Spring Lake Park Schools has identified three pathways to provide enhanced opportunities for students interested in career and technical education courses.
Career and technical education is one strand of the district’s larger plan to put secondary students on a path to earn 12 college credits by 12th grade.
Currently, the district offers career and technical education opportunities in the following departments: Business, Marketing and Technology; Family and Consumer Sciences; Industrial Technology; and Opportunities in Emergency Health Care.
Last winter, the district completed a market analysis in order to match coursework with in-demand, high-paying jobs.
“We saw a gap in what the market analysis was telling us and what we were currently offering,” said Hope Rahn, director of learning and innovation. “We knew that we wanted to expand opportunities.”
So a group of secondary science, math and career and technical education teachers, as well as technology department staff and parents, worked on developing prototypes for career and technical education programming, under the leadership of Jerelyne Nemanich, learning technology coordinator.
The group came up with two prototypes, and combining common themes, those two prototypes led to three pathways for future programming: business, entrepreneurial, management; design, engineering, information systems; and health sciences and human services.
All three pathways would prepare students to think critically, solve problems, innovate, work as a team, communicate and use design thinking, according to a School Board presentation given by Rahn Nov. 15.
Specific coursework has not been identified yet, but possible areas of study have been noted.
Marketing, management, finance, accounting, entrepreneurial studies and green footprint are areas the team identified as possibilities under the business, entrepreneurial and management pathway.
For design, engineering and information sciences, areas include software development, mobile applications, architecture, engineering, robotics, manufacturing and design thinking.
Finally, health sciences and human services might include expanded emergency care programming, anatomy and physiology, medical coding, biomedical devices, public safety, family and community services, education and child development.
Next steps include visiting nearby businesses and schools, laying out specific coursework and designing learning spaces for each of the three pathways.
“I’m excited to see what they’ll come forward with this spring,” Superintendent Jeff Ronneberg said.