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Superintendent: What is CTE?

What is CTE?

Townspeople heard the words “Career and Technical Education” for many weeks and months leading up to the recent high school renovation vote.  As many times as we spoke about “C.T.E.” and its value to students and the school community, it’s apparent that Career and Technical Education is not understood by everyone.  Without question, it’s a hidden gem within Salem High School and serves not only our students but our community as well.  It’s significantly challenging to explain the substantial opportunities offered to every type of student through our thirteen C.T.E. programs, but read on to learn more.

A goal of every school district is to provide a program of studies from elementary through high school that prepares students for a competitive world.  Whether students enter the work force directly out of high school, join the military, enter a two-year college, or begin a four-year degree program, we want our students to be globally competitive.  To become college and career ready, students need to integrate and apply 21st century skills, technical knowledge, and core academic knowledge.  Today’s post-secondary experiences require students to have critical thinking skills; creative problem-solving capabilities; both verbal and written communication skills; and the capacity to collaborate with others.  All of this is exactly what our C.T.E. programs provide.

How many people realize that we have a fully functioning restaurant available to the public; or a pre-school that serves the community’s four and five year old children; or a building trades program that will build sheds for interested townspeople at a reasonable cost and has been in the community building home additions; or an automotive program that provides an opportunity for students to work on contemporary and sophisticated cars?  Students completing two years in Health, Science, and Technology can leave high school with a licensed nursing assistant (LNA) or emergency medical technician (EMT) certification.  Computer Networking offers computer technician and server certifications, and students completing our Computer Software and Media Applications courses can earn up to nine college credits before leaving Salem High School.  A graduate of our Television Productions program, Alex Disenhof, attended Emerson College and was identified as a “rising star” at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  Biotechnology and Pre-Engineering put our students at the forefront of today’s most in-demand careers.

Students can’t enter Salem High School with the intention of blowing off their freshman year subjects in anticipation of taking “voc” classes later on.  Our Career and Technical Education students enter some of the most sophisticated and challenging programs that we offer.  It’s not unusual for a student to finish A.P. Physics class and head to Automotive Technology, or to go from A.P. Calculus to Early Childhood Education, or from A.P. Chemistry to Health, Science, and Technology.  Students must qualify by meeting rigorous standards early in high school and then applying for entry. 

Our C.T.E. Center gives high school students, the chance to get a head start and leave high school prepared for competitive college options and career choices.  Our staff meets with business leaders to ensure that the curricula meets today’s industry standards.  Traditional pathways to college are no longer as certain as in past years.  Students should explore opportunities and challenge themselves.  Our high school and our C.T.E. Center offer those challenges.

If you want to learn even more, visit the school district’s web site and select Salem High School.  From there, select Departments and look for Career and Technical Education.  You’ll be amazed at what you learn.