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Many of ResponsiveEd’s Premier High Schools offer a CTE program. With so many programs designed to help students get ahead, we sat down with Domenica Irula, ResponsiveEd’s program manager of Career and Technical Education, to explore how CTE benefits students.

Q: What is CTE?

A: CTE stands for Career and Technical Education. Through CTE programs, students take a sequence of courses that provides them with coherent and rigorous content as well as technical knowledge and skills in a particular industry.

In other words, a student will choose a career cluster, and if the student enrolls in the CTE Business, Management, and Administration cluster, they will take classes that are related to that industry, such as Business Law, Principles of Business, Marketing and Finance.

The familiarity, knowledge, and technical skills they build through the courses will help prepare them for further education and careers in current or emerging professions.

Q: What are the benefits of taking a CTE course?

A: At our Premier High School in Fort Worth, one student wants to start a pickle business. However, setting up a business is not easy. It requires knowledge of regulations and laws as well as a business strategy, marketing, advertising and pricing. With the experience and connections she is gaining from the Business Administration, Management and Finance CTE career cluster, she will be equipped with the knowledge she needs to begin her business.

Students can benefit from CTE by gaining earning advantages before and after graduation. Often students struggle in school because they don’t see how it is relevant to their future or to supporting themselves. Many times students enter college and change their majors multiple times because they have never been introduced to all the careers that are available. When students take CTE career clusters, they can decide if a particular career isn’t for them before they’ve spent money on college classes.

Whether students are college or career bound after graduation, CTE can give them experience, motivation, knowledge, mentors and internships that make the connection between their education and the future work they can do.

In addition, CTE students have the opportunity to obtain college credit for courses completed in high school and receive business and industry certifications. By the end of the 2015-16 school year, ten students at our Premier High School of Edinburg CTE Center completed a Certified Nurse Assistant Program and are now in the workforce or are pursuing advanced nursing degrees.

Q: What led ResponsiveEd to start incorporating CTE into Premier High School?

A: ResponsiveEd’s aim is always to provide hope to students by offering choices and opportunities. Many students are drawn to our schools because they need more flexibility and personalization in their education. CTE can help students build confidence in their own ability to succeed. Gaining advanced knowledge, experience and building a professional network in high school also gives them the advantage when it comes to looking for a job.

Q: What does CTE look like on a Premier High School Campus?

A: Unlike most Premier High School classes that are independent study, CTE classes look more like traditional classes. The classes also provide them with opportunities for collaboration and meeting with industry experts as well as building the skills needed for a particular industry. In addition to their class work, students often will have opportunities to gain practical experience through internships. Students enrolled in CTE courses obtain credits for successful completion which also count as credit in House Bill 5 endorsement areas.

Q: What programs do our schools offer?

A: Currently, our schools offer the seven following career pathways:

  • Business Management and Administration
  • Health Science
  • Arts, Audio Visual Technology and Communications
  • Information Technology
  • Law Public Safety Corrections and Security
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
  • Human Services

Q: How did you decide which cluster will be offered at a particular school?

A: When we select career clusters for the different schools, it is based on potential jobs in the area as well as student interest. If there is a hospital near the school, we would consider Heath Science, if there is a big IT company close by we would consider Information Technology. However, student interest always plays a role as we always try to remain responsive to our student’s needs.

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