CTE program expansion underway with field trip

CTE program expansion underway with field trip
Posted on 09/19/2018
PCS students meet an American bullfrog during their tour of the Feather River College fish hatchery. Photo by Ingrid Burke

The first week of September saw high school students from Plumas Charter School’s Quincy learning center embarking on their first career-technical education (CTE) field trip of the year.

Along with teachers Courtney Gomola and Casey Peters, the students visited Feather River College, where they attended presentations by Rick Stock, director of the Outdoor Recreation Leadership program, and Adam Fuller, director of the fish hatchery.

Although this was not PCS’s first field trip of this kind, it was the “first with this more intentional CTE focus,” said Executive Director Taletha Washburn. In line with the increased statewide emphasis on CTE in schools, said PCS Quincy site director Patrick Joseph, PCS is working to further develop its existing CTE program through increased collaboration with local organizations and resources such as FRC.

“It was great for students to get exposure to the ORL and fisheries programs,” said Peters. “It’s important for students to know what opportunities are available to them right here in Quincy. Rick gave many examples of past ORL students working in so many great jobs. I think it had a very positive impact on our students.”

“We want to encourage kids that want to go into a localized career,” said Washburn.

PCS currently offers five CTE “pathways,” said Washburn. Each pathway, or 20-unit course of study, allows students to explore a specific career path by taking classes at FRC, online, at their PCS learning center, and through traditional independent study.

The pathways currently available are patient care, public safety, software systems and development, agricultural science, and food service and hospitality. Last year, PCS worked closely with Long Valley Charter School in Portola to develop the structural components of its CTE program, said Washburn.

“We are actively encouraging all of our students to select at least one of our developed pathways at this time,” said Washburn. “We will also be developing more pathways, such as outdoor recreation leadership, in the future.”

Gomola, PCS’s outdoor education coordinator, will be spearheading that effort. She emphasized the value of the school’s partnership with FRC. “We’re looking forward to reinforcing this relationship as our program continues to develop,” she said.

“We hope the coming year will include a lot of partner involvement as well as more opportunities for our students to develop career readiness and awareness,” said Gomola. “Many of our students were excited to learn about these programs and the opportunities they offer during the trip, and we hope to continue to expose our students to some of the other programs available at FRC throughout the school year.”

The pathways are just one piece of the overall CTE program offered by PCS. Through the Get Focused, Stay Focused program, ninth-graders receive a full year of college and career readiness instruction. Tenth-, 11th-, and 12th-graders receive half a year. In addition, Washburn said the school emphasizes general exposure to local and regional employers and postsecondary schooling choices.

The CTE coursework also satisfies graduation requirements.

“We want to plant the seed early,” said Joseph, “about the opportunities that kids have right here in Plumas County.”


Current PCS CTE pathways

Patient Care

In this pathway, students gain knowledge about patient care within the health science and medical technology industry.

Sample occupations: physical therapy aide (high school diploma), pharmacy technician (post-secondary training), physician assistant (college or university).

Public Safety

In this pathway, students are prepared with foundational knowledge of local, state, and federal organizations that provide public safety services such as emergency medical care, law enforcement, homeland and cyber security, intelligence, and corrections. Sample occupations: animal control officer (high school diploma), paramedic (post-secondary training), FBI agent (college or university).

Software Systems and Development

In this pathway, students prepare for careers related to computer science that involve the design, development, implementation, maintenance, and management of systems that rely on software programs. Sample occupations: software technician (high school diploma), programmer (post-secondary training), software architect (college or university).

Agricultural Science

In this pathway, students gain a wide understanding of local agriculture; agriculture business and technology; natural resources; and animal, plant, and soil science. Sample occupations: laboratory assistant (high school diploma), quality assurance specialist (post-secondary training), plant/animal geneticist (college or university).

Food Service and Hospitality

In this pathway, students learn about industry awareness, sanitation and safe food handling, food and beverage production, nutrition, food service management, and customer service. Sample occupations: line cook (high school diploma), pastry chef (post-secondary training), food and beverage analyst (college or university).

In the photo: Adam Fuller, left, shows Plumas Charter School students an American bullfrog during their tour of the Feather River College fish hatchery. Fuller, the hatchery director, pointed out that FRC is the only community college in the state with such a facility. The PCS students were learning about local career opportunities. From left: Fuller, Thea Nicoles, 10th grade; Baylie Neal, ninth grade; Jacey Taylor, 10th grade; Heather Ayotte, ninth grade; teacher Casey Peters; Dominick Brandvold, 10th grade; Kylie Anderson, 10th grade; Ciera Hymas, ninth grade; Logan Baker, ninth grade; Kieran Cooke, ninth grade; and teacher Courtney Gomola. Photo by Ingrid Burke