sophomore, has chosen Transportation Distribution & Logistics as his pathway with a career goal to work as a Diesel Mechanic. He has taken both WHS Metals and Small Engines classes. “Next year, I plan to attend the Diesel Technology Program at Cascadia Technical Academy to gain more skills and better prepare myself to be a Diesel Mechanic,” he said. “Before I finish high school, I plan on getting an internship and use my skills and that connection to get a job after graduation.”
Additional CTE Month activities at WHS include opportunities for students to explore CTE programs available to them. These included:
- A field trip to the Cascadia Technical Academy
- Clark College Professional Technology Day field trip
- Construction Pre-apprenticeship Presentation by Clark College
- Professional Dress Day during the week of Feb. 11-15.
- Lunch time activities such as “how to tie a tie”, Learn how to weld, CTE trivia, information about Leadership clubs
- “Did you know” fact of the day posted on Facebook and in the morning announcements.
“We have packed a lot into the month for these students. We are so proud of the accomplishments of the students in our high school programs currently and can’t think of a better way to celebrate them than National CTE Month” said Rice. “Our goal is to get the word out about the great work we do for and with kids, the amazing accomplishments of our current students as well as demonstrate what these classes can provide for our future students,” Rice said.