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Collaboration in learning
The CTE programs at CCHS are forging some strong collaborations between their programs, as well as local businesses
February 11, 2013
In education, teachers can often feel isolated in their corner of the world as they strive to move their students forward in their learning.
At the Crook County High School career and technical education department, instructors are working to not only collaborate among themselves, but they are reaching out to the community to enhance learning.
This includes partnerships among departments, as well as partnerships within the community. Bringing the community into the school, and offering students the opportunity to spend time among businesses in the community enhances learning, and helps ready students for life after high school.
“One of the focuses that I have tried to have at CCHS is having collaboration with teachers,” commented CCHS Principal Rocky Miner.
He noted that this included all of the departments, as well as the career and technical education (CTE) teachers.
“Collaboration is really a big piece, and I am thrilled that we have our CTE teachers doing that same thing,” added Miner. “Not only working collaboratively, but how they can support each other and really integrate the programs. I think that is not only good for our programs, but it is good for our whole school community.”
Dan McNary teaches a wide variety of agriculture classes and a welding class, and has been working with culinary instructor Macy Hagensee since last school year to build a partnership between the two programs, using the current greenhouse. Students from both classes are involved in planting a variety of herbs, using both hydroponics and traditional planting methods, utilizing the greenhouse.
“One of the things that Macy wanted to do was have access to school year-round greens and herbs for his culinary classes,” said McNary at the inception of the program.
Last spring, the first trial of the collaboration was a learning process, and McNary and Hagensee came to the conclusion that the herbs would do better in soil. This spring, students from both programs will once again be involved in the planting process. The culinary students will have fresh herbs, many of which they hope to use in their catering projects and the school kitchen.
McNary has taken his agriculture projects to another level as well. He is working with Steve Hodges and his business classes in his Horticulture class.
“I have been talking to my kids in my advanced Horticulture Class about putting together an actual business plan for the green house, which is something we have never really had — by incorporating Steve Hodges in that, and his kids as well,” explained McNary.
Hagensee’s class also collaborates with Hodges’ class to market their pastries for the student store at CCHS.
“We make cookies for the store,” said Hagensee. “One of our goals for my advanced culinary class for the next semester is for us to start thinking about marketable products.”
He said they will be looking at products that the community can use, without competing with any other businesses. Hagensee added that he has considered incorporating the “Recipe to Market” concept into his class, which would tie in with his goal of bringing a product to market from his advanced class every semester. This might include an artisan bread product, which his students are working on.
Assistant CCHS Principal Michelle Jonas pointed out that the business classes are also working on creating marketing products with the manufacturing class for the store.
“They are going to manufacture some concessionary items and some school promotion items like key chains, bumper stickers, and decals.” said Hodges of Bill Hall’s manufacturing class. “We will buy them from them, and they will make a profit and we will sell them for a profit — so both programs will benefit.”
Hall is also partnering with Contact Industries, since some of the equipment his students are learning to use in his class and the equipment in the main plant at Clear Pine Mouldings — a division of Contact Industries — is the same.
“We were looking at purchasing CNC machinery (Computer Numerical Control),” said Keith Eager, Human Resource Manager of Contact Industries. “We don’t have anybody that really knows the language to be able to program it.”
He added that they saw the opportunity to partner with the school and hopefully attract some of these students to their industry. Eager contacted Hall, and he has worked as an advisor to impart the skills that Contact Industries is looking for in this kind of labor. He is hoping that they will be able to set up some student interns in the future.
Hodges is also working with community partners, who will come into his classroom to give industry input, in addition to the classroom input he gives students in his classroom.
“I think that is really a key, so they can see first-hand what people that do this every day in the private sector and own and operate businesses are looking for, and give them real assessment from their entrepreneurial expertise,” he added.
He is also making sure students can take part in site visits to businesses to see day-to-day operations.
Although not all the CTE programs at CCHS collaborate together, they are all intertwined with community partners. Many of these include Health and Education Center (AHEC) through St. Charles Health System, COCC Crook County Open Campus, Central Oregon Community College, Ochoco National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and a variety of industry partners.
Rick Kramer, who teaches Forest Management, Plants of the Pacific Northwest, Wilderness Management, and Wildland Fire Science, recently had his natural resource management program approved from the Oregon Department of Education. He offers four classes that are articulated through COCC, for a total of nine credits available to students.
“We do a lot of field trips related to Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in natural resource activities,” said Kramer.
He also has a lot of professionals from various agencies come into his class, as well as making sure his students have the opportunity to collaborate with them in the field and in their work environment.
He recently applied for and received a grant from Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, which will expand the amount of time students can do stream restoration work and water quality monitoring. The class will work directly with the Crooked River Watershed Council. All classes will be held at the COCC Crook County Open Campus.
College courses are also taught in the other CTE classes, as well as several core classes throughout the year at CCHS. Students can earn both high school and college credit, and courses are articulated with Central Oregon Community College (COCC), Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT), and Eastern Oregon University (EOU). Students may earn college credit by earning a grade of C or higher, and pay tuition at a discounted price. These classes are taught by CCHS staff and COCC faculty, and the credits earned in these classes can be applied toward degree or certificate programs and may transfer to four-year colleges.
Ryan Cochran teaches sports medicine and health occupations, and students have the opportunity to spend time job shadowing in the health care industry. Cochran has teamed up with Cascades East Area Health and Education Center (AHEC) through St. Charles Health System to provide training, which then enables them to observe various medical careers in the community.
“It really gives them an idea of what is out there, and what everyday work looks like, so it gives them an idea of where they want to go after high school.”
“It gets them out of the textbook and gives them practical learning,” said Hodges.