"What do we want to be great at?” This was the question Coppell ISD is hoping to answer as it plans out the future of its Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.

According to district officials, Coppell ISD’s purpose for its CTE program is to empower learners through diverse experiences to explore passions and to develop relevant, real-world technical and employability skills for lifelong learning and success in college and career.

Earlier this year, the state rolled out a new set of CTE programs of study, or courses that prepare students for their chosen career path. The updated programs include 13 new career clusters such as education and training, health science and business and finance. Within those clusters are new courses related to each career. 

The new state programs of study are expected to give students a career path with opportunities to continue directly into postsecondary education and the workforce.

With the new programs going into effect during the 2020-21 school year, Coppell ISD has tasked itself with staying in line with the state’s guidelines while providing the best courses for its students, officials said.

“We hope that in all of our programs of study, we build them to where students have opportunities and choices no matter what they’re next step is going be,” said Ron-Marie Johnson, CISD director CTE. “... We never know what life is going to bring us or what’s going to happen, so we want them prepared for whatever comes up.”

Johnson said in 2016 the district brought a Career and Technical Education of North Texas representative to look at the district’s programs of study. In 2018-19, Coppell ISD did an external program evaluation through the Southern Region Education Board, bringing in a neutral party to review the program.

Johnson said the goals for the 2019-20 year were to continue to align CISD programs of study with federal and state guidelines.

“We also want to build capacity with the understanding of where we’re going and what we’re doing with programs," she said. "(We want) to have programs that are sustainable and staff that's sustainable,” she said.

For the 2020-21 school year, Coppell High School CTE programs will include business management, digital communications, engineering and design and multimedia arts. New Tech students can study graphic design, marketing and sales and programming and software development. New Tech students will also have the option to take Mobile App Development, a new course addition.

The district will continue to have further discussions on the direction it plans to take its CTE programs. 

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