To prepare students for the workforce
Develop vocational skills
Ten, three-year pathways
Department chair: Hope Via
The career, technical, and agricultural education department at Starr’s Mill is among one of the most diverse departments at the Mill. Teachers in this department have specialized classes that act as prerequisites for subjects that students may be interested in to pursue as a career.
“Our programs are set up in pathways that span three years,” Via said. “This allows us to have the same students for multiple years and mentor those students over three to four years of high school.”
Examples of pathways include the technology and engineering pathway run by Jonathan Winkjer. These classes have a wide range of what the students are allowed to do, from 3-D printing to working Photoshop.
Another example is the computer science pathway. In this course, students can develop their skills in coding and computer technology. Students who follow this pathway typically end with AP Computer Science, where students may earn college credit while making intricate computer programs.
“We have great students,” Via said. “They work hard and are interested in what they are learning.”
The purpose of the department is to teach students tools that they may use after they are finished with school and to prepare the students for any of the designated fields that they may be interested in. Students also learn other valuable skills, including time management and cooperation.
“I love that we show students practical applications of all that they have learned and that we use hands-on activities to reinforce the skills learned in the classroom,” Via said.
Along with the diversity of the department, many clubs branch off of the classes. Technology Club, for example, currently holds the world record for longest chain of pipe cleaners. Health Occupation Students of America, the club run by therapeutic services teacher Julie McKenna, goes to HOSA convention every year and participates in activities to show off the skills that they learned with hands-on activities.
One thing that is for sure — anybody could find his or her place in the CTAE department.