‘Pathways to the Future’ Event Focuses on Career/Technical Education Strategies

HISD principals, teachers, and parents discuss ways to incorporate career and technical education into new schools being built under the 2012 bond program.

More than 50 HISD administrators, principals, teachers and staff from 2012 bond program campuses gathered Wednesday to learn about strategies for incorporating career and technical education into traditional classes.

The half-day symposium titled “Pathways to the Future,” held at the Greater Houston Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, featured a discussion led by Brad Stam, vice president of ConnectEd. ConnectEd is a project of the California Center for College and Career that promotes expanding student opportunities for college and career success.

See more photos of the ‘Pathways to the Future’ symposium

“As educators, it’s our job to provide students with a comprehensive learning environment while they’re in school,” Stam said. “We must also show them the pathway to a viable adult life to which they can be productive and contributive citizens.”

As HISD moves forward with the planning and design phase of the $1.89 billion 2012 bond program that will replace or rebuild 40 schools across the city, the district is partnering with ConnectEd to incorporate linked learning methods that combine academics, technical education and hands-on experience.

“The partnership with ConnectED is a wonderful opportunity to help the district transform what high school will look like for our community, teachers and students,” HISD’s Chief School Officer Orlando Riddick said.

The interactive workshop allowed attendees from 24 bond campuses to discuss ways to prepare students for college and work environments. Audience members also worked in groups to assess changes necessary to ensure college and career readiness.

The conference targeted high schools slated for construction by late 2014 or late 2015, known as Group 1 and Group 2 schools. They include DeBakey, Furr, HSPVA, Lee, Milby, North Houston Early College, Sharpstown, South Early College, Sterling, Waltrip, Washington, Worthing, Young Men’s College Prep, Bellaire, Davis, Lamar, Yates and Eastwood Academy.

Many audience members said new schools should use 21st century technology to facilitate creative and innovative learning.

“The system we have right now is perfectly designed to produce the same results,” Stam said. “We’ve got to take new practices and make them more systematic so that every student has the opportunity to succeed.”

Riddick encouraged audience members to connect academics with real-world application and expose students to various career opportunities, preparing them for long-term success.

“We’re shaping the future of Houston for the next 50 years,” Riddick said. “We’re establishing our footprint now.”