Career and technical education in the great falls public schools
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Career and Technical Education in the Great Falls Public Schools. Your Logo Here. An overview.

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An overview Schools

Career and Technical Education courses provide academic and technical knowledge and skills to prepare for further education and careers in current or emerging employment sectors. These programs focus on career preparation, resource management, communication, technical skill development, applied academics, technological literacy, personal skills and leadership. One credit is required by the Montana Office of Public Instruction for graduation

There are some 45 high school and middle school teachers teaching 50 courses these four general disciplines:

  • Health Science (Med Prep)

  • Industrial Technology

  • Business

  • Family and Consumer Sciences

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The need Schools

  • Cascade County is at over 6 percent unemployment rate. This has increased from 2.2 percent three years ago. Full employment is 4 percent.

  • There are critical shortages of workers in the skilled trades (carpenters, plumbers, welders, electricians), hospitality workers, and health care workers

  • Many of these jobs pay better

    than those requiring a college


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Who’s enrolled Schools

A credit of career and technical education is a graduation requirement.

More than half of all Great Falls public school students are enrolled in a CTE (hands-on, practical) class at any time.

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By the program Schools

  • Industrial technology

  • Health professions

  • Family and consumer science

  • Business

  • Agriculture

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Special events Schools

  • Career fairs

Construction Trades Fair

Health Careers Fair

Apprenticeship Rodeo Oct. 4-5

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High school houses Schools

  • Two houses are under construction by Great Falls High and CMR students in conjunction with NeighborWorks

  • Interior Design class students help plan furnishings, and a landscape class at CMR helps with outside design.

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Business enterprises Schools

  • DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) stores for students at CMR and GFHS

    ■ Great Falls High School shop students sell storage units they build in class.

    ■ CMR Woodshop class makes and sells swings and beds.

    ■ North Middle School shop classes run a laser engraver business.

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Paris Gibson Education Center businesses Schools

  • A number of businesses at Paris Gibson Education Center: “Sew What” (formerly Avant Gear), “The Company” that runs a school café and catering business, “Lynx Grafix” that does T-shirt and mug design, and “Paris Gibson Designs,” that does business cards, calendars, photos and even Web pages.

Making a quilt for the Paris Gibson Education Center “Sew What” sewing business.

“The Company” coffee shop and catering business at Paris Gibson Education Center

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Meeting new needs Schools

  • A wind generator was erected in November 2008 at CMR and solar panels at GFHS in spring 2010 anticipating the boom in alternative power source jobs.

  • The Auto Tech Center opened in Fall 06 at Paris Gibson School to train technicians. Partnership with five auto dealerships that put up $15,000 each to fund center: Bison, Bennett, City, Taylor Brothers, and Lithia.

  • All business ed classes operate on a “Company” model

Dress up day at Rustler Inc business ed class based on “Company” model

Instruction at Paris Gibson Education Center ASE Auto Tech Center.

Wind generator goes up at CMR in Fall 2008

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Beyond the classroom Schools

  • There are more than 325 juniors in the Job Shadowing program that offers 600 shadows.

  • Many students earn credits by taking Work Experience courses and working part-time and plans are underway for expansion of internship opportunities.

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10-11 Plans Schools

  • An Agriculture Program was launched this fall

  • The concept of “Learning” or career academies has been selected for study by the school board. Tentatively, there would be four academies: Arts and communications/Human Services, STEM/Skilled Crafts/Health-Wellness, Business and Marketing, and Freshman Academy

  • Solar panels will be used in electricity classes at GFH

  • The wind energy at CMR will be harnessed for use in a “Green Machine,” a donated Volkswagon mini-bus converted to electrical use. The bus will haul NMS students taking CMR classes

  • Two engines purchased for competition between CMR and GFH

  • A pilot project for 200 Great Falls High and Paris Gibson students to prepare for a National Work Readiness Certificate

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Beyond the district Schools

  • Students are enrolled in dual credit courses at MSU-Great Falls College of Technology in auto body repair and EMT (first responders) basic.

  • Med Prep students train at Benefis with nurses to qualify as Certified Nursing Assistants.

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Little known facts Schools

■ Enrollment is high. Approximately half of the high school graduates are Vocational Concentrators by taking three CTE credits or more before they graduate.

  • Post-secondary credit which saves time and money for students is available Dual Enrollment opportunities.

  • Work Experience allows students to receive credit while working for wages on a job.

  • Career and Technical Education has strong partnerships with the local business community and uses Advisory Boards for five content areas.

  • Additional funding comes from a state allocation and from a Carl Perkins federal grant.

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Student organizations Schools

Career and Technical Organizations:

  •  Business Professionals of America (BPA),

  • Association of Marketing Students (DECA),

  • Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA)

  • Industrial Technology Students (SKILLS USA/VICA)

  • FFA

    These organizations enhance education with a co-curricular option that motivates students through competitive events with an emphasis on leadership, citizenship and specific skills.GFPS also requires all Middle School students to take a quarter (each year) in Industrial Technology and Family and Consumer Science. These courses familiarize students with woods, technology, home maintenance, textiles, foods and personal/family issues. These curricula provide an introduction to the high school courses.

North Middle School “Company” that uses a laser engraver to learn technology and computer skills as well as how to operate a company and turn a profit.

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Other facts: Schools

  • Field trips include local eateries to find out how they cater to clients

  • Career classes include: Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation class, entrepreneurship class, consumer mechanics class, applied physics class, and landscape design class.

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The future Schools

  • We’re constantly looking for new ideas

  • For example we’re studying a pre-engineering program that reaches into the Middle Schools to meet a national need for engineers

  • Ready to work certification

  • More partnerships with the community

  • Volunteerism through AmeriCorps for high school house students

Graduates of the Fall 2008 CNA class from CMR. The number of CNA classes has grown from one to three in the past year to meet demand.

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How you can help Schools

  • Volunteer to be a Career Presenter at Career Fairs

  • Volunteer to be a job shadow mentor

  • We’re looking for sponsors for various events and programs. An example is the Auto Tech Center that is still looking for sponsorship for its work bays

  • Talk up Career and Technical Education

Veterinarian Kelly Manzer volunteered her time to present to the 8th Grade Career Fair in 2006.

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Contact Schools

  • Tom Kotynski

    Workforce Development Facilitator

    Great Falls Public Schools

    268 6024

    [email protected]

    Career and Technical Education Web page: