Funds will allow district to update its career and tech ed programs

Given a second opportunity, Newberg Public Schools jumped at the chance to strengthen its career technical education (CTE) programs.

The district had previously applied for funding made available through CTE Revitalization grants from the Oregon Legislature, but was not selected.

However, in April, the Oregon Department of Education informed the district that more funds were being made available and that it should quickly reapply.

On May 7, the district announced that its “CTE 21” application was approved, releasing $496,266 to create a pre-engineering pathway through new high school courses, a middle school after-school program, robust business partnerships and advanced teacher training.

“This is an incredible jump start toward implementing our vision and key priorities in our strategic plan,” Superintendent Kym LeBlanc-Esparza said. “It will give our students the authentic 21st Century experience and skills they need to be successful beyond graduation.”

The grant funds, which will cover four distinct components in CTE for students, will extend through June 30, 2015.

Newberg High School will introduce two engineering foundation courses, Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering, including the former this fall.

Both courses are part of the innovative Project Lead the Way curriculum that applies engineering, science, math and technology to solve complex, open-ended problems in a real-world context. The grant will pay for teacher training and course materials.

The grant also opens the door to the creation of after-school CTE programs for middle school students designed to further explore career technical education and STEM opportunities through project –based learning. The grant will provide instruction and transportation for two-day per week classes throughout the coming school year.

A key part of the application was the development of business partnerships that will add relevance to career technical education courses through site visits, project tours, guest speakers, job shadow and internships, mentorships, resources for career and course content and dual credit opportunities.

The grant will support a school-to-business specialist to coordinate opportunities for high school students and teachers to partner such as A.R.E. Manufacturing, A-dec Inc., Climax Portable Machining and Welding Systems, Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce, City of Newberg, Oregon Department of Transportation and Portland Community College.

Lastly, the district will provide advanced teacher training to increase STEM literacy for all students. Specifically, teachers will utilize the “Champions of STEM” program, which is designed to increase the capacity of district schools to provide excellent STEM education in K-12 classrooms.

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