Powell High School’s career technical education program (CTE) has continuously adapted to the trades. Based on a recent community needs assessment, the CTE program recently added a new health …
Powell High School’s career technical education program (CTE) has continuously adapted to the trades. Based on a recent community needs assessment, the CTE program recently added a new health pathway. It’s also now a part of a wide variety of certifications offered to students, giving them direction as they go into the world.
The CTE department consists of:
• Bryce Meyer, who is the CTE department chair and teaches welding and woodworking;
• Denise Laursen, who is the Perkins grant coordinator and family and consumer science teacher;
• Tammy Schiermeister, who is the work experience coordinator;
• Joel Hayano, who teaches technology and robotics;
• Mike Heny, who teaches business and graphic design;
• Shannon Darrough, who teaches agriculture and welding; and
• Kandi Bennett, who teaches family and consumer sciences.
Meyer said it’s important to give students multiple opportunities to take a variety of elective CTE courses, which can help prepare them to make decisions when they graduate.
“I think the biggest thing we can do in high school is give the students a kind of a not necessarily a shotgun approach — they’re gonna definitely gravitate toward areas — but they may have no inclination to go into culinary arts, if they’re one of my welding students, but they may take one [a culinary arts class] and they’re like, ‘Hey, this is pretty cool,” Meyer said.
The CTE program is composed of different learning pathways, which are chosen based on skills that are in high demand in the area and offer a high pay rate. This demand is determined through a comprehensive local needs assessment and an advisory council made up of students, parents, local businesses and teachers.
The CTE department works with JobsEQ to gather data through a comprehensive local needs assessment. New data is currently being gathered, according to Laursen. This data is then used to make new pathways or change curriculum accordingly.
Laursen has had her curriculum shift to focus more on the hospitality industry.
A new health pathway was added this year due to the comprehensive local needs assessment.
“We have health care occupations class, and then this semester, we had that health foundation’s class. So they’ll all be certified in BLS, which is a basic health care certification that they need,” Bennett said. “Then our hope is that they’ll go off into the CMAs, CNAs, nurses, first responders, some of those avenues that are really tradable right here at Northwest College, so they don’t have to go far.”
In addition to the different pathways, Powell students also have the ability to earn certifications through the CTE program. The State of Wyoming pays for one certification per student, according to Bennett.
“It really does help the kids just get that foot in the door,” Laursen said. “I think a lot of our businesses in our area don’t understand that we are working on that. But as I think the word starts to get out, that these kids are getting these certifications, it’s gonna start helping kids, it’s also going to save businesses some money, because that’s less time training they have to put in.”
Some certifications that are offered include Adobe Illustrator through Heny, an upcoming drone certification through Hayano and OSHA certification through Meyer.
Powell High School’s CTE program also offers students classes that allow them to develop more advanced skills. Laursen’s students have the option of independent study where they can work on their own chosen recipes and assignments. Meanwhile, Meyer is teaching an advanced woodworking class for the first year called Building Trades. This class offers students the opportunity to learn how to build structures, first by learning CAD and then by building structures. This year in Building Trades, students will build a greenhouse for science teacher Lenita Moore as well as possibly building a large scale dollhouse in collaboration with Bennett’s design students.