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CTE Leadership Initiative includes more than 650 students in second year at YUHSD

Yuma Union High School District and its Career & Technical Education program have made constant strides to build student leaders.

In May 2017, the district created a CTE Leadership Initiative to build civic responsibility, community participation and advocacy. The program includes a three-tiered approach; open and available to all Career & Technical Education students ninth through 12th grade. Each tier is mentored by multiple staff members, including classroom teachers, CTE advisors and instructional leaders.

The program is built on equitable access. It is open to all five comprehensive high schools in the district at all four grade levels and includes non-traditional career students, special education students, migrant students, and SEI students.

“The mission in Yuma Union High School District is to have every student career, college and community ready upon graduation,” YUHSD Associate Superintendent Lisa Anderson said. “This program expands students’ ability to engage in new opportunities, take on new challenges, and become embedded in the community in which they live as well as think more globally. Students are able to take ownership of their education in an area or field of interest. Overall, the program has been able to bridge the gap between students’ interest for additional, expansive leadership opportunities and their local place within the community.”

The CTE Leadership Initiative consists of three levels, which build from year-to-year, creating a robust leadership experience. Level one allows students to be members of the Courtesy Corps. At least two students are selected from every introductory CTE course in the district and are in charge of greeting all guests at they enter the classroom. They are responsible for giving an overall summary of the program, standards and sharing what they are currently learning. After serving as Courtesy Corps members, students can take on the role of Ambassador. Each campus has a maximum of 25 students in the ambassador role with those students receiving training in advocating for education and specifically CTE with legislative bodies. Finally, students who enter level three of the program become CTE Leaders. They are trained on public speaking and are in charge of training future leaders and ambassadors to maintain a self-sufficient, cyclical program. These students facilitate presentations at the regional level and have met with local middle schoolers as well. Any CTE student in any grade would be able to join the program at level one.

“The development of the CTE Leadership Initiative took a creative approach to providing leadership opportunities in a new way,” YUHSD CTE Executive Director Lorie Honeycutt said. “We had a large number of students interested in leadership, but very few opportunities available at the regional and state leadership level within traditional Career & Technical Student Organizations. We wanted to develop leaders who would lead in industry, but also understand the importance of community.”

Based on data from the 2017-18 school year, 73.4 percent of all 11,024 YUHSD students have taken CTE courses. More than 650 students are involved in the leadership initiative with several hundred additional students expressing some level of interest.

CTE concentrators have a 99.05 percent graduation rate in YUHSD. Students in the district also have a 69.96 percent placement rate in college, technical school or a career directly related to their CTE program, and 79.42 percent of YUHSD students earned technical skill attainment in 2017-18.

Eric Patten
epatten@yumaunion.org