Students at the Churchill County High School recently hosted the community in a CTE Roundtable to show off the career and technical programs available to them as the district works to make all students “life ready.”
Assemblywoman Robin Titus attended the roundtable, working with students in Chase Johnson’s Culinary Arts program to answer survey questions and provide community input to the process.
Hosted by Principal Tim Spencer and Superintendent Summer Stephens, the event was held in response to discussions held during the past election cycle about the state of the district programs including Future Farmers of America and the building trades.
Stephens provided welcoming remarks and explained that the district currently runs 20 different programs from Automotive Technology to Principles of Agriculture and Nursing to Video Production. There are currently 150 students in the Culinary Arts program, 141 in Multimedia Communications, 111 in Principles of Health Science, and 107 in Military Science, just to name a few of the busier programs. There are also three separate Career and Technical Organizations: FFA, SkillsUSA, and HOSA for the health occupation students. SkillsUSA is a nationwide program for students in career, technical, and skilled service occupations.
Stephens said that over the next three years, nationwide, 29% of the construction workforce is set to retire with baby boomers aging out of the workforce. “That’s reality, that’s not just Fallon,” she said. “We just want you to be prepared.”
The district has a Board Goal specific to CTE and Workplace Readiness, as Stephens explained, to increase the percentage of students who pass the end-of-program from 59% of the students enrolled in CTE at the end of 2020-21 to 70% at the end of 2023-24.
She said the reason for the roundtable was “to strengthen community relationships so we can build better partnerships.” In addition to the CTE skills, students are also prepared through their classes to gain and improve their workplace-ready skills including creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, initiative and self-direction, and their respect for diversity among several other life skills.
In partnership with the Churchill Entrepreneur Development Association, the district will also offer several work-based learning opportunities for students to gain real-world experience in the auto, construction, and healthcare industries.
Stephens also explained that the CTE programs are funded by a state CTE allocation based on the number of students enrolled in the programs. In addition, the district has been awarded several grants that help fund the programs as well including Federal Carl Perkins, Competitive College, and Career Ready funding. The Perkins grant for support staff in high-needs classes to increase participation, and a Competitive Teaching and Training grant to meet the teacher shortage, and “grow our own” as Stephens said. The Competitive College and Career Ready funding will allow the district to fund some college credits as well as provide for a full-time and part-time position to fund a work-based learning coordinator and a career center that Stephens said will “stand up over the next few years.”
Several of the programs provide learning and practice that lead students to certifications they can earn while in high school that make them employable in high demand occupations including automotive, welding, nursing, and several healthcare positions including Emergency Medical Technician.
Several students were on hand to take community members through their classrooms and see the technology they have to work with through the various curricula. Culinary students showed off their new walk-in refrigerator and the new ranges and imposing ventilation system in what Johnson said is the biggest hood set-up in the community, which he was able to purchase through a grant that he wrote.
Auto students took attendees through their shop, showing off their hoods as well.
ROTC students explained the various programs and the competitions they are preparing for, including drill teams, the rifle team, and the newest cybersecurity program that they are building with a grant they just received.
Students in the Health Occupations fields have access to all the modern tools of the trade including a high-tech autopsy table that teacher Elaine Adams was able to purchase last year through a grant that she found and was awarded.
Spencer reported at the last board meeting on the success of the evening saying he was able to gather good feedback that will be used to continue to improve ongoing programs.
Trustee Schank talked about retired teachers Richard Evans and Louie Mori and the auto and building programs they had built over the years. “We have to get people who want to invest in the community and build these programs that kids want to feed into.”
Missing my friend Leo 💜