Edison High School is expanding its career pathways courses with new subjects aimed at natural resources and engineering.
Edison Local School District Assistant Superintendent Julie Kireta said plans are in the works to develop the programs and have them ready for fall. Kireta said the high school currently offers agriculture (agribusiness and production), biomedical science and informational technology (interactive media) and the new offerings will build upon project-based, hands-on learning.
“We are expanding our career pathways with agriculture course offerings to include more coursework that incorporates natural resources,” she said. “[It will focus on] forestry and woodlands and wildlife and fisheries and upperclassmen will study park and recreational management. The reason [we added this] is that in the past we focused more on livestock and business management, so we will be adding natural resources to cover another aspect of agriculture.”
The district is posting a position for a new teacher to helm the class, which is just one of the changes coming in the immediate future. Another pathway will center on engineering and current EHS teacher Derek Gulling will oversee that format.
“We’re adding a completely new pathway with engineering and we’ll be offering four different courses. The first year will be an introductory course,” she noted.
Meanwhile, eighth-graders will have courses on a nine-week rotation for agriculture, computer science, biomedical and general career exploration, the latter of which Kireta said will give them choices for their future before they become freshmen.
She added that the new courses were selected based upon information from student surveys.
“We’d been working on expanding different career pathways to make sure the students meet the three E’s for enlisted, employed and enrolled. Last year, we surveyed students about their interests and then added biomedical science, which is taught by JoAnn Stagani,” Kireta continued. “The school board wanted to explore career pathways and we looked at the surveys from students in grades 8-11, then administrators and school board members visited other schools to view their programs and see how we could make it work for Edison students. It also gave us ideas to improve our course offerings for our kids.”
Officials decided to build upon its agriculture course based on responses to a survey conducted by Ag teacher Chuck Cline while leaders saw a need for engineering. Gulling also spent time reviewing programs at other schools to prepare for his new role while an engineering lab will be created in his classroom this summer. Federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds are being used to build the career pathways curriculum and scheduling has begun for grades 7-10.
“Students will be able to do more hands-on, project-based learning,” she commented.
Additionally, juniors and seniors can take part in a drone course this fall which will offer industry-recognized credentialing. In the end, they can receive a remote pilot certification through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“Drones are used in so many careers from engineering to information technology, and hopefully students will find it interesting and motivating.”
Kireta said career pathways benefit all students, no matter what their future choice may be.
“The district is excited to be able to offer some more classes that prepare our kids for the next step towards graduation. Career pathways are for all kids. It is beneficial to those going straight into a career because they gain exposure and vocabulary as well as those planning to go to college because they gain knowledge and a vocabulary for the career they plan to go into.”