Middle School Students Preview Career Technical Education Programs
Posted on 01/25/2023
From January 24-27, GCISD’s seventh grade students are touring the District’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) center. The tours are held each year prior to middle school students completing class schedules since some introductory CTE courses are offered in the eighth grade year.

“This week is about bringing all of the seventh grade students from all of the middle schools over to learn about the career and technical education programs and their options for high school,” said Candace McGowan, coordinator of GCISD’s Career and Technical Education.

GCISD offers career clusters at the high school level in 11 areas:
Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources
Arts, Audio Visual Technology, and Communications
Business, Marketing, and Finance
Education and Training
Health Science
Hospitality and Tourism
Information Technology
Law and Public Services
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics

Tours began Tuesday, January 24, with seventh graders from Colleyville Middle School. These students had the opportunity to walk through classes in session, where teachers and high school students provided their guests an overview of what they were studying.

In the health sciences class, the high school students used a skeleton to quiz their younger counterparts on various health-related words. In the law and public service class, the seventh graders sat at stations where high school students were learning about what it is like to be a 911 dispatcher. In the business and marketing class, they took a quiz about brands and company founders.

“As you can see, all of these classes are unique,” said computer science teacher Art Mata. “All of the computers that you all need to do your work – there’s a person who has to fix those computers, and that’s what we do in this class.”

He went on to add that the first class a student would take is “Principles of IT,” where students learn about the various areas in the information technology(IT) field.

Mata then turned to his high school students and asked them to share with the seventh graders about the various IT areas.

“Support,” one student said.

“Networking,” another chimed in.

“So we teach you and then we try to get you a certification from Dell,” Mata added. “Then you come back in your third or fourth year and we teach you how to be a technician. Then by your junior or senior year, we take you off-site to a company to serve in an internship.”

What Mata was describing was a sample of a career cluster. Each cluster offered through CTE is a compilation of courses that prepares students for an industry. Some of the clusters offered have multiple pathways, or more specializations.

For example, the Hospitality and Tourism cluster offers pathways in culinary arts; lodging and resort management; and travel and tourism and attractions. The Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Cluster offers pathways in animal science; applied agricultural engineering; environmental and natural resources; and plant science.

CTE also offers student organizations, competitions, internship opportunities and industry certifications.

Whether they are in middle school or their freshman year, students can take any of the introductory courses to see if that career is for them.

“CTE is for everybody, everyone can get something out of CTE,” McGowan shared. “We’ve heard from our graduates who said that they get a leg up on the admissions process or into special programs because of their participation in CTE courses or their participation in Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO’s). It really is for everybody. It’s a way to explore some of your interests in high school, and it’s a great opportunity for students.”

Find out more about GCISD’s CTE and the many clusters offered.