Those participating in Scotland High School’s career and technical education tour on Thursday may have noted that the days of shop and home economics have become a bygone era.
The CTE department at Scotland High is comprised of 18 teachers offering instruction in courses from welding technology to culinary arts and hospitality to computer engineering technology. The department held an open house for the public. About 30 people took the tour.
“They teach multimedia, webpage design, accounting, marketing, hospitality and tourism, personal finance - so there are different courses going on in those clusters,” said Lynne Morgan, instructional management coordinator at the high school. “These are national clusters we are working with now.”
Some 1575 students are enrolled in CTE courses at Scotland High School at any given time. Statewide, those who complete four CTE courses in one subject area during their high school career are more likely to graduate on time, with a 90 percent graduation rate as opposed to 75 percent overall.
Technical courses are being subject to the same national overhaul as academic subjects, with Essential Standards for Instruction implemented this year.
“We’re a work in progress; there are a lot of things changing with the Department of Public Instruction toward that role of national credentialing in all of their programs,” said Darlene Moss, CTE director for the Scotland County Schools. “We also have a Common Core for career and technical education, so we’re revamping all of our instructional methods and techniques along with the academic folks.”
In a competitive job market, the CTE program is sending students out of school with hands-on experience in several different fields, and many students take career and technical courses to prepare them for the careers they hope to seek once they graduate.
“Just about everybody in this class wants to pursue a health-related career, if not being a doctor, a nurse of a pharmacist,” said Mackenzie Roberts, a junior in Rosemarie Pilarczyk’s health science class. “We do a lot of project-based learning all about the human body, what we do and how the body works. This is a crucial step in our path to college.”
The intermediate level drafting courses taught by Sabrina Fox focus on instilling architectural skills in students before they have graduated from high school.
“In Drafting II right now, we’re working on room planning, which is what all of the students are doing on their computers right now,” said Drafting II student Abigail Tremblay. “We’re also working on the electrical plans: all of our outlets, switches, circuits, things like that.”
Scotland’s CTE program is also moving toward putting students’ skills to practical use to make an appreciable impact on the community.
“Our goal is to try to blend our health program, our culinary program, and our agriculture program so students can see the benefits of locally-grown foods, nutritious foods, and how it impacts your health,” Moss said. “This summer we did a community-supported agriculture project with cooperative extension; there were a group of students who worked the greenhouse all summer and everything that was harvested was donated to low-income families in the county.”
And in multimedia and webpage design, students worked on creating programs, posters, and advertisements for the theatre department’s newest production. The Bagpiper Restaurant, an outlet for the culinary arts and hospitality program, already serves breakfast and lunch to the public during the school year.
Camille Goins, SHS career development coordinator, now has a central hub for students who wish to explore the possibilities for their lives beyond high school.
“What I’m doing right now is actually going around to classes doing sessions with students,” Goins said. “I go over career interest inventories, learning style inventories, and work with students on career exploration activities. We have three new computers for students to come in and do career interest inventories, and I can help them with job placement, internships, job shadowing, and post-secondary opportunities as well.”