Vidor High CTE programs provide students entryway into career of their choosing

Published 12:30 am Tuesday, May 10, 2022

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VIDOR — Vidor High School offers a variety of courses that provide certificates of completion and help students secure a career after graduation.

Not everyone plans to head straight to college after 12th grade, and the high school has resources for students who utilize its Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department.

Vidor High CTE Director Penny Singleton instruction is offered in business, criminal justice, agriculture, welding and building trades, culinary, family consumer and sciences, auto mechanics, health science, information technology and cosmetology.

The culinary department offers certificates for Texas food handlers and serv safe manager.

“The courses are intro to culinary arts, nutrition, cooks, things to sell,” Singleton said. “The students are putting together a Pirate café with a bistro set up to sell items that teachers preordered. This gives the students real world training on various things like being a chef, a waiter and sanitation.”

Culinary teacher Misti Spell helps serve the line at Vidor High School on Teacher Appreciation Day. (Courtesy photo)

Under each department, students can specialize in certain areas, such as accounting within business.

In the principles of business course, students can earn a certificate in Microsoft Office Specialist and receive a Quick Books certificate in accounting.

“Our business and industry contacts, as well as our advisory board, want us to turn out students with the Quick Book certifications because they can hire them right away,” Singleton said. “Students can work their way through college as a bookkeeper with the certificate as well.”

The Ready-Set-Teach or grow-your-own program allows the school to generate its own teachers.

The goal is to have students return to the district after four years to teach.

For the first two years of the program, students take child development classes, then follow up with Ready-Set-Teach 1 and Ready-Set-Teach 2. Students also take a dual set of English classes and receive four of their college English credits.

In Ready-Set-Teach, students go to the middle and elementary campuses or stay on the high school campus for job shadowing.

“They shadow teachers on how to do lesson plans, bulletin boards and one-on-one teaching with the students,” she said. “So it is almost like student teaching in that classroom. The students receive their educational aid certification through TEA. The students can use this certificate to work their way through college as a teacher aid and attend classes online or at night.”

The computer science department offers a certificate in information technology fundamentals.

It’s the first year Vidor has done so. Students learn coding, and the certificate can get them a job at Best Buy or similar retailers. After that certificate, students can take regular credit classes in coding, gaming, cyber security and computer ethics.

The agriculture department offers the veterinarian program, floral design and feed-yard technician.

Student who complete the feed-yard certification learn how to work with cattle. They learn cattle diseases and how to treat illnesses, “so they could work at a feed lot company or work on a ranch. They also learn what kind of feed to give to cattle for the type of outcome they desire; meat, dairy or showing,” Singleton said.

The Criminal Justice certificate offers students courses such as principal of law, law 1, law enforcement 2 and correctional services.

The Criminal Justice Club works after school and on weekends training for competitions, such as felony traffic stops in real police cars. In a set-up traffic stop, student identifies the different gadgets in the car as well as demonstrates how he or she would approach a car if there was a thought there could be a weapon and or drugs in the car.

The welding department offers an AWS certificate.

Vidor High just hosted the third annual welding competition with more than 20 school districts.

A Houston company brought a tank and taught the students how to do underwater welding. 2022 is the first time Vidor swept first, second and third place in underwater welding, Singleton said.

A building trades certification helps students get their feet in the door with construction companies.

The courses teach identifying and using tools, how to build stairs, OSHA safety and measurements.

“Local contractors are telling us to send them students that know how to read a tape measure down to the sixteenth, because people show up to a job and do not know how to do that,” Singleton said.

The Health Science department offers various certifications in areas such as certified nurses aid, EKG tech, phlebotomy tech and pharmacy tech.

The pharmacy exam is known for being difficult.

Chesani Askew is the only Vidor student to pass the exam this year. Students can retest in the summer, but must wait 60 days after the first attempt to study the areas where performance was poor.

The cosmetology department offers a certificate at completion.

“There are 15 students this year, and they all have passed part one of their state board exam,” Singleton said. “In two weeks, they go back to complete part two of the exam in the hands-on area.”

The automotive department offers automotive service excellence certification.

Vidor uses a working garage that offers services to teachers like oil changes, wheel balancing or general mechanical work. There are 10 tests to complete for the certificate, ranging from a brakes and engine test to front end alignments.

The department also teaches maintenance in lawnmowers and four-wheelers.

A class for seniors is called CCMR, which stands for College, Career, Military Ready.

“This class is the last opportunity to reach out to undecided seniors who have not taken advantage of the certificate classes throughout their time at VHS,” Singleton said. “TEA gave all the schools a directive. They want every kid who graduates to be able to go straight to a job, college or military.”

The class hosts various guest speakers and college fairs to entice the students to choose a path for their future.

For non-traditional high school students, Vidor offers AIM Center High School.

This center offers free, convenient, self-paced evening courses for ages 18-25 for those needing to complete diploma coursework. G.E.D. preparation classes are also offered from 5 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

“For example, if a student is behind and want to catch up, they could finish a class in 8 to 10 weeks online at self- paced,” Singleton said. “Once a student has caught up on their core classes, they can take CTE classes and also procure a certificate.”

For more information, contact Singleton at 409-951-8931.

This is part one of the VHS CTE series.

— By Sierra Kondos