Aledo ISD’s Career & Technical Education program met for its fall advisory board meeting, where 13 business and industry professionals, 12 teachers, two students and three parents were in attendance. The interactive assembly provided an overview for participants who will serve as guest speakers, mentors and advisors on a variety of levels.
“The students are on the board to provide feedback regarding current and future CTE course offerings. CTE is working with business and industry leaders so that our teachers will have a better understanding of their needs and standards in order for students to be more prepared when entering college and the work world,” said Mary Smith, AISD coordinator for Career & Technology Education. “For example, the No. 1 request was for teachers to work with students on ‘soft’ skills; i.e. good manners and personality traits needed to get along with others, and building positive relationships. This includes work ethic, attitude, communication skills, etc.”
Tori Fuentes is an AHS senior who is active on the advisory board. “This is a great opportunity for me to learn, gain experience and work with adults who are collaborating on the program,” she said. “I have been able to meet with a nurse in the Texas Health cardiac rehabilitation unit, and am very excited about the possibility of job shadowing her to get more experience.” Tori is in the CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) program this school year.
Various courses fitting in the CTE spectrum have been offered through Aledo ISD for years. With the introduction of HB5 in 2013, the Texas Education Code experienced a number of changes in areas including curriculum, accountability, assessment and accreditation. Smith said because of HB5, school districts have had to move CTE offerings to the forefront. CTE courses have become more rigorous and relevant as a result.
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Aledo ISD has hired specialists in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) field, along with teachers in Agriculture Science, Health Science, Business, Information Technology and a host of other industries. Just last year, the district’s Board of Trustees voted to have a College & Career Readiness course added to the middle-school curriculum. This was done so that when students must select an endorsement for graduation requirements, they will have a head start on which career opportunities appeal to them. As recently as a few weeks ago, HB18 mandated that ALL school districts implement instruction in high school, college and career preparation in seventh or eighth grade.
“AISD is honored to have so many in the community and surrounding area who are willing to work with our program to support the long-term career goals of our students,” Smith said. “These individuals are the ones that help us succeed with our mission of equipping students with the skills, ethics and knowledge necessary to be confident, contributing citizens in a global society.”