Career and Technical Education Curriculum Review Begins

Career and Technical Education Curriculum Review Begins
Area business leaders and BBPS administrators meet October 5 to discuss the CTE curriculum.

BROKEN BOW – The Career and Technical Education curriculum review process is officially underway as of October 5; representatives from area businesses as well as school administrators hunkered down in Broken Bow High School’s boardroom on Wednesday to begin the collaboration.

The marathon meeting lasted from 9 a.m. until just after 3 p.m.; fortunately for all involved, lunch was provided. Representatives from Mid-Plains Community College, Nebraska State Bank, Jennie Melham Medical Center, and Sargent Pipe Company, to name only a handful, were on hand to pitch ideas and voice visions for the future shape of the curriculum.

The initial meeting was a behemoth because of how much businesses and school administration have to juggle, not to mention how infrequently the process occurs. Business teacher Angie Palmer told KCNI/KBBN in a recent interview that this will be the first full evaluation of the curriculum in five years.

Discussion ranged from potential opportunities for businesses and students participating in the program to potential barriers preventing students from taking advantage of engaging with businesses.

A recurring topic was how exactly to bridge the gap between the theoretical curriculum provided by the school and its practical implementation via businesses.

One solution was Liz Babcock of Adams Land & Cattle’s proposal of reviving an approach currently dormant: updating the career pathways for students at Broken Bow.

“I created this a couple years ago, but it suggests courses for future career opportunities at Adams, and what corresponding classes there are at Broken Bow.”

The school district and businesses face other issues as they reevaluate the curriculum as well. How will they open the door for businesses within the school: would it be best to bring businesses into the school in a “job fair” setting, or first allow faculty to take tours on in-service days and communicate their experiences with students?

Or, perhaps more importantly, how will they pinpoint the interest of each student in a body increasingly diverse in its aspirations? MPCC’s Kaci Johnson offered one avenue for consideration.

“In my experience, students want to know exactly what they need to do, exactly what steps they need to take, and if you can put that in some way engaging to kids, that’s the key, so they know if they want to be an accountant, and stay in Broken Bow, here’s the things I can do to make that happen.”

Given that this was the first meeting, no decision was made, however, the group did create an action plan for the next steps, which included: looking at how best to connect students with partnering businesses, coordinating professional development tours for staff, and down the road, exploring the possibility of carving out a Program Coordinator role to operate within the school.

The date for the next meeting was not set, though businesses interested in providing input are encouraged to reach out to Angie Palmer.