Over 600 students in Albert Lea district taking advantage of career and technical education courses

Published 1:41 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2023

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During Tuesday night’s Albert Lea school board meeting, Jeff Halverson, executive director of careers, technology and innovation, shared information about how the district’s students are participating in career and technical education programming.

Halverson said currently, there are over 600 students in the district between ninth and 12th grade enrolled in 1,350 Career and Technical Education semester course credits. The most popular courses this year are Create Foods A (225 students), Small Animal Care & Management (148) and Basic Woods (123).

“One of the unique challenges that come with the CTE courses sometimes has to do with the area of safety, which does require us to limit the number of students that we have in a particular section just based on safety requirements, the nature of working with power tools and so forth,” Halverson said.

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He also noted that the Diversified Work Internship class did not have prerequisites specific to the Youth Apprenticeship program.

“The Youth Apprenticeship program requires students to take four courses in the area of many of the industrial tech courses,” he said. “Some combination of four of those courses plus that Youth Apprenticeship 11 class … then prepares them to be assigned to a youth apprenticeship mentor and worksite.”

In other action, Burke Egner, Albert Lea school district technology integration teacher and coach of the robotics programs at both the middle and high school, updated the board on progress for the Broken Zip Ties, who again will compete in the state competition in March.

According to Egner, 35 students participate in robotics, though Egner would like to see that number grow through outreach, having summer robotics camps and building partnerships with local businesses and organizations. Their most recent one was with Design Ready Controls.

Last month, the District Curriculum Committee heard from high school teachers proposing new courses to be offered at the high school. Among the new courses approved to the curriculum were Advanced Film Study, First-Year Experience, Pop Literature, CIS-American Humanities English A & B, and Small Animal Care 2.

Over the last month, the district spent $6.09 million and accepted $21,000 in donations.

The board agreed to hire Kyle Milliron, Shelly DeVries, Rachael Korman, Casey Roskos, Carmen McColley, Rodney Lund, Robert Neely, Benjamin Jahnke and Kylie Vandenheuvel for a variety of positions. They also agreed to leaves of absence for Mary Jo Dorman, Al Helgerson, Katelyn Flatness, Hannah Peterson, Ashley Tran, Jessie Bolinger, Linda Willaby, Terri Wichmann, Marcie Forman and Rebecca Bungum. Members approved retirements for Mary Jo Dorman, Mark Jensen, Steve Anderson and Kimberly Danner. The board also approved the resignations of Kmwe Win, Faith Sorum and Andrea Chavez.

Staci Wangen, Kevin Peek and AJ Jacobson were recognized as employees of the month for November, December and January.

The board ] approved a second study session for 5 p.m. March 27, specifically related to strategic planning.