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CTE planning session draws community members, WMCC and DOE staff

November 22, 2011
WHITEFIELD — Brainstorming and a chance to share career and job expertise with career and technical education teachers at WMRHS was both fun and productive.

A number of experts on various career paths — community members, teachers in the WMRHS Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, White Mountains Community College administrators, and CTE specialists from the state Department of Education — dined together at a special meal on Tuesday evening, Nov. 15, that was cooked by Culinary Arts students and served by Mountain View Academy students.

The cafeteria was decorated with bands of colorful netting hanging from the ceiling, and supersized photographs illustrating aspects of the various disciplines now offered at the Arthur T. Paradice CTE Center.

CTE Director Lori Lane explained that the Center is in the beginning stages of planning a major addition and renovation project.

"The focus of this project is to renovate the CTE Center so that the facility, built in 1984-1985, can better support the delivery of CTE programs to area students," Lane explained. "When you think about the changes your own career field has undergone over the last 25 years, it can help you understand the needs at WMRHS."

Some classroom-lab areas are no longer configured so that they can satisfactorily serve today's program needs, she explained. Others, like the culinary arts facilities, are very undersized.

After dinner, Program Advisory Committee members met in Cluster groupings: Education (Future Educators Academy); and Hospitality & Tourism, including marketing; Sustainable Agriculture; and Systems Technology; plus a potential new one — Government and Public Service, that would include the JROTC Spartan Unit.

Each of the small groups was asked to respond to the following questions: What workforce needs can you project for your industry-career field over the next 20 years? What are the job skills someone would need to enter into your industry-career field? What units of instruction should the CTE program incorporate into its educational program to meet these identified needs? And what should the physical spaces — classroom, labs and –shops — look like? What equipment-technology should be considered to meet these needs?

The cluster facilitators met after the sessions to compile the answers.

"It was a great evening in which many community members took the time to help us envision the future and to help us get a better handle on what skills area students will need to be successful in whatever careers they choose enter," Lane said. "It's very exciting to have this opportunity to update our facilities and our programs."

Lane said she is particularly appreciative that Executive Councilor Ray Burton and two state representatives — Rep. Herb Richardson, a member of the school board, and Rep. Bill Remick, a former board member — were able to be on hand. Securing the up-to-70 percent reimbursement for the CTE project that will go before District voters in March 2013 will require the help of North Country political leaders.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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