Each month, Dr. Zorn reaches out to our business community via the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce newsletter with information about the successes and challenges of our public schools.
Over the past several years, Longview Schools have worked to ensure that courses are offered to our students that align effectively with their career aspirations. To this end, we have adopted a Career Pathway model in which students are able to identify course options that will meet their future career preparation needs. As part of these efforts, we are now providing more Career Technical Education (CTE) course offerings to our students. As a result, we have seen our enrollment in CTE course offerings increase by 28 percent over the past three years.
Since 2016 we have upgraded our manufacturing lab and equipment to meet industry standards and acquired a virtual welder to augment the welders already available to our students. Technology and software used in our business programs have been upgraded and our construction trades and technology course was redesigned to more effectively reflect the workforce needs of our community and region. This fall, we are excited about the opportunities our newly developed Pre-Apprenticeship in Building Trades program will provide our district’s students. We are also adding courses in audio productions, culinary arts, and medical science careers. These new offerings augment the more than 25 other courses previously designed to meet our students’ career needs. We have aligned many of our courses with those offered at Lower Columbia College so that career based options can be taken in high school to simultaneously earn high school and college credit.
As we look toward the future, we have plans that include expanded industry certification availability in our CTE programs, further alignment of our pathways and courses to those in Lower Columbia College, and continued work with the local business community to expand our partnerships to include more work-based learning, internship, and pre-apprenticeship opportunities for our students. We recognize the importance of exposing our students to the trades, industries, and businesses within our community. Consequently, we are working hard to help our students who wish to immediately enter the workforce to attain the skills and experiences to do so.
We are proud of the work we have done to better meet the future career needs of our students, particularly those who do not plan to attend a four-year university upon graduation. We also recognize the importance of continuing to improve upon the career options provided our students and are anxious to work with the Kelso/Longview business community to assure that this happens.