CTE Providing Great Training for the Future

January 24, 2014

by Bob Gibbs

The Salem High School Center for Career and Technical Education (CTE) is a great example of a modern education system that provides real world hands on education and experience.

The Salem High School CTE provides 13 courses of study to SHS students.  In New Hampshire, approximately 60 percent of vocational and technical training at the secondary level is paid for by the state.  Along with the Salem students, CTE provides training for approximately 80 students for the Windham, Pelham and Timberlane school districts.  Salem does get reimbursed from the other school districts.  The other school districts also provide reciprocal education to Salem students.

The courses at Salem CTE include:  automotive technology, biotechnology, building trades, computer aided drafting and design, computer networking and repair, computer software and media applications, culinary arts, early childhood education, health science technology, marketing education, business and office administration, pre-engineering and television production.  Next year, they plan to add cosmetology.

Many of the courses award the students with up to four college credits.  The credits are provided through Manchester Community College.  Students that complete the Health Science and Technology course can finish high school as Licensed Nursing Assistants (LNA) or Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT).  The EMT students all have the opportunity to ride along with the Salem Fire Department’s EMS to observe what being an EMT is all about.  All of the courses provide the students with a strong foundation to further their education or to go directly into their chosen career path.

According to United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook, the careers that the students at CTE are preparing for will provide them a very good income and good job growth.

From the CTE catalog:  “I learned so much in the class; now I feel like I can do almost anything with a computer,” Courtney Markey (former CTE Computer Software and Media Applications student).

As you travel through the CTE, many of the rooms have been created to be real working environments, facilities that students will encounter when they go out to work in their fields.  The culinary students have a first-class kitchen and restaurant.  The early childhood education students have a daycare center.  There are rooms setup as data centers with raised floors, rooms that create an office environment, biomedical labs, automotive care centers, as well as television and film production centers.

The facility that houses the CTE was built in 1968; much of the original building still exists.  In order to improve on many of the programs, the Salem High School staff, teachers and the students themselves have worked on their own to add in the necessary improvements to the building.  An example of this is Mr. Christopher Dodge, CTE Director, used his previous background in carpentry to build shelves, cabinets and counter tops to build a science lab for the biotechnology department.

Much of the computer setup in the school has been done by teachers and students in the various computer courses.  This has included wiring for the networks along with building and maintaining servers and desktops.  Many of the rooms that house this important and expensive equipment have minimal security and mostly inadequate air conditioning.

Throughout the CTE, anyone visiting can see how the building has been customized over the years to meet the requirements of the students.  A visitor can also see the hazards of some of these “improvements”.  In several of the rooms, makeshift electrical outlets hang from the ceiling.  In the daycare center, a leak from above the center has been fixed using a plastic pan attached to the ceiling under the leak and then PVC piping diverts the fluid into the drainage system.  The ingenuity is brilliant, but much of this should not be required for a school in a town like Salem.

The Salem High School and the Center for Career and Technical Education is very beneficial to the students and the residents of Salem.  These facilities have, and will continue to, provide education and training to the students providing all of us with self-sustaining adults for the future.