by Logan Cook, staff writer

10th-grader Clare Haddon uses video editing software Adobe Premiere Pro to create a video about National STEM Day as part of her CTE Multimedia class. Photo by Logan Cook, staff writer.

DECEMBER 2021 – Starting with the class of 2024, Bio-Med Science Academy students will be able to choose a Career Tech Education (CTE) Pathway to follow their junior and senior years. Many underclassmen don’t fully understand the difference between the CTE classes they have taken and the new pathways, nor what CTE is. Sophomore Maya Kline said, “I know of the CTE classes and pathways, but I am still confused on what exactly they are.”

Mrs. Charmayne Polen, the adviser of Bio-Med’s CTE programs, explains the goal of CTE classes is “[to allow students to gain] knowledge and the content skills in that area, and what are called IRC, which are Industry Recognized Credentials.”

The Ohio Department of Education’s website explains IRCs as “a verification of an individual’s qualification or competence. Industry-recognized credentials are valued in the labor market and are a validation of knowledge and skill. They can take many forms, including certifications, certificates, and licenses.”

Bio-Med’s CTE Pathways will allow students to take CTE classes within the subject of their choice, and gain IRCs that will assist them with college applications and joining the workforce. To gain IRCs, students will have to take an IRC test as part of the class. Students can choose the following pathways: Health, Engineering, Technology, Education, Agriculture and Environment, and STEM.

The “Student Journey” graphic represents Bio-Med’s CTE Pathway system. Each grade group is working their way to the goal of their final pathways. At the top, pathways listed from left to right are Health, Engineering, Technology, Education, Agriculture and Environment, and STEM. Through these pathways, students will be able to earn hands-on experience and industry recognized credentials in their field of choice.

Students can also choose specializations within their pathways, such as specific engineering doctrines, including Aerospace Engineering, taught by Ms. Rachel Hughes. Students’ senior Apex will depend on the pathway they choose; if a student chooses the engineering pathway, their internship must be in the engineering field.

Polen said the administration is still working on specific details of the pathway program, such as the date to meet with the sophomore class and allow them to choose their pathway. The meeting will most likely occur before the end of the current academic year.

From left to right, 10th-graders Ethan Rice, Preston Bello, and Cooper Lappe, work with Ultimaker 3D printers in the makerspace as a part of their CTE Engineering Design class. The students were fixing the malfunctioning printers in order to print their models of water molecules, modeled using 3D modeling software SolidWorks. The students will take a test at the end of the academic year to earn an Industry Recognized Credential for SolidWorks. Photo by Logan Cook, staff writer.

CTE classes have already been integrated into the Bio-Med curriculum since 2017. All students are currently required to take the same CTE classes. For example, the sophomore class has CTE Multimedia Image Management and Engineering Design classes, and the freshman class has CTE Biotechnology, Programming, and Engineering Logic classes.

Ms. Carrie Sinkele, the 10th grade Engineering Design teacher, said the main goal of her class is to give students experience working with 3D modeling software SolidWorks. Her students will take the SolidWorks credential test in the spring to gain their IRC.

Miss Britany Hickey, the 10th Grade Multimedia teacher, said her class is working towards being able to take the Adobe credential test to gain their IRC, but it most likely won’t happen this academic year.

Hughes noted that it depends on the teacher if a student’s performance on an IRC test will be graded, and there is no charge to the student to take the test.

Hickey, who attended Trumbull Career and Technical Center, a CTE school, said earning the Adobe IRC via CTE classes allowed her to enter the workforce directly after high school graduation. Hickey said, “They were willing to bring on a high schooler who didn’t have a college degree but had a portfolio of work I had created and the credentials I had earned.”

Polen said teachers must take college courses to gain their certification to teach CTE classes. Most CTE teachers at Bio-Med take these courses at Kent State University. “I think it gives me a new perspective of just how much I actually do like the CTE pathways in the courses,” Hickey said about taking these courses.

Both Hickey and Polen put emphasis on the importance of being able to gain IRCs in high school. They said, for most people, IRCs aren’t gained until college or when they are in the workforce. “The ability to gain IRCs so young definitely gives students a leg up in the future,” said Hickey.

“I think our CTE program is great,” said Sophomore Alana Smith. “It gets us students to consider our career choices and manage our goals early on.”

Polen stressed that when it comes time to choose pathways, “Students need to take the time to make a serious decision and give it the consideration that it deserves. Because it really could affect the path of your life in a really positive way.”

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