CTE pathway changes from 3 to 2 years

Carson High School sophomores Alexis Ross, left and Kylee Halverson create a sensory board using rhinestones and other products to help explain how one can be done with a posterboard or cardboard in their Early Childhood Education II class.

Carson High School sophomores Alexis Ross, left and Kylee Halverson create a sensory board using rhinestones and other products to help explain how one can be done with a posterboard or cardboard in their Early Childhood Education II class.
Photo by Jessica Garcia.

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Anna Nelson, Carson High School sophomore, has been preparing a digital portfolio of her work in Google Slides to market her skills and knowledge about early childhood education. She’ll be able to demonstrate why she potentially wants to become a teacher, what she’s learned from the various schools she’s visited as an intern and who among her educators has influenced her the most.

She’s also considering becoming a pediatric nurse, but there’s plenty of time to think about her options, some of which she’s found through Carson High’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses.

“We can use this for our event in March,” she said. “It’s an event where we compete in different skills. I’ve been doing a job interview and will show what I’ve been doing throughout the year and what education needs to be using.”

Programs of study, including education, within Carson High School’s CTE pathway offer students a chance to explore facets of the workforce firsthand and earn certificates. Most enjoy the technical or practical experience of being in the workforce to understand the demands before they even graduate.

But now the entire pathway has changed from a three-year experience for students to two years.

Carson High personnel told Carson City School Board members Feb. 27 that CHS will continue to offer the same courses and the same pathways, but the change allows students to take more than program of study if they choose.

The school’s CTE program, known for its “high-wage, high-skill, high-demand” offerings in careers, exists to help students discover their best fit in job possibilities while still in school. Programs of study have been offered in three-year sequences in agriculture and natural resources management, business and marketing, health science and public safety, hospitality and tourism, information and media technologies, skilled and technical sciences, education and naval science/military science.

Kendra Tuttle, early childhood education teacher, said as a preschool teacher who came to Carson High, she enjoys seeing her students light up as they acquire their skills.

“I’m a Carson High graduate and I was able to build from where I left off as a senior and come full circle,” she said. “The kids make me the most proud. When we’re out in the schools, they’re shining. They are professional, they are ready to learn, they are ready to have fun and they’re ready to play, and the littles are so happy to see them. They get so excited every time we enter the building.”

The CTE classes offered to Tuttle’s students are teaching them vital job skills along with their core subjects that they’ll need for the workforce, and they’re putting into them into practice as they’re working with their preschool students.

“We have to teach you math, okay, but we also have to teach you how to conduct yourself in a meeting,” Tuttle said. “We have to teach you English, but we also have to teach how to shake hands, make eye contact, be a collaborative, good team player. All those things are what’s powerful about CTE.”

Until recently, students who completed the third year in their program of study typically took workplace readiness and technical skills assessments. Those who passed both and completed a 3.0 grade point average in the course series earned a certificate of skill attainment, a part of earning the College and Career Ready Diploma endorsement.

CHS counselor Bridget Gordon-Johnson said the state has worked to ensure the CTE standards fit within the work-based learning skills, and ultimately doing so provides more opportunities for the school to work with students in its different levels as they progress from different sections.

“Say a section two class has 25 kids in it,” she said. “We can put one or two level three (students) in that same section,” she said. “It changes up how it looks but we haven’t caught any class yet. (Agricultural) mechanics became ag welding. It became a different strand within CTE.”

Trustee Matt Clapham expressed concerns about the shift moving away from a three-year to a two-year program, asking what the change impacts.

“My concern would be, and you probably don’t have any control, but these are classes kids like and can probably get smaller,” Clapham said.

Carstens said Carson High still offers the same pathways and programs of study. It just takes less time now to complete the requirements.


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