New Career and Technical HS Offers Career Pathways, Meets New State Requirements

New Career and Technical HS Offers Career Pathways, Meets New State Requirements
Posted on 08/12/2014
Throughout the state, high schools are implementing new graduation requirements stemming from House Bill 5 (HB 5), passed in 2013 by the 83rd Texas Legislature. 

The new requirements emphasize the importance of Career and Technical Educational (CTE) courses. As a result, administrators are implementing innovative approaches to preparing students for the workplace and higher education.

Steven Fleming, principal at the new Career and Technical High School, says they are up for the challenge. 

“The spirit and intent of House Bill 5 is to provide students with choices in career pathways and flexibility in student scheduling,” Fleming said. “We have collaborated with community members, parents and instructional staff to ensure that students experience innovative curriculum opportunities that support the new HB 5 initiative.”

House Bill 5 replaces the previous high school programs (Minimum, Recommended and Distinguished Achievement) with a Foundation program where students can earn endorsements and a Distinguished Level of Achievement.

In the past, the Recommended High School Program that required four courses in math, English, science and social studies has been replaced this year by a High School Foundation Graduation Program that allows students to earn up to 22 credits including additional credits for endorsements in specific areas of interest. The five endorsement area include science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses, Business and Industry, Public Services, Arts and Humanities and Multidisciplinary studies.

Under the new graduation plan, high school students will have the added benefit of selecting classes that meet their personal goals, provide flexibility and allow them to earn an Associate’s degree or certification while they are still in high school.  

Courses offered at the CTHS have been designed to satisfy House Bill 5 requirements while giving students a new and exciting educational experience. 

“Depending upon their career pathway and course selection, students may have the opportunity to earn more than one endorsement,” Fleming said.

When students select their career pathway, complete their core, elective and CTE coursework, and earn their industry certifications, they will have completed the requirements under the new law. 

Students enrolled at CTHS have a unique opportunity to gain industry experience and college credit in their chosen career pathway. Fleming explained that students can participate in field experiments, internships, and mentoring programs with industry personnel.  

Should students complete their certification and enroll at San Jacinto College to continue that pathway, they have the opportunity to earn up to nine hours of college credit at no cost for courses completed at CTHS.  Additionally, students will also have the same opportunities as other Pasadena ISD high school students to earn college credit through Advanced Placement or Dual Credit course work.

Not only will CTHS students meet HB 5 graduation requirements but they will do so using cutting edge technology. 

Fleming explained that all students will receive Windows-based tablets to help students prepare for class and submit assignments in a quick and efficient way. 

Students will also work with industry-standard curriculum, designed by professionals and taught by career and technical education teachers.  

“Students will use the same equipment and master the industry skills necessary for them to be workforce ready upon graduation,” he said. “Our core, elective and CTE teachers will work together to make natural connections between their subject areas so that students receive integration and reinforcement of important core, college, and career ready skills.”

With 26 career pathway programs, all of which meet state requirements, Fleming anticipates that CTHS will help the district build new relationships with local businesses and equip students with the skills and knowledge to be successful after graduation.

“Students will have an opportunity to listen to, work with, and learn from business and industry leaders in a variety of career pathways,” he said. “Students who graduate from CTHS with their diploma and industry-recognized certifications will be prepared to either enter the workforce directly upon graduation or continue their education training and preparation at a college or university.”

The state-of-the-art facility is one of several new campuses that will be opening this school year thanks to community support of a 2011 bond.