Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress
A high-quality Career and Technical Education program can help prepare high school students for success in a competitive global economy, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
And to highlight just how relationships fostered between school and business community can make a difference in lives of students, the month of February serves as National CTE Month.
This is “a great opportunity to acknowledge the important contribution CTE is making to individual citizens, our economy, and our nation,” according to the www.ed.gov website, by recognizing the efforts and accomplishments of the many students who are pursuing their ambitions through CTE pathways.”
Jacksonville High School has a flourishing CTE program, according to Karen Kubara, JHS Director of College and Career Readiness.
“We have nine different pathways, but under the new House Bill 5, we will be able to offer all five different endorsements, beginning with next year's freshmen,” she said.
“What they are trying to do is to encourage college and career readiness, (where high school students) earn endorsements that lead to post-secondary education or entry into the workforce” more easily because they have a particular skill set, Kubara said.
The CTE program is a popular one, with approximately 700 students enrolled in “pathways” like audio-video technology, business and finance, agricultural sciences, transportation distribution and logistics, health science, culinary arts, and education and training.
“We're looking at adding one for law/public safety in corrections and security,” Kubara said.
Guidance begins in middle school, where students take a career test to help identify areas of interest, allowing them to know what courses to request their freshman year as they embark on their CTE pathway.
“The state is changing the graduation program totally, so students now must choose and endorsement when they enter high school,” she pointed out.
Until now, the courses have been treated as electives, “but now students will choose so many of the CTE courses to earn endorsements,” Kubara added.
In observance of CTE Month, JHS students will take part in several different projects, including:
• Feb. 12 – The Advanced Culinary Arts students will host a “Cookie Battle” between classes, with faculty will vote on the best cookie. Students also will bake mini Valentine cupcakes for the teachers.
• Feb. 14 – Students in the Business Information Management II class, led by Chuck Silvertooth, will create Valentine cards. HOSA students also will volunteer that day to check heart rates during their lunch period, while students in Justin Smith’s Ag Mech and Metal classes will be creating Texas nail art with a heart design.
• Feb. 19 – The Landscape Design class – led by instructor Rachel Robinson – will tour Joe Smith Plant Farms outside Jacksonville.
• Feb. 21 – Special guests will visit the campus: MARRS Brothers of Dallas will meet with the Small Engine Technology classes to demonstrate hydra gear transmissions, and will donate six transmissions to the school's program. In the meantime, Agriculture classes – led by Ross Sheffield and Katy Sheffield – welcome John Sperry, an academic advisor at Stephen F. Austin State University's Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, who will discuss careers in the forest industry. The class is overseen by instructors Ross Sheffield and Katy Sheffield.
• Feb. 17-21 – in observance of National FFA Week, several activities are planned, including a teacher appreciation breakfast, super hero day and the launch of a campus recycling program. FFA advisors are Katy Sheffield, Ross Sheffield, Justin Smith and Rachel Robinson.
Also, Audio/Video classes led by Michael Culotta are working on creating a CTE commercial that highlights the various pathways that the school currently offers.