What’s Wausome Career Technical Education: Wausau School District

Hello everyone I’m Keith Hilts
Superintendent of the Wausau School District and I want to talk to you today
about some of the excellent programs that we have that we offer to our
students you you may or may not know that we have programs that students are
able to have experiences that lead them into any career pathway that they’re
interested in and I’m here today with Mr. Jon Winter who is the coordinator
of that program so thanks for joining me Jon thanks for having me if someone
asked you what is Career and Technical Education and why is it valuable what
would you say to them well Career and Technical Education prepares students to
be college career and life ready and one of the things that we offer in the
Wausau School District is a number of different career pathways right in and
so in Career and Technical Education we have Agriculture and Natural Resources
we have business and marketing family consumer sciences as well as technology
education and engineering so a lot of different opportunities but within those
different departments we also have school to work opportunities we’ve got a
lot of wonderful community partnerships that help support those programs and so
what we’re really trying to do is give students the experiences of hands-on
learning we’re trying to give them experiences in our community so that
when they when they leave the Wausau School District they’re ready for both college
and career I had the opportunity to speak to a few students last week over
at East and they talked about what they’re learning in the classroom and he
also had a job in the community and how they were directly tied how valuable
that school experience was can you talk about the connection between school and
and work yeah so that’s one of the great things about our CTE programs is what
students are learning in other academic areas you know in the core areas or
whatever that might be we’re taking those concepts and applying them within
our classroom and within our labs so that students are better prepared when
they go out into the workforce and we have anywhere between 40 and 50 students
currently in our youth apprenticeship programs well we also
have internship programs and business opportunities where students are earning
credit for going out to work as well so the learning isn’t just happening within
the classroom or within our labs but also out in our community and and a lot
of that too is you know our business partners willing to open their doors and
mentor our students and give them the the real-life experiences as well as
does it does Career and Technical Education also lead to higher education
opportunities absolutely so in a number of our classes students are getting dual
credits and so they’re earning those college credits within the high school
schedule and so it is opening more doors and saving families tuition on the
front end through some of our dual credit classes nice what kinds of unique
opportunities would you say that the Wausau School District offers to
students and community partners that people may not be aware of so two things
come to mind number one our automotive as well as our
manufacturing programs at both high schools you know those are programs that
are in alignment with our community needs and our workforce needs here in
Wausau and so those are really unique because we have the equipment
that trains students to be successful after high school but but also right now
they’re doing and learning things in those labs that they can apply right now
what’s the situation with this aviation class I thought that was a really unique
opportunity so that’s again an example of our advisory committees and a lot of
our programs have advisory committees that we have great conversation and
great dialogue with our community business partners and in aviation that’s
really where that came from is is we had a community need where that there’s a
significant need for pilots not only locally but state and nationally and
they came to us and just said is there any opportunity to create a program for
students to be trained in aviation and start working towards their pilot
license and we started learning a lot more about what’s currently in place
down at the Wausau Airport and through our WAVE our Wausau Area Virtual Education we were able to identify some curriculum and through
that we have a cohort of students that have started taking the aviation
curriculum pursuing their pilot’s license while in high school while in
high school that’s a that is a unique opportunity that’s exciting where do you
see the area of technical career and technical education moving the next few
years well I think that we are again listening to what the needs are of our
community and continuing to align with those with those programs I think that
the more that we can share with our students and our families of
the career opportunities in CTE and then just looking at efficiencies and and how
can we train our students and educate them in these different areas at an
earlier age in getting them more technical skills right technology is
changing and so is our workforce and so we want to make sure our programs
are in direct alignment with the changing needs of our of our business
community and are we looking do we ever kind of use cross curricular
opportunities between say our our core classes and our and our encore are
career tech ed classes so we’ve done a few different things one thing that
comes to mind is is running a math class with a tech ed class and that’s
something we’ve done in the past and we’re continuing to look at but you know
when you think of geometry for example and then how how concepts in geometry
applied to the world of construction right or when you look at fractions and
what it means to build a recipe and family consumer through our culinary
program and being able to apply those those core concepts to hands-on projects
and experiences that’s really where those two come together and so doing
more of that I think benefits kids and that’s what’s best for our students is
is taking a look at okay blending blending those those different areas
together and that can happen a lot of different ways and
you think about a student that wants to finish their project but they have to
complete the technical reading in order to understand the instruction and apply
it and then finish their project so that’s really the value of career
technical education right there what else would you like is there anything
else you’d like people to know about the Career and Technical Education well I
think there’s an opportunity here to say thank you to the community and the
business partnerships that support Career and Technical Education but the
Wausau School District overall we are very fortunate in our community to have
the support that we have and that looks and feels in many different ways in our
school district but within Career and Technical Education I think whether that
be it through our student organizations such as DECA, FFA, FCCLA, SkillsUSA they’re
all supported by our local community our students are preparing for leadership
skills through our soft skills program and so that that’s one thing I’d like to
mention is we have really strong career technical student organizations which is
preparing students as well as in the classroom so and that is so successful
because of our community partnerships and in the support of of our community
absolutely yeah I met some of those students recently and their
level of maturity their ability to have a conversation those soft skills they’ve
developed through those organizations is very impressive so Jon what kinds of
opportunities in Career and Technical Education do you have that really
inspire students well we have some very exciting programs going on that kids you
know get fired up about yeah and those things are robotics in the middle
schools at John Muir Middle School and Horace Mann we we’re currently teaching
students about robotics and building and programming those robotics at Wausau East
we have unique programs such as auto collision and diesel programs in our
automotive lab those are two that come to mind that really get kids
excited yeah at Wausau West I was talking to a couple of teachers about
their engineering program that seems to be something pretty special so our
engineering program is what we call Project Lead the Way
classes and we have over a hundred and fifty students in Project Lead the Way
and those students are really getting a real genuine experience what
it means to become an engineer and go into the engineering field whether that
be civil engineering or electrical engineering or so we have a lot of great
opportunities within the Project Lead the Way pathway yeah and I recently met
our agriculture teacher who did he win an award recently so he was
recognized in our community at with one of our media outlets as a teacher of
excellence Mr. Joe Staszak right yes he’s our advisor for FFA and we have
well over a hundred and fifty students in our agriculture program at both Wausau
East and Wausau West both schools have greenhouses that students are able to
you know work in that setting again another fantastic program opportunity
for students as I said from the beginning of this video the Wausau
School District has programs that can lead students into any career area
you’ve heard today about some really exciting opportunities in the area of
Career and Technical Education Mr. Winter I want to thank you for being
with me today and share has opportunities and we want to take a
special moment to thank our community for all the support they’ve given in our
Career and Technical Education area as well as every other aspect of our
district we’re very fortunate to have a very supportive and and generous
community thank you for taking the time to watch this video Jon thank you for
being with me to share the wonderful opportunities that our students have and
take the opportunity to meet a Career and Technical Education teacher they are
dedicated to students are dedicated to the community they really create
exciting authentic opportunities for our students and we’re and we’re very
fortunate to be able to continue to offer those kinds of programs thank you
for taking the time to watch this video and I hope you join us next time when we
focus on the the wonderful fine arts programming in the Wausau School
District Thank you

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