Vocational, college and technical education is the key to the future | Local news

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Santa Fe Public Schools are redoubling their efforts to ensure all students graduate college and career ready to help them adapt to seismic changes in the economy and workforce work due to the pandemic.

A framework for college, vocational and technical education, launched by the Board of Education and presented at a study session in the fall, is based on the following guiding principles:

u Continue to build on career paths that make secondary education more engaging and relevant.

u Integrate the classroom into the community through on-the-job learning: twinning, mentoring and internships.

u Expand the possibilities for college double credit that are aligned with the pathways.

The work plan for this initiative is ambitious and imperative.

It starts with generating an asset map collecting critical information from all stakeholders.

Surveys and focus groups of students, teachers and families will be used to determine interest in current and potential CCTE programs.

The opinions of employers will be solicited to determine the current and future skills, knowledge and general competencies of the workforce. Research will be compiled to chart future industries for employment growth, including wages and salaries.

Another key part of the work plan is the hiring of a District Workplace Learning Coordinator.

The coordinator will ensure consistency of procedures and act as a liaison with the business and higher education communities.

In addition, the work plan expands career guidance in secondary schools and career exploration in middle schools.

This will help high school students better understand their options for dual credit college courses linked to potential careers. The framework is based on what district graduates shared about the factors contributing to their professional success.

Marcos Portillo, a 2019 graduate of Early College Opportunities in the Automotive Pathway who works as a local auto body technician at CF Collision, attributes his success to the internships he completed in high school that led to his permanent employment.

He gives the most credit to automotive teacher Chris Coriz and his emphasis on hands-on learning in the workshop. “He made sure that what we were learning in the classroom was engaging,” Marcos said.

Alyssa Glaze-Reyes, a 2013 graduate of the Biomedical Pathway at Capital High School who works as a nurse supervisor at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital in Albuquerque, said working with the Scrub Club summer camp was a transformative experience, as well as ‘an internship in a hospital. emergency room.

By far the greatest influence is his biomedical professors Natalie Garcia and Stephanie Gurule-Leyba.

“They were very strict and caring. They were able to show us how to learn more in the field, especially in the lab, ”she said.

Attending science and engineering summer camps at a young age sparked an interest in engineering for Ursula Vold, a 2015 Santa Fe High School graduate of the engineering course and systems engineer at Lockheed Martin in Denver.

High school courses in advanced calculus and computer-aided design gave him an edge in college. But her teachers “were the biggest part, to be honest,” she said.

She pointed out that one of the main drivers of her success was engineering professor Dave Forester who enabled her and her classmates to create their own projects. From their current perspective as members of the workforce, their advice for advancing college, vocational and technical education is to encourage students to be open to trying new skills, to provide more resources for project-based learning and to give students more real-world experiences.

The clear challenge for anyone who cares about public schools, higher education and our community is to create strong partnerships to ensure that every student – just like Marcos, Alyssa and Ursula – can pursue their passions in high school to achieve graduate from college and be ready for a career.

Mary Massey is the Director of College and Career Preparation for Santa Fe Public Schools.


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