The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology [GSMST] (Lawrenceville, GA). GSMST’s signature educational practice is our required 4-year internship experience. In the ninth grade, students attend quarterly Speaker Series events where they participate in the most rigorous and informative career day possible. We bring 20-30 working professionals each nine weeks from our partner organizations to school for 90 minute presentations about STEM careers and the college and education required to get there. Students sign up for the speaker of their choice, such as an engineer, doctor, FBI agent, computer programmer, or lab scientist. These events expose our freshmen to the reality of these STEM jobs and how they might get there one day. Our tenth graders experience two events: In the fall, they take part in a Job Readiness Workshop where they learn to write a resume, dress for and carry out an interview, respond to impromptu questions, and more; in the spring, they make site visits to work locations of some of our partners. We load the entire tenth grade class on buses and take them for 3-hour, behind-the-scenes tours of our partners’ work facilities so our students can see who works in teams, who works in a cubicle, how the site of an electrical engineer differs from a chemical engineer, etc. Our juniors complete a semester-long internship, JFE, in which they spend 5-10 hours a week for 14 weeks working with a site mentor and a faculty advisor, taking on actual job assignments and producing output for the host organization. JFE students present their work in a 10-minute Symposium presentation in April. Our seniors complete a year-long internship, SCE, in which they spend 5-10 hours a week for 28 weeks working in a fashion similar to what they did in JFE. Each student writes his or her senior thesis about the SCE experience, maintains a complete ePortfolio, and presents his or her work in a 20-minute Capstone presentation in April. While completing our internship program, some students clearly identify the career field that is right for them, while others begin to eliminate ones that are not right for them. There is great value (and perhaps great financial savings by not paying for the wrong college degree) in both outcomes. By successfully completing our internship experiences, students are prepared at the highest levels for college, career, and the kind of competition they will face in scholarship interview panels, co-op auditions, and that very first job interview. Our students are prepared and they are able to represent themselves and their learning with clear and precise language and skill.
School of Health Professions (Dallas, TX). The campus has positioned itself to create a college going culture by offering only Pre-AP and AP options in the majority of its core courses and enrolling students who meet entry requirements into dual credit courses. Implementing these practices helps the campus maintain a rigorous curriculum and its status as a high performing CTE high school. In Career and Technical Education (CTE), the School of Health Professions provides opportunities for students to acquire the foundation for a career or continued studies in health care, with a prescribed set of courses to complete at each grade level. Every student’s program of study culminates in a hands-on nine-week spring semester internship during their 11th grade and/or 12th grade year. At the completion of their 12th grade internship, students are eligible to take a national certification exam aligned to their specific 4-year pathway of study, if available, in: Dental Assisting, ECG Technician, Patient Care Technician, Pharmacy Technician, Phlebotomy Technician, Medical Office Assistant and ServSafe.
The career cluster pathways students select from are clinical medical assisting, communication disorders, culinary arts, dental assisting and technology, medical laboratory, pharmacy technician, therapy careers and veterinary careers. Other unique aspects of the campus are that 100% of the career pathway instructors are highly qualified and certified in their program areas and have the equipment and resources at their disposal to conduct hands-on instruction; this prepares students physically and emotionally to successfully complete their off-site internships. For the dental assisting program, the campus maintains and operates an on-site dental clinic that serves the community and allows students to complete internship hours under the apprenticeship of a licensed dentist on campus.
All but one internship occur during the instructional day and transportation is provided by the campus, solving the two major barriers to participation by disadvantaged students: afterschool transportation and/or work or family obligations. Participation has enabled some students to receive paid summer internships. Besides increasing their marketability on their resumes, the real-world application adds another level of preparation for the students’ upcoming national certification exams. Once passed, these exams position students to become eligible for jobs in that field immediately after high school graduation. Some students use this benefit to pay for their post-secondary education.
Crofton Junior-Senior High School (Crofton, NE). Technology and business classes at CHS share staff. Technology classes include Introduction to Digital Design, Digital Media I & II, and Advanced Software Applications. These semester-long classes meet daily for 90 minutes. When students have a particular interest in computer programming, efforts are made to provide independent study opportunities. Business classes offered at Croton High School include Personal Finance, Accounting I, and Accounting II. These semester-long classes also meet daily for 90 minutes.
Crofton High School also has an extensive and highly acclaimed agriculture program. Agriculture classes available are Introduction to Agriculture, Agriculture Business Management, Economics and Agriculture Management, Animal Science, Large Animal Management, Natural Resources, Advanced Natural Resources, Plant Science, and Nursery and Landscaping. Introduction to Agriculture is a foundational semester class for freshmen to explore a wide variety of agricultural topics.
Skilled and Technical Sciences is the final area in which Crofton High School offers classes. Students are able to enroll in Introduction to Technology, Small Engines, Building Trades, Welding, Machining, and Robotics. These classes are a semester in length meeting daily for ninety minutes. In STS classes, as with all Crofton’s Career and Technical Education classes, students are provided hands-on experience to ensure the development of essential life and career skills.
Brownsville Early College High School (Brownsville, TX). Ninth grade students are enrolled in one semester each of Computer Programming and Money Matters. The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Computer Programming class uses computer technology to examine the changing adaptations of business processes to new technologies and business models and provides knowledge of structured programming techniques and concepts. Students analyze the social responsibility of business and industry in regard to ethics, safety, and diversity in society and the workplace as they relate to computer programming. The CTE TEKS-based Money Matters course helps students investigate global economics with an emphasis on the free-enterprise system and its impact on consumers and businesses. Students apply critical-thinking skills to analyze financial options based on current and projected economic factors. The CTE TEKS-based Robotics course, offered to ninth and tenth grade students, introduces engineering. Students learn about history of robotics, career information, and certifications related to this field. Students work together to build their own robots and compete with peers at regional, state, and national competitions and are encouraged to join the CTE sponsored Technology Student Association.
Interested students continue their study of Engineering through the Engineering Design and Presentation class that covers sketching, designing, and creating 2- and 3-dimensional models. All technology high school classes follow the modified block schedule. The one semester TEKS-based Professional Communications Course (Speech) gives tenth grade students opportunities to address controversial issues in personal, social, and professional life. The course develops sound critical thinking and sharpens communication skills using current topics of interest with an emphasis on public speaking. In the Debate I course, tenth grade students develop skills in argumentation. This one-semester TEKS-based course helps students acquire life-long skills for intelligently and confidently approaching conflict and professional communication. Both classes follow the modified block schedule.
Young Women’s Leadership Academy (Fort Worth TX). All YWLA content areas incorporate college and career readiness standards and support our college-bound mission to expose, educate and equip every student for success in college, career and life. Students learn about college and careers through college visits, enrichment programs, presentations, college and career readiness lessons, and special programming. Additionally, our students experience project-based learning, hands-on activities, and both individual and group college readiness workshops. These opportunities, with the accessibility and support of our full-time College Bound Advisor, ensure our students’ success.
YWLA’s Career and Technology (CATE) Department offers two career pathways: Bio-mechanical Engineering and Digital Media/Animation. These curricula are based on the TEKS and on standards set forth by a nationally accredited organization specializing in engineering curricula for middle and high school programming. All middle school students are required to take courses in both programs and then choose a pathway on entering high school.
About 20% of our high school students take bio-mechanic engineering, which prepares students to be innovative and productive leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through an engaging, hands-on curriculum that encourages problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and creative and innovative reasoning. Nearly 80% of students enroll in the Digital Media/Animation program, which offers foundational knowledge and skills to prepare students for high-demand jobs in technical fields. Coursework includes enhanced practical experiences in computer-generated art and text, graphic design, graphic production, electronic design and the development of specialized multimedia presentation skills. Real-world application is essential in both pathways: Engineering students host workshops at elementary schools to promote STEM while Digital Media students design marketing materials and commercials for private and campus organizations.
The YWLA offers prep courses for the PSAT, SAT and ACT exams to all sophomores and juniors, taught by a contracted third party organization who administer pretests and share student data with our instructors to provide classroom reinforcement.
All 6th grade students take Exploratory Languages, an introduction to the basic vocabulary and language patterns of Spanish, French, Latin, Italian, German, and Mandarin. Middle school Spanish students can test into an upper level language course for high school credit. All high school students take three years of language courses to meet the highest graduation standards; they may choose from Spanish I-III, Mandarin-Chinese I-IV, and AP Spanish. Students in World Language courses participate in school-wide activities to recognize Hispanic and Chinese heritage and participate in traditional experiences as well as international field trips.
Tunstall High School (Dry Fork, VA). Career and Technical Education programs offer opportunities for students to earn a State Board of Education-approved industry certification and/or a professional license issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Passing an industry-approved examination verifies that students have the knowledge and skills to compete for higher education and career opportunities after high school. Vocational courses rendering these certifications are taught at the Pittsylvania County Technical Center (PCTC) in Chatham, VA, as well as Tunstall and include: Auto Body Repair, Auto Science Technology, Building Trades I and II, Computer Systems Technology I and II, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice I, Culinary Arts II, Emergency Medical Technician, Industrial Maintenance Technology-Electrician I and II, Industrial Maintenance Technology-Mechanic I and II, Nursing Assistants, Precision Machining, Small Animal Care/Vet Science and Welding I and II. Students taking these PCTC courses can earn 36 different industry certifications. CTE courses at THS include Agriculture Education, Business and IT, Economics and Personal Finance, Family and Consumer Sciences, JROTC, Marketing, and Technology Education/Engineering. Students taking these courses at THS can earn 38 different industry certifications.