February is Career and Technical Education Month - AZEdNews
Sections    Sunday March 26th, 2023

February is Career and Technical Education Month

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  • Rebecca MacGowan   |   Paradise Valley School District

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What is CTE?  

Career and Technical Education programs are not just stand-alone courses. Each program is a coherent sequence of instruction that will ultimately lead to an industry-recognized credential, post-secondary opportunities, and careers in fields in which students have an interest. CTE programs prepare students to be college and career-ready by providing core academic skills, employability skills, and technical, job-specific skills.

What Are the Benefits of Taking CTE Classes?

CTE programs provide many benefits, including, but not limited to, making the connection between core curricular areas such as math, science, and language arts, as well as fostering creativity, collaboration and communication. CTE programs prepare students for both college and careers and help students learn how to be productive members of society. And an added plus, according to the U. S. Department of Education, eight years after their expected graduation date, students who focused on career and technical education courses while in high school had higher median annual earnings than students who did not focus on CTE.  (Source: Bridging the Skills Gap: CTE in High School-USDOE 2019, https://www2.ed.gov/datastory/cte/index.html )

CTE Industry Credentials

During the past very challenging months, our PVSchools CTE students have been busy learning the foundational standards of their program’s curriculum in eager anticipation of being able to put this knowledge to use with hands-on projects, as well as the hands-on portion of their industry-aligned credential when they come back in person.

These industry-recognized credentials are an important part of Career and Technical Education. They are a required performance measure for the federal Perkins V grant, and the credentials earned by students help their high school’s College and Career Readiness A-F rubric by generating points for each credential earned.

Additional recent legislation, the Arizona Industry Credentials Incentive Fund, provides additional funding to the CTE Department based on students who obtain an approved industry credential. This is limited to specific CTE programs in high demand industry sectors and limited to one credential per student.  

These credentials range from NC3 (National Coalition of Certification Centers) certification on Precision Measuring Instruments for Automotive Technology, Welding, and Cabinetmaking; ServSafe for Culinary; Adobe Certified Associate -Photoshop, -InDesign, or -Illustrator- for Graphic Design, Digital Photography, and Digital Communications; and CPR/First Aid for Early Childhood Education; just to name a few.

The list of approved certifications for each program area can be found on the Arizona Department of Education website under Career and Technical Education at https://www.azed.gov/cte/cte-industry-credentials.

In 2019-20, 266 industry certifications were earned by our district’s CTE students.  And, in the Fall of 2020, even in the midst of a world-wide pandemic, 81 students earned appropriate industry certifications.

The students see the value of these certifications, and we have found that the students who may not be attending class regularly or having their cameras on during class are quite eager to show up (with cameras on!)  when it involves their industry credential. A case in point is that on the Friday before winter break, we had students excited and ready to take their industry exam at 3:30 in the afternoon!

PVSchools CTE Programs

PVschools have 22 CTE programs available in the district. Paradise Valley High School serves as the hub because students can come to PVHS for a CTE offering if it is not available at their home school.  And, transportation is provided by the district!

Students remain at their home campus for all of their other course selections. Because of the differences in the traditional bell schedule of Horizon, Pinnacle, North Canyon, Shadow Mountain, and the block bell schedule of PVHS, the time slots that students travel to PVHS are either Block 1 or Block 5.  Students give up their Periods 1 and 2 or Periods 6 and 7 at their home school to travel to PV for their selected CTE program. The credit earned is the same since PV’s block schedule earns students 1 full credit per semester.

In addition to these 22 programs available throughout the district, students also have the opportunity to apply for a West-MEC program. 

For an in-depth look at each of the programs available at all five high schools, please check out the United Parent Council Youtube channel’s recording of “Explore the 22 Various Career & Technical Education (CTE) Programs available in PV Schools from Automotives to X-RAY and everything in between.”