Goals, Vision and Processes at CTEC:

How will the building and its maintenance be funded?

As part of a unique collaboration between our public school district and private enterprise, the Center’s infrastructure and maintenance will be shared by various entities.  While Mountain West will be responsible for funding and coordinating capital improvements to the infrastructure itself, Salem-Keizer Public Schools will identify the educational and instructional needs of the students served by the center.  The District will provide staffing, traditional school supplies, general maintenance and utilities needed to maintain the facility provided by Mountain West Investments and their industry partners.

Who are the teachers at CTEC?

Much like the other comprehensive schools in our District, the staff at CTEC will be comprised of licensed staff (principal, teachers and counselors), classified staff (office manager, school office specialists, instructional assistants, etc.) and industry partners (vocationally trained partners, mentors, guest speakers, guest instructors).  The technical instructors for each program will be recruited from industry, licensed to teach students and supported by District mentors, in order to provide our students with current, real-world work experiences and opportunities. 

Students will also have the opportunity to enroll in core curriculum classes in math, English and science that are career-focused and specifically related to the technical program and course work in which they are participating.

Where applicable, students at CTEC will also have the opportunity to earn dual credit that can be applied to high school graduation requirements and college credit through the local community college or university programs.

Are these programs only for those students who are not interested in or academically skilled enough for college preparatory classes?

CTEC will provide all students with the opportunity to explore career and college pathways related to the programs of study offered.  A well-rounded educational experience that provides students with a rigorous academic regime, coupled with technical, hands-on experience in industry will better prepare our students to make sound, practical decisions about the future.  Rather than limit a student’s options, CTE will provide students with the skills and vision to explore and develop their personal and professional interests. 

In many cases, courses taught at CTEC may help the student earn dual credit – with the student receiving both high school and college credit in a single course.

Does being involved in CTEC preclude my student from going to college?

CTEC is not a college / non-college ready tracking program.  Being enrolled at CTEC does not stop any student from graduating from high school or enrolling in a two or 4-year university program.  All course work taken at CTEC counts toward Salem-Keizer graduation requirements.  In many instances, CTEC course work may also receive college credit that can be applied towards college graduation (depending on the institution in which a student enrolls after high school).

How are the CTEC programs different from the old shop programs that may be found in some more traditional high school programs?

Many of what we think of as traditional shop or vocational programs offer excellent introductory experiences, skills and knowledge for novice students.  The instructional focus is often centered on the traditionally trained teacher’s area of expertise and skills are sometimes discreet exercises learned in the absence of authentic student application.  Students receive excellent instruction but may not have the opportunity to see how the learning will be used in the work place or have the opportunity to explore the various career or college pathways related to that technical trade or craft.  The instruction and skills may or may not be aligned to industry standards, needs or expectations.

At CTEC, students will receive instruction from staff who have specific industry expertise and experience.  The course work will all be focused on technical and soft skills needed to excel in the work force or to help students more deeply explore post-secondary learning opportunities.  The technical skills, academic knowledge and instructional strategies used will be derived from understanding what students need to bee successful once they exit the CTEC program.  Credits earned and skills learned will lead students toward their high school diploma, industry standards and certification, college credit and potentially college certification and degrees recognized by local, regional and state industries.

What programs are being offered?

Each year, CTEC will implement two or three new career and technical programs of study predicated on student interest, labor market analysis and industry support. 

The first two programs to be implemented in September, 2015 will be “residential construction” and “commercial manufacturing”.  In these programs, students will have the opportunity to learn about the process and skills need to build a home from the ground up and how industry responds to the need for specific parts, pieces and materials to be mass-produced in a lean, on-demand environment.  Students will learn about things such as: general construction and manufacturing processes, safety, equipment use, modern technology, academic requirements in areas such as math, science and English, work ethics, team work, customer service and career exploration.

Why is there a shift in emphasis from sending my student to college to now sending my student to a CTE program and work?

The School District has not changed or shifted its mission or vision for students.  Our goal remains “In partnership with the community, we ensure that each student will have the essential knowledge, skills and attitudes to be a lifelong learner, a contributing citizen and a productive worker in a changing and increasingly diverse world.”  We hold steadfast to our vision of high school completion for all students that in turn provides students with multiple opportunities beyond the walls of our schools.

CTEC provides an infrastructure and opportunity that was unavailable to previous generations of students.  In-depth, technical and purposeful, career-related learning allows students to consider career paths that now include living-wage, entry level jobs and post- secondary education experiences at the college or university level, as-well-as in other options such as: trade schools, technical schools, journeyman programs and Union schools.

The emphasis for the past several decades has been on “going to college”.  Why the sudden shift to technical schools and careers?

Schools have long been focused on preparing students for both college and careers, with the ultimate goal being to provide options that lead students to a life of happiness, prosperity and a global contribution.  In years’ past, a college degree was synonymous with increased employability and higher lifetime earnings.  This general belief, along with the rise in tuition costs and economic decline, has lead to staggering student debt and a shortage of qualified workers for industry.

This new collaboration between private enterprise and the public school system is providing our District with the resources and opportunities to address the gap between “traditional learning” and “applicable learning”.  Hopefully, all education leads to some sort of employment or career.  CTEC is designed to help build a better understanding of the connections and critical relationships between school and careers.  At CTEC, students and teachers have a clear answer to the age-old student question “When am I ever going to use this stuff?”

If my student enrolls in a specific program at CTEC and then discovers he/she doesn’t care for it, how will he/she change focus?  Will my student now be at a disadvantage? 

Just like your student’s resident school, classes may be added or dropped at the semester.  CTEC students will have first consideration in moving from one program of study to another, based on space availability. If a student chooses to exit CTEC entirely, the credits they earned still transfer to their resident school and count towards graduation. 

Students changing from one area of focus to another within CTEC may fall behind in skills and opportunities to meet industry standards or earn industry certification used for employment.  Many aspects of industry related proficiency will be predicated on a two-year program of study/participation.

Will any of the new CTE programs be single elective classes that students can use to explore the subject?

Classes at CTEC will be advanced classes and culminating or capstone activities.  They will not be designed as exploratory courses.  There will be introductory courses or courses with content related to CTEC offerings at the other six comprehensive schools in the District.  For example, while there will be no exploratory class for “residential construction” at CTEC, students will have the opportunity to take introductory wood shop classes at McKay and South, and students at North Salem can enroll in “intro to Cabinet Making.  Students at schools not offering introductory courses in the CTEC programs will have the opportunity to take a short, 4-week introductory course during the summer designed to prepare them for the first day of school at CTEC.

Will my student be stigmatized for being in a Career and Technical track program rather than a college track program?

CTEC is as much of a “college track” program as anything else in our District.  The primary difference is that at CTEC, students will also have more opportunity to explore specific career paths related to their area of study.   Students enrolled “College Writing” or “AP History” at one of our comprehensive high schools may have little time to explore or discover careers, requirements or post-secondary opportunities for learning related to the subject “writing” or “history”.  There will be clear and purposeful connections between CTEC coursework and college and career related objectives.    

Students who complete a two-year program of study at CTEC will be viewed by local industry and college admission offices as academically focused, goal oriented, and career driven. 

Are any of the classes at CTEC good for college prep credit?

As the CTEC curriculum is developed for each new program, the District will work with local colleges and universities to align curriculum in order to provide students with college credit.  In addition to technical courses such as blueprint reading and CAD/CAM, we will work to develop and align core curriculum classes such as technical construction math along with technical reading and writing.

Isn’t the new Career and Technical Education Center so far away from my child’s resident school that they will lose credits or opportunities at their regular school?

Students wishing to take advantage of the many unique opportunities at CTEC are going to see a few differences in their schedule.  Transportation will be provided for any student wishing to attend CTEC and the Center’s start and stop times will be adjusted to take best advantage of opportunities for students at their resident school.  The District is currently exploring various bell schedules that would allow students to meet state seat time requirements and discussions around dual credit and college credit are intended to minimize the potential for credits lost due to transportation time.

How will transportation to and from CTEC work?

The School District will provide students with free bus transportation to and from CTEC and the students’ resident school.  Students will also have the option of driving their own vehicles and parking at CTEC.  The District is also working with Salem Area Mass Transit to explore potential bus routes and times that may allow students to access CTEC outside of the normal school day.

Will counselors recommend which students should attend CTEC?

Students will always have the option to self-select and determine whether or not they apply for enrollment at CTEC.  All high school counselors are responsible for helping students make wise course selection decisions based on the student’s academic needs and personal interests.  Counselors will inform students about these new programs and they will provide guidance in selecting classes that help the student meet graduation requirements, college admission requirements and are engaging on a personal level.

Will my student be guaranteed a job in industry after completing course work at CTEC?

The goals of CTEC are to assist students in meeting high school graduation and college admission requirements while also helping students demonstrate proficiency in career related skills and industry certification.  That is not a guarantee of employment.  However, we will continue to build relationships with industry leaders, provide internship opportunities for outstanding students and focus on the technical and soft skills favored by industry employers.  A close partnership and continued collaboration will increase the likelihood of CTEC students receiving “first consideration” in the hiring process.  Like any job, personal performance will determine the employee’s long term potential.