Planned to impact more than 93 percent of students at the new Waxahachie High School, the career, technology education program hopes to create a premier educational environment.
“It’s impossible to not walk into one of those classrooms and not be inspired by the space," said Waxahachie High School CTE Director Mark Bosher.
The organization of the CTE program involves 16 clusters with each group relating to a set of occupations. Every group offers a coherent series of classes that includes at least two or more courses with three or more college credits.
Bosher walked through the Billy Bates CTE Center and highlighted how each career cluster would benefit once the doors open on the first day of school.
“We were using a 1972 building to do 2018 stuff. So now the building matches what we will actually do now,” Bosher expressed.
Health science is the fastest growing program, which focuses on nursing and pharmacology. The section includes science labs for advanced sciences and instructional classrooms. An essential mock clinic patient care facility is housed with five-bed stations, a pharmacy counter, and other medical equipment.
“We had part of a clinic at one time, but we grew so fast that we’ve been using it as a classroom for 10 years,” Bosher disclosed about the former campus.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Students who aspire to work in a school setting — anywhere from a child care center to a college professor — study in the education and training cluster.
“Ninety percent of the students we get want to be elementary school teachers," Bosher noted.
The courses revolve around human growth and development, lesson plans, and local elementary schools for student teaching. What makes their learning space unique at the Billy Bates CTE Center is the learning lab that replicates an elementary class.
“We can actually bring classes over here to teach too, and the side benefit of that is the elementary kids get to come over and see this career awareness information," Bosher elaborated.
The attached education lab will also contain advanced learning technologies, incorporate flexible seating, virtual learning and other innovative techniques the elementary students do not see every day.
Bosher referenced the education lab as, “The classroom of tomorrow.”
ARTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
The arts, audio/visual and communications cluster has three career pathways — graphics, animation, and video.
Industry equipment will be installed, and green curtains wrap around the broadcast room. The facility allows more opportunities for broadcast, magazine and newspaper publications.
The broadcast studio is equipped with an animation lab, production room and mac lab attached with 26 computers. The A/V students are the operators of the video board at the Indian football games, as well. They will now be able to exercise their experience in the classroom.
“We have an actual production studio now whereas before we were operating out of a closet. And what you see in there is what a kid would see on Channel 8," Bosher pointed out.
The rooms are designed to where an individual can observe multiple rooms simultaneously through windows.
“A lot of times when we looked at other schools, and we would wonder how the teacher would see where the students were," Bosher explained. "So, we were always looking at student management and this room is set up to maximize student management.”
Robotics, civil engineering, electrical engineering and aerospace engineering are all careers focused under STEM in the CTE program.
New equipment includes a robotics floor and a makerspace where students will conduct structural projects. Attached to the classroom is a production lab that provides equipment for 3-D printing, manufacturing, vinyl and laser engraving.
“When you are doing engineering design that can be anything from a house to a t-shirt. So we do it all," Bosher shared.
ARCHITECTURE AND CONSTRUCTION
Mainly woodworking is the focus of this cluster, but the students also learn essential techniques of electrical work, plumbing, and masonry. Every year the class will create a framed structure with a roof to learn carpentry skills. The cluster also has a partnership with John Houston and regularly work on homes behind the Academy.
“We call it a neighborhood lab,” Bosher said.
The lab space for this cluster has doubled in size, and the equipment is hooked up to a dust collector so there will be a significant difference in air quality. Also, the shop’s structure provides a sense of professionalism.
LAW, PUBLIC SAFETY, CORRECTIONS AND SECURITY
Law, public safety, corrections, and safety career cluster is appropriate for any student that wants to pursue a job as a first responder, dispatcher or a security officer.
The most appealing aspect of this career cluster is the mock court. The department will have a portable judge's bench, witness stand, and jury box. These items can be used in the classroom as well as in the community/multi-purpose room that is suitable with the wooden walls.
Other career clusters include information technology, which focuses on computer programing and video game design. This section will be housed in a computer lab. Another group is the human service cluster, which involves careers in social work, guidance and counseling.
The CTE program at WHS is open for area students as well. Bosher explained how students from Global High School, Midlothian ISD, Ferris and even Venus commute to participate in the CTE program. There are about 60 area students enrolled, and at one time there were about 175 area students who attended.
If a parent is interested in their child participating in the CTE program at WHS, they can communicate with their current high school counselor.
Other career clusters such as business and industry, hospitality and tourism, manufacturing and cosmetology will be featured in separate articles.
Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450