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In an effort to increase the number of career training opportunities available to high school students in the Rio Grande Valley, charter operator ResponsiveEd has opened a new Premier High School campus in Edinburg.

Powered by an $800,000 Texas Education Agency grant, the new school will focus on Career and Technical Education (CTE). CTE courses are designed to give students employable skills in areas like healthcare, criminal justice, technology, and business. As an open-enrollment school, every student who enrolls is eligible to participate in the CTE classes at no cost to them.

Rosalinda Gonzalez, the executive director of academics for the Premier High Schools and longtime educator in the Valley, is excited for the new opportunity.

“Our district has a history of preparing 100% of our  high school graduates to be college ready as each one must  have applied and been accepted into the college of his or her choice before their graduation. This new school is another step towards making certain that our students are not just college ready, but also career ready,” said Mrs. Gonzalez.

ResponsiveEd, one of the largest charter school providers in Texas, has provided students in the Rio Grande Valley for more than 15 years with an alternative to traditional public high schools. There are currently five Premier High Schools in the Valley. The CTE campus will be the sixth.

The Premier High School program in Edinburg provides four pathways from which students choose: Health Science; Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security; Arts, A/V Technology and Communications; and Business, Marketing, and Finance. These particular pathways were chosen based on student interest and job opportunities in the community. According to ResponsiveEd’s Director of Career and Technical Education, Victor Jones, the CTE program provides experience that helps students choose a major in college, training towards testing and certification aligned with their identified pathways and skills that allow students to be more employable.

“If I am an employer and I’m looking for someone with experience in typing, Microsoft Office and Microsoft Word, it is beneficial to me if you have already taken those classes in high school and have attained a certification in Microsoft Office. That means you took a national exam and have a certification that attests to your qualifications and the ability to do your job well,” said Mr. Jones.

Nelda Garza is the new school’s director. With 35 years of education experience, Mrs. Garza has served as an elementary school teacher, elementary school counselor, high school crisis and at risk counselor and high school principal in the Valley. She also has more than 20 years in career and technical education training.

“Offering CTE pathways is important because many of our students have to work. By preparing them to  start specializing early on, they can gain a sense of the career they want, get experience in their fields of study and build connections with future employers. We are continually focused on our students’ future and our goal is to set them on a path towards the future they want,” said Mrs. Garza.

Gonzalez believes that the Premier High Schools serve an important role in helping students who are seeking a smaller learning environment and personalized education. She is driven by a sense of purpose to decrease the number of students in the Valley who are not graduating from high school.

“Education has made a difference in my life, and I’m committed to improving the quality of life for others. Our schools are committed to providing college and career options for our students and opportunities that can help them make informed decisions for their futures,” she said.

The Career & Technical Center at our new Premier High School is located at 4701 S. Sugar Rd., Edinburg, TX 78539. For more information call, 956-386-1825, 956-386-1793 or visit the website http://www.premierhighschools.com/CTE/.

To read more about the CTE courses offered follow the link.

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