Magazine article Techniques

CTE Month® School Visit Demonstrates Value of CTE

Magazine article Techniques

CTE Month® School Visit Demonstrates Value of CTE

Article excerpt

THE STAFF AT THE ASSOCIATION for Career and Technical Education l 'ACTE) noi only organizes CTE Month11 and encourages ACTE members and career and technical education (CTE] professionals across the country to open their doors and engage in outreach with the community, but they also "walk the talk," too, by visiting a CTE school in the Washington, D.C., area. This past February, ACTE staff and partners from the Cisco Networking Academy and the Department of Education's Office of Vocational and Adult Education toured McKinley Technology High School, located in Northeast Washington, D.C.

McKinley Tech originally opened in 1901 as a technical high school. It has a long, rich history in the community, including serving as a training school for returning vets following World War II. The school closed briefly in the "00s and reopened in 2004. and its primary focus today is on science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) curricula, as well as broadcast communications. With over 600 students, not only does McKinley Tech boast national recognition for its accomplishments, including receiving the National Blue Ribbon Award in 2012, but it also outpaces the majority of secondary schools in the District of Columbia Public School DCPS system, with McKinley Tech's students attending four-year colleges at a higher rate lhan students from the average DCPS high school.

Seeing Students in Action

The school visit began in the morning, with ACTE staffanti guests meeting the school's stall", including Gideon Sanders, director of internships and partnerships; Principal David Finder; and Fran McCabe, director of admissions. McKinley Tech is a comprehensive STEM school, and asa specialized school in DCPS, students must submit an application and be accepted in order to attend. As part of the recruitment process, MeCabe and Pinder visit area middle schools to talk about the opportunities at McKinley Tech, and they spoke abolii this on our visit. Most of the students that ACTE staff encountered during the tour had either transferred into McKinley Tech after a year at another school, or had started as freshmen at McKinley Tech.

McKinley Tech offers concentrations, or "strands," including engineering, mass media, biotechnology and information technology. Students choose a strand to focus their studies on. Exposure to real-world work situations and industry-standard equipment is a priority at McKinley, and partnerships with corporations like Lockheed Martin and industry groups like the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association lAFCEAl DC Chapter make these opportunities possible for students. During our tour, student Curtis McNeill talked about his recent internship with Cisco and trips to Lockheed Manin facilities, McNeill felt the internship and site visits cave him the advantage over his peer» in helping him discover his passion for biotechnology, and so he chose to pursue that field. All the stridents participating in the tour are on their way to postseeondary programs, international studies or working their way into a field through the help of their experiences at McKinley.

ACTE staff visited classrooms in each strand. Students worked independently or in teams, and almost always in hands-on settings in each classroom. In a course titled "Engineering Development and Design,'' 8eilior-level students were working on independent projects. …

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