February is Career and Technical Education Month, and to celebrate we will feature several CTE programs in our schools this month. All offer amazing opportunities to high school students.
Students can take a wide varitety of CTE courses at all six traditional Salem-Keizer high schools, and at the Career and Techical Education Center.
Nearly half of all high school students in Salem-Keizer high schools, almost 6,000 students in total, took a CTE class last year. The goal is to make CTE available so all 12,000 of our high school students can complete a CTE program during their high school careers.
CTE Programs at Traditional High Schools
All six Salem-Keizer traditional high schools offer students the opportunity to take CTE courses. These courses range from Agriculture Science to Physical Therapy, from Culinary Arts to Pre-Engineering. See a complete list of courses offered at each high school:
- McKay High School
- McNary High School
- North Salem High School
- South Salem High School
- Sprague High School
- West Salem High School
Salem-Keizer students who complete CTE programs in high school graduate at a much higher rate (88 percent graduation rate) than students who don't enroll in CTE courses. That's because students can see the relevance of CTE lessons to their success after graduation, says James Orth, Salem-Keizer CTE coordinator.
"Students are more engaged in school when they see a connection between what they study and future careers," Orth explained. "The idea is that students are work-ready when they graduate from high school, but also that they are college-ready."
One misconception about CTE programs is that they are designed for students who will not go to college or university after high school. While it's true that five programs offer industry certification, all of the programs integrate traditional academic subjects like English, math and science into their lessons and prepare students for both jobs and for higher education.
CTE Programs at the Career and Technical Education Center
The Career and Techical Education Center opened in the fall of 2015, and four programs are offered there this school year. Programs include 3D Design for Game and TV Production, Construction Technology, Manufacturing and Cosmetology.
CTEC is a public-private partnership between Salem-Keizer Public Schools and Mountain West Technical Institute.
"Its been a wonderful opportunity to dream about what students can do, and then to have Mountain West help us accomplish that," Orth said. "The plan is to grow the Career and Technical Education Center by two new programs a year until we get to ten programs total, with an enrollment of about 1,000 students."
Two new programs will be added for the 2017-18 school year: Automotive Collision Repair and Unmanned Autonomous Systems (drones).
Students who study at CTEC attend classes at their high schools half time, and take classes at CTEC the other half of the time. CTEC students get the best of both worlds, taking classes with their friends at their high schools, participating in social events and school clubs, while having the opportunity to study CTE programs in a more concentrated way at CTEC as well.