WCPSS opens new school

Rachel Lyon, Online Edition Editor

CTE schools, also known as Career and Technical Education schools, are far different than your typical public school. CTE schools offer specific courses that are designed to guide students in the career path that they want to take.

As quoted from The Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE),
“career and technical education (CTE) prepares both youth and adults for a wide range of careers and further educational opportunities. These careers may require varying levels of education—including industry-recognized credentials, postsecondary certificates, and two and four-year degrees.”

A new CTE school has been created under the WCPSS system within the past year and is planned to open this August. Wake Tech is partnering with the Wake County School System to provide teachers for the school. In a News & Observer atricle it was said that the new school is “already attracting a lot of student attention,” by giving the opportunity for “a diploma and a chance for free college credit.”

The school provides special programs such as air conditioning and heating repair, cosmetology, automobile collision repair, electronic systems, plumbing, welding, nursing assistant, bio-pharmaceuticals, geographic information systems (GIS), simulation and game development.

The controversy lies in the fact as to whether the school is worth attending. There are benefits, some teachers say.

“It allows the student to really get ingrained in the curriculum, so they might really want to focus on a certain technical skill. Going to the high school would give the opportunity to focus on that and do some other studies but with people that work with people to get on the right path,” Agricultural teacher Justine Ellis said.

Business teacher Lisa Fuller agrees.

“Some students know exactly what they want to do. Say they want to be a nurse or say they want to be a hairdresser, they may have the avenues that they could just go get the training they need and still get the basics because some of those students might get lost in a school like this,” Fuller said.

Despite the CTE School’s benefits, it does have some drawbacks.

“I don’t think they will have athletics. I think that might be a drawback. Also, I don’t think you would get the true experience of high school because I don’t think they will have everything that a high school like ours has,” Fuller said.

Ellis would agree that attending a CTE school would be very different than being a student at a regular school.

“There might be some drawbacks socially. They might not have a prom or any of those activities that people really look forward to at a regular school at the CTE school, but I think that they will still be allowed to participate in those things in other schools like their home school, so it may be a drawback in the beginning but they’re getting a good education,” Ellis said.

The program has drawn some interest to some students. In fact, 325 applications after the Feb. 11 headline. To others, the thought of going to a school such as isn’t as appealing.

“I don’t think that a lot of students will want to attend. I think the certain students that like, say Mr. Perry, who does collision repair and auto mechanics, say somebody who knows that they don’t want to go to a four-year college, maybe all these honors and AP classes are not going to appeal to them, but they want to go get some training. They may even have where they can get some college credit at the CTE classes,” Fuller said.

However, the spark of interest for CTE is still growing.

“We’ve had a lot of interest, which is great,” Ellis said. “I think once the program kind of gets up and running and kids start to learn a little bit more about it and its benefits, I think we’ll see a lot more students who are willing to know more about it and willing to go.”