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Strengthening Career and Technical Education through collaboration across Texas

By: Roxana Rubio   |   August 4, 2023

The Educate Texas College and Career Readiness team recently traveled with the Career and Technology Education (CTE) Directors’ Community of Practice (CoP) to the Rio Grande Valley.

“As a former Executive Director of CTE myself, I understand the importance of continued support for these leaders,” said Educate Texas Deputy Director Winston Minix. “I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to everyone who joined us and to the incredible hosts we had.” 

Educate Texas leaders chose to take the CTE directors to the Rio Grande Valley after the Educate Texas team had an opportunity to visit Palmview High School in 2022. During the 2022 visit, Educate Texas leaders found that the school was doing a great job growing their CTE programs, communicating with the district, and still providing students with opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities they enjoy. This initiative directly coincided with the support of Educate Texas’ 2025 Strategic Goal to contribute 85,000 degrees or credentials to the state by 2025.

"Not only did the CTE directors and coordinators get to hear how another campus is doing a phenomenal job, hear what their recipe is for success, but also see it and actually got to speak to students and teachers to witness their culture," said Lynn Hernandez the Administrative & Instructional Services Consultant at Education Service Center Region 20. "I have been working with Educate Texas since 2019 and I have received guidance from the organization at many different levels from when I was a P-TECH Coordinator helping grow a program to now being at the ESC 20 helping others expand CTE programs." 

The CoP members visiting consisted of six CTE directors, two from southern Dallas County districts - DeSoto and Lancaster, four from south San Antonio school districts East Central, Edgewood, South San, and Southwest ISDs, and two administrators from Education Service Center 20. All the educators varied in experience level in this role and found the visit beneficial. 

"I'm relatively new in my position as a CTE director, it's my first year. This trip was an opportunity to network with other folks who are more experienced. I was exposed to different programs and learned the way the different districts' protocols and procedures operate," said Art Cano Director of CTE at South San ISD. "Every CTE program is unique but ultimately, it's an opportunity to see how I can help South San ISD get to that next level in offerings and certifications for our students so that they can be ultimately workforce ready." 

While in the RGV, CTE directors heard from educators teaching CTE pathways, spoke with current students taking CTE courses and learned more about what they are enjoying from CTE courses and what can be improved, toured facilities, and engaged with a panel of other CTE directors in the RGV from McAllen, Brownsville, Sharyland and La Joya ISDs to help develop a framework and build a plan to take back to their respective districts.    

CTE programs continue to grow across Texas. As the programs grow, it is important to provide CTE leaders with continued training and support.