Hey, I just wanted to write a quick blog post about the field trip we went on recently to learn more about Career & Technical Education (CTE). We are all preparing to become Family and Consumer Science (FCS) teachers and wanted to learn more about the CTE side of what we will be teaching. This trip was all student planned and it turned out SO great!
T H U R S D A Y:
On Thursday morning we had to get to campus early to catch the bus. We left Rexburg and headed right for Idaho Falls to take a tour of Compass Academy. It is a CTE School that offers additional classes for those attending high school in idaho falls. I was especially intrigued by the culinary program and by the computer graphics class. They even had a huge printer that would do banners! The students that attend this school are able to receive certificates that allow them to go right into the workforce. The programs are entirely state funded which was really impressive to me! The culinary students kindly provided us with the most delicious yogurt parfaits for breakfast.
Next up on out list was the Bingham County Extension Office in Blackfoot. The talked to us about 4H and the fair. Extension offices are actually funded by the US Department of Agriculture as a way to “extend” the land grant universities and educate the public. There are many different types of classes that they teach including 4H camps for children. The children in each county are able to create different projects in 4H that they can show at the fair to compete. We even had a woman who helps the children prepare animals to show teach us a little about her job. Surprisingly enough they travel quite a bit as extension agents and their busiest time of the year is summer.
From Blackfoot we went to Pocatello where we got a special tour of the Meyer’s Anderson Architects facility. What I really appreciate about their firm is that they focus on maintaining the original style of the building rather than completely remodeling. I really appreciate that because then people can appreciate the details of old buildings like these cool floors. This company has done so many cool projects. Also look at this creative space they design in, amazing!
One of our favorite places was of the trip Canyon Ridge High School in Twin Falls! They really have a focus on CTE programs in their school. It was inspiring to see how the different teachers would work together to design projects that would involve different classes. The school is very diverse because they have something like 20 languages spoken and many refugees. We talked to the Family and Consumer Science Teacher there and she just had so much passion for what she did despite the challenges. She has had to deal with some pretty crazy situations in class but loves what she does. She had a contagious energy that doubled FCS enrollment in her school!
Thankfully after such a full day we had dinner reservations at a very special place. Our teacher wanted us to have a fine dining experience so we went to The Brick Yard. It was a way nice place that had multiple courses, cloth napkins, the whole deal. When you got up to freshen up, the servers would refold your napkin for you. The part that made me laugh was that there were breath mints and mouth wash in the restrooms. We got calamari and a cheese plate as appetizers which were both amazing. I thought that since I was out on this occasion I would try something i don’t normally try… So I got salmon. It was seriously so buttery and flakey. I savored every bite because it was so delicious! The restaurant even gave us complementary muffins for breakfast the next morning. The total bill was over $1000 for all of us to eat there but man, it was good. We were all stuffed full and so satisfied, we were ready to crawl into our hotel beds and sleep.
F R I D A Y:
First thing on Friday morning we all ate the continental breakfast form the hotel. When we were cleaned up and ready we left for the Capitol Building in Boise. There we talked to Dr. Linda Clark form the Idaho Board of Education. No big deal… She talked to us about the importance of CTE in school and our part as future teachers. I thought it was especially interesting that Idaho and Rhode Island were the only two states that has a board of education that deals with Kindergarten all the way to grad school. Other states do not concern themselves with post high school education at a state level. From there we went to the FCS office and talked to the woman over all of FCS and the head of FCCLA for the state of Idaho. We are so thankful that they took time out of their busy schedules to talk with us.
After visiting the capital building we took a stop at Meridian High School. Right from the start we got to see their Ag welding program, it is the best in the state! They have many that participate in FFA. We also got to see their auto shop which was huge, they run the program with cars that have been donated to the school. I love that the teachers here really trust the students with big hands on projects. In the ag sciences classes they actually process their own milk and sell it as a fund raiser, how cool, right?
For Friday lunch we went to the Renaissance Center in West Ada School district. The culinary program here runs their own restaurant for the community to come eat at. The day we came to visit it was styled as a 50’s diner and we got breakfast items for lunch. Their set up was way cool because they had so much nice industrial equipment and it was all organized and clean. Also I got another yogurt parfait so YUM! They are really needing more teachers here so the man in charge of the program was begging us to apply. It would be such a fun job!
The last school that we visited was the Dennis Center in the Boise area. This was my favorite stop of the trip and seriously so impressive! This whole school is a career tech school so nearly all the students are involved with Skills USA. There were 3 different and HUGE auto mechanic shops; one was for gas engines, one for diesel engines, and one was strictly for auto body. Besides those shops there are entire shops for welding, machining, and wood shop. I love that they have projects that incorporate things across all domains, for example when the auto shops need a special part they order it from the machining classes who will create it on their lathes. Collaboration across the different domains, I mean, wow! They give students real world experiences like this and auction off the things they make to help fund their programs. I like that they offer so many different subjects and there is a huge room where they can rent different tools and resources. Students have the chance to walk away from their time at the Dennis Center with a certificate that would put them right into the work force, but most continue onto college. Wow what a great school!
Our last and final stop was to the Ada County Extension office. Similar to the previous extension office they talked to us about the 4H programs in the area. Did you know that the 4h clover is one of 3 nationally protected logos. (The other two are the presidential seal and the olympic rings.) They showed us around their office for a little tour- they have a nice space to teach classes in.
After that we sat in the car for hours to return to Rexburg. It was a great trip that opened my eyes to career technical education. I am now inspired to go teach my classes and incorporate projects with other classes. I can now better motivate my students to get excited about these career paths and have a broader knowledge of what is available. It was also fun to be a part of the group that planned the trip and can now appreciate the efforts that teachers have to take to plan such events for the classroom. Overall I am happy that I was able to attend and found so much passion for what I do and what I am a part of.
Also- because we are from BYU-Idaho we also stopped at each of the temples along the way. They were: Rexburg, Idaho falls, Twin Falls, Boise, and Meridian. There was actually a small group of us that went to the Boise temple to do baptisms on Friday morning before our day began.