February is Career and Technical Education Month. Kansas has 16 Career Clusters, or groups of occupations similar in skill set and training, and 37 Career Cluster Pathways. The Career Cluster Pathways are focused, specific areas of study leading to a particular area of industry or business. Each of the occupations covered by CTE pathways are: agriculture; business; family and consumer sciences; public services; media and technology; health; and design, production and repair.
El Dorado High School offers 11 of those pathways: Business Finance; both the Construction and Design strands of the Construction pathway; Digital Media; Early Childhood Development and Services; Family, Community and Consumer Services; Graphic Design; Health Science; Manufacturing; Marketing; Teaching/Training; and Web and Digital Communications.
New pathways are added based upon student interest surveys, individual plans of study, and regional business needs as teaching staff and courses become available. Both the Teaching/Training and Health Science pathways were new for 2019-2020.
There are around 54 CTE courses for students to choose from, and each student begins creating an individual plan of study in seventh grade to help guide them toward courses that will allow them to explore their interests, but also help them gain knowledge and skills that will be beneficial to them in their future career.
Nearly 80 percent of our student population take at least one CTE course each year. During the 19-20 school year, there were 888 CTE courses taken by the school’s 528 students.
USD 490 formed a CTE Advisory Board to help steer the CTE course offerings and identify potential partnerships within the community. One of those partnerships is with Butler Community College.
Because of the partnership, students can take classes in any of the 11 Early College Academies and earn dual credit in addition to their technical certificates. There were seven EHS students who earned certificates through a Butler Early College Academy last year.
The CTE courses also open doors for other opportunities for students. This is the second year EHS has had a SkillsUSA group, which will compete at the state level in April. The DECA team has been competitive at the state, national, and international levels.
Students who participate in CTE courses enjoy a number of hands-on projects such as using virtual reality equipment to visualize projects, drafting a business plan, visiting the Kansas Federal Reserve, designing and building a storage shed, competing in national art competitions, dissecting animal parts, making items that are used by community groups, Booster Clubs, and other classes, and much more.
Students created video trailers to promote their favorite elective courses, including CTE courses. The videos are available in the Course Enrollment book: https://sites.google.com/eldoradoschools.org/ehs-enrollment-info/elective-video-trailers