On Wednesday, I had the great privilege of visiting Mt. Angel Middle School and Silverton High School and seeing students totally engaged in the new career and technical education (CTE) classes made possible by one of eight CTE Revitalization Grants
awarded for this school year.
In a perfect example of a 21st
century “shop class,” I saw a room full of Silverton High students using DeWalt drills to drill into leg bones, learning with their own hands the steps to repairing a knee after a meniscus tear.
Biomedical science and sports medicine, taught by a certified teacher, is exactly the kind of 21st
century CTE we want in our schools: practical, hands-on experience that helps prepare our students for living wage jobs.
That class in Silverton is overwhelmingly young people setting a career path to nursing school and the high-demand healthcare workforce.
The partnership between the Mt. Angel and Silver Falls School Districts, sharing curriculum, infrastructure, teachers and other resources, means they can bring more CTE options to students than either could independently—a major victory for Mt. Angel and Mark Twain Middle Schools, which previously had no CTE offerings.
During my tour, Trish Conlon, who is coordinating the CTE partnership, emphasized the scalability of their approach. Not only is the model something that can be expanded within these school districts to bring even more options to students, but it’s something that can be shared with other districts across the state. That’s something that our grant review team looked for right off the bat: will other school districts be able to adopt and learn from the experiences of these inaugural grant recipients?
As you already know, the 21 schools with new and expanded CTE options this school year because of our grants are just the first phase in the plan that I and others have been pushing all along: make high-quality CTE options available to all Oregon students.
The efforts underway in Silverton and Mt. Angel, at Churchill High in Eugene and Joseph High in Joseph, and through our other grant recipients this year, are laying exactly the broad and diverse foundation of tested models that other school districts will be able to build on as we bring programs back to every school throughout the state.