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Spotlight on Career and Technical Education at Pleasant Ridge High School

Posted Date: 02/06/2017

Education officials love to use acronyms, or abbreviations, to name different programs that are currently being used across the state and nation.  One such program is Career and Technical Education, or CTE.  CTE programs, which are becoming more prevalent in all high schools, were established to provide a rigorous and relevant curriculum to prepare students for a wide-range of high-wage, high-skill, high-demand careers. 

USD 449 and Pleasant Ridge High School are heavily invested in CTE programs.  These programs prepare students to be college and career ready by providing them with core academic skills, employability skills and technical and job-specific skills. 

One of those students who has benefitted from our CTE programs is Matt Schwartz.  Matt, who is currently attending PRHS half a day and spends the afternoon in Atchison at the Highland Community College Technical Center (HCCTC), placed second in the Nation this past summer in Database Applications at the National Future Business Leaders of America.  Matt, who developed an interest in computers at a young age when his mother brought an old computer home from work, worked, diligently this past spring and summer to prepare for his national test.  He was enrolled in the Graphic Design class last year and worked ahead of the class as he is motivated to learn as much as he can.

During the current school year Matt is enrolled in a new class offered at PRHS, Principles of Computer Science.  During the first quarter of the school year the students in the class have been working on coding, using Python, a coding program that can be used to create computer games and mobile applications for tablets, among other uses.  Mrs. Kelsey Bollin, the Principles of Computer Science instructor, was required to attend 2 weeks of intensive training this past summer so she would be able to teach the class at PRHS.

Matt is also enrolled in the Computer Support Technology program at HCCTC.  In this program, students learn to be computer technicians, including troubleshooting and fixing issues that a person may find with their computer.

The Board of Education has been very supportive in working with the teachers and administration in providing the funding necessary to keep our technology updated so that our students who have an interest in this area will be able to learn as much as they can while in high school.  We are also fortunate to have Highland Community College close by so that our students who have special interests can enroll in specific programs that will fit their needs.