Washougal School District celebrated Career and Technical Education Month® with a look at how CTE teachers and programs continued to thrive during remote learning.

Donna Schatz, Washougal High School, Engineering Design, and Physics, teacher is working to adapt her curriculum to be more about the local area, so students have more of a connection to the class.  “For example, currently my classes are designing a natural disaster relief plan for Clark County,” she explained.  “This includes using ArcGIS, a mapping software, to identify disaster relief centers using real time data.”  Students are tasked with identifying disaster relief centers, planning survival kits, creating a schedule of tasks that must be completed before a natural disaster, designing a medical shelter, and finally presenting their plan.

CTE courses and projects focus on preparing students with the 21st century skills needed to be successful in the workforce.  Skills Schatz’s students are learning are communication, collaboration, problem solving, technology literacy, critical thinking, and creativity.

Schatz says her biggest challenge during remote learning has been getting students to be involved during the class.  “I try to keep them engaged by incorporating a lot of group work and discussions in the class,” she said. “I ask students to respond to questions in the chat frequently.”

Schatz also sees her students stepping up with their self-advocacy.  “I have students that are becoming more confident asking for help and communicating,” she said. “Students are emailing me if they missed class, if they don’t understand something, or if they would like to book an appointment with me to go over work.”

Washougal has a robust offering of project-based classes and programs which facilitate the teaching of relevant skills and knowledge for learning, career and life.  Learn more about WSD CTE programs and the opportunities for students at https://www.washougal.k12.wa.us/cte/