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Nederland Career and Technology Education program expands, offers new courses

NEDERLAND — The Nederland High School Career and Technical Education program expanded its repertoire by two additional classes this year, adding Instructional Practices and Business English to its list of career ready classes.

Instructional Practices developed from the school’s former peer tutor program, expanding to allow students with an interest in teaching to practice alongside the district’s current educators.

Bill Jardell, director of CTE, said the course offers students the chance to try their hand at teaching before they reach college.

“Instructional Practices takes students who may be interested in the teaching profession or a career working with children, and gives them the opportunity to work in the middle and elementary schools,” he said. “They do course work and they go to the campuses. They work with a teacher here on campus, look at the basics of education and training, and develop plans for effective instruction.”

Maria Fontenot shows senior Cody Marshall how to properly save his research document. (Cassandra Jenkins/The News)

The class, which started this year, begins with two weeks of coursework, where students learn the qualities of effective schools, explore possible career options, discuss teaching, training and learning environments.

Maria Fontenot, a teacher in the program, said the class grants seniors two credits while providing students a taste of what it’s like to be a teacher in whatever program they choose.

“I have kids at several elementary schools and both middle schools in classes from kindergarten to choir and band,” Fontenot said.

Students meet with their senior counselors and decide the best classes for them to attend for at least an hour a day. Students can pick any class they desire at any level or grade.

Fontenot said it has turned out better than expected, adding the students and teachers are happy with its progress.

“Basically, the students are all doing fabulous,” she said. “They’ve been in there for nine weeks and all their teachers are so happy with them. I told the kids I want them to jump in and do as much as their teachers allow them to. They help with prep time, they do tutoring with the kids and they do some teaching. They are doing a great job, they really jumped in with both feet.”

The class operates in conjunction with the student organization Texas Association of Future Educators or TAFE. Students can apply in spring.

Students in Maria Fontenot’s Business English class practice communication and research skills linked to professionalism and employability. (Cassandra Jenkins/The News)

In addition to the Instructional Practices class, CTE is also offering an alternative English IV requirement called Business English, also taught by Fontenot.

Fontenot said the course is senior-level only and focuses on enhancing students’ communication research skills in a business environment.

“[The class] helps students plan for their careers,” she said. “We touch on business functions, communications and research skills using modern technology in class. We work on professional standards and employability skills that are required by business and industry. We work on communication skills and organization. It gets students workforce ready after high school.”

Jardell said he is excited to see where the programs lead students and how they will develop over time.

“We’re trying to offer courses that are related to the needs in our area,” he said. “There’s quite a few things we look at to make sure we are offering courses to students that they can look back on when they reach their careers.”

CTE also offers courses in Health Science, where students can become certified nurse aides and patient care technicians.