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Preparing Today for the Workforce of Tomorrow

Dr. Heather Donaldson

Chief Academic Officer

Madison City Schools

Since Madison City Schools (MCS) became a district in 1998, we have had a strong Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. Our goal has always been to continue adding new curricular opportunities to help students pursue the path that is right for them.

In 2014, the district began making significant changes in CTE by expanding the course offerings. Each year since 2014, new CTE courses have been added. These new course additions are driven by workforce development needs that are shared through CTE advisory committees and workforce development data.

Over the last 5+ years, MCS has worked to increase the number of students taking CTE courses. This year, 68% of students in grades 6-12 are taking at least one CTE course. With the growth of our CTE program, the percentage of students taking CTE courses has nearly doubled since 2014, from 36% to 68%. The increase in student interest has also positively impacted the number of CTE teachers, which has more than doubled since 2014.

Another exciting highlight of the MCS CTE programs is the increase in course offerings for students in grades 6-12. Since 2014, the number of MCS CTE courses has more than doubled, from 46 to 93. Some of these newer CTE courses include PLTW Computer Science Essentials, Introduction to Careers in Health Care, Welding, Networking, CEO, PLTW Green Architecture, Advanced Manufacturing and Machining, Banking and Financial Services, Digital Game Development, PLTW Medical Detectives, PLTW Computer Integrated Manufacturing, PLTW Engineering Essentials, and PLTW Digital Electronics.

CTE programs receive state and federal funding along with a local match. As the district has increased the number of CTE courses and student enrollment in CTE courses, the state and federal funding has increased. Since 2014, the state and federal funds allocated to our CTE programs have more than doubled. These funds are spent directly on CTE classroom expansion and enhancement to purchase equipment, materials, and supplies such as iMacs, cameras, infant choking simulation manikins, AED training devices, software, safety goggles, goggle sanitizing equipment, bandsaws, VEX kits, dial calipers, phlebotomy arm kits, pulse oximeters, and dinamap machines.

With the growth of the CTE programs, the district has also increased the industry recognized credentials that students can pursue to help them become even better prepared to enter the workforce. MCS currently offers 16 industry credentials at no cost to students. CTE teachers work diligently to integrate these industry credentials into their programs as they prepare students to take adult-level certification tests.

Since the 2014-2015 school year, we have greatly expanded our middle school STEM Academy. The picture below shows the expansion of our middle school STEM Academy; this only displays the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) courses that have been added since the 2015-2016 school year. The rigorous curriculum, state of the art professional development, online resources, and networking opportunities make Project Lead the Way courses very appealing. We currently offer every middle school PLTW course in addition to two high school PLTW courses in our middle schools.

As we add new courses and opportunities for students, we work toward content alignment PreK through 12th grade. The two slides below show the alignment of our PLTW courses from the 4th grade elementary STEAM class to our middle and high school PLTW classes.

Our goal is to offer a viable curriculum, innovative programs, and experiences that will provide the greatest opportunities to help our students to excel in any area of interest that they may have.

The pathways we have created lay a strong foundation and can help propel students into high demand occupations. It is our goal to continue expanding and enhancing these opportunities for all of our students.


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