Hart district to declare February as Career Technical Education Month

FILE PHOTO: Career and College Readiness students celebrate as the winners are announced at the second annual Chef Throwdown at West Ranch High School on Friday, April 21, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

In the 2015-16 school year, California served 772,350 Career Technical Education (CTE) high school students and 892,396 postsecondary students in 16 career clusters or concentrations, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

In the William S. Hart Union High School District, students have even more options to explore career programs through nearly 30 career pathways in the district’s Career and College Readiness Department.

Headed by Director of Career Technical and Adult Education Mariane Doyle, the department works with local businesses and organizations to provide students job shadowing opportunities, internships and field trips in pathways like animal science, photography, computer science, culinary arts and automotive tech.

“Dr. Mariane Doyle has done exceptional work in terms of finding resources and matching up businesses with opportunities for teaching and instruction or even internships for the school district,” Hart district Governing Board President Steven Sturgeon said.

Hart district CTE

Through the CTE programs, students also take career preparation courses at Canyon, Golden Valley, Hart, Saugus, Valencia or West Ranch High Schools and are able to earn college credit through dual enrollment opportunities at College of the Canyons.

Through these programs students have explored 21st century careers in design, engineering and advanced manufacturing through the Engineering Pathway at Saugus High School’s Makerspace.

“West Ranch’s video production is an award-winning program, as well.  We have parents there and at Hart who have sought to enroll their students in it,” Sturgeon said.

Other students have had the chance to explore Linked Learning—or an integrated, immersive approach to academics and career pathways—through Valencia High School’s Medical Science Academy that helps students prepare for their future in the healthcare industry.

“Our CTE program has blossomed significantly in the last three years with new grants, new programs,” Sturgeon said.  “We’ve solidified relationships with the community college, with COC, in a variety of areas.”

The district has also expanded popular programs like its culinary arts pathway and its welding pathway to serve more students.

It also plans to make CTE a focus of the district’s newest school, Castaic High School, with a designated CTE building and site-specific programs.

“As part of our Castaic High School Project we’ve modified or defined the CTE programs to make the CTE program in general at Castaic High School probably more extensive than anywhere else,” Sturgeon said.

To recognize the successes and futures of these CTE programs, the Hart district Governing Board is expected to approve of a resolution naming February as Career Technical Education Month.

“Career and technical education helps the United States meet the very real and immediate challenges of economic development, student achievement and global competitiveness,” the resolution read.  “Career and technical education matches employability skills with workforce demand and provides relevant academic and technical coursework leading to industry-recognized credentials”

Integrated CTE programs also help students, like those in the Hart district, have higher achievement in reading, mathematics and science than students at schools with less integrated programs.

School Counseling Week

During the month of February, the Hart district is also expected to highlight the impact school counselors have in helping students achieve school success and plan for their careers.

The Governing Board is expected to approve of a resolution naming Feb. 5-9 as “National School Counseling Week.”

Following the lead of the American School Counselor Association, the Hart district is expected to focus public attention on the contribution of professional school counselors.

School counselors are actively committed to helping students explore their abilities, strengths, interests and talents as these traits relate to career awareness and development,” the resolution read.

Counselors also work with parents to further the educational and personal growth of students, and with teachers to help students explore their potential and set realistic goals for themselves.

They also identify and utilize community resources to complement school counseling program to help students become “productive members of society.”

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