FREDERICK COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — For the first time, the Frederick County Public Schools system was recognized by the Virginia School Boards Association for the success of their comprehensive career preparation program.
“Career and technical education courses are offered in our three comprehensive high schools, our CTE center which is Dowell J. Howard and in our four middle schools as well,” said FCPS career and technical education supervisor Mary Beth Echeverria.
Three years ago, Missy McDonald became the FCPS work-based learning coordinator and since then, their CTE program has expanded.
“We have a young man who was really interested in becoming an electrician and through efforts of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry and the Virginia Department of Education, a youth registered apprentice program was introduced,” said McDonald.
They offer several pathways including nursing, accounting and cybersecurity.
“Work-based learning can really be thought of as a spectrum from career exploration to career preparation. So we want to offer diverse opportunities that give students an experience to have these really authentic encounters to determine if a career is the right career for them,” said McDonald.
The program encourages students to pave their own way.
“It is an exciting time for career and technical education because CTE is for all students not just so those students aren’t going to college. It’s an opportunity for students to explore career pathways and find their passion in high school,” said Echeverria.
The FCPS work-based learning program won second place in divisions with student populations above 10,001.