THS, TMS program helps college students get ready – Shelby County Reporter

By EMMA CARY | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – Thompson High and Middle colleges are offering the chance to enroll within the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, which helps put together college students for real-life trade and school expertise.

Dr. Amanda Wilbanks, the coordinator of secondary curriculum and overseer of all CTE applications, mentioned the purpose for college students is to achieve expertise in specified lessons that interprets to extra success and delight in school and trade.

The program is designed to assist highschool and center college college students be taught extra about their desired trade, whereas additionally giving useful expertise, certifications and partnerships with native corporations.

“Our vision in Alabaster is to make students champions of their future, and I think the career and technical program here really allows them to be champions of their future,” Wilbanks mentioned. “They are prepared going forward, whether they go right into the workforce or they go on to college.”

Because the academies search to incorporate college students of each curiosity, Thompson presents 14 completely different CTE applications, two of them beginning in eighth grade. The Engineering and Computer Science pathways are two of the biggest the varsity has to supply.

Director of Engineering DJ Strickland beforehand labored as a Professional Engineer for a neighborhood firm in Birmingham and helps lead the category. Because of his expertise within the subject, he is ready to assist college students develop of their data of the trade and set life like expectations for faculty programs.

Strickland recalled his time as an engineering pupil at Auburn University was a wrestle for him as a result of he didn’t really feel ready. There was lots about engineering that he didn’t know to count on. After working within the trade for seven years, he felt the decision to turn out to be a instructor. He felt drawn to assist highschool college students who’re taken with engineering so he might give them a greater, extra ready expertise than he had.

“Our ‘Why Statement’ for the academies is to provide an authentic environment to help students develop the skills and mindset to pursue opportunity with confidence,” Strickland mentioned. “We crafted that very deliberately. As much as possible, we want [these programs] to be the things they will do in college.”

In the Engineering academy, the scholars get the chance to be taught and be licensed in SolidWorks. SolidWorks is a design software program that engineers use in school and trade.

The intention behind mimicking school is to assist the scholars develop in confidence. When they graduate on to varsity or the workforce, they won’t solely be ready, however they are going to be extra assured in themselves.

Apart from gaining school or real-world expertise in lessons, the scholars additionally get to work on certifications, tasks and native partnerships. The engineering and laptop science college students collaborate on the finish of senior yr to work on a Capstone design course.

Dr. Spencer D. Stone, director of laptop science, mentioned the Capstone course could have the scholars deliver a real-world drawback to class and use what they’ve realized at school to pitch an answer. If the challenge is permitted, they construct and mannequin it.

In the Computer Science academy, Stone mentioned college students get the chance to be taught coding languages, like Python Programming.

“[Python] is an industry credential that can be added to their resumes as early as sophomore year,” Stone mentioned. “For the students who either want to defer college or don’t want to go to college, they can go into the workforce and immediately have a leg up on competition.”

If a pupil’s schedule doesn’t enable for CS programs, Thompson has a Technology Student Association (TSA) membership, a nationwide pupil group that teaches expertise and science, that college students can be part of as an extracurricular exercise.

Strickland mentioned among the best elements of the academies is that it offers the scholars a secure place to develop, make errors and be taught the fabric.

“In engineering and in all the academies, we are trying to teach the students upper levels things,” Strickland mentioned. “It’s not easy, but one of the biggest benefits is when students handle difficult concepts and walk out in confidence.”

The program requires no utility and accepts all Thompson college students who’re . These lessons coincide with the core curriculum Thompson requires. Students taken with a CTE academy can take as much as three elective programs, alongside the 4 core lessons. These lessons can start in Eighth grade, which has two academies, and proceed by highschool, which has 12 different academies.

“The CTE program is so appealing to so many kids because it gives them a sample of what work or college would be like,” Wilbanks mentioned. “We want parents and students to understand that we do have something for everyone. Whether it be academics, career and technical or dual enrollment, there is something for everyone at Thompson High School.”


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