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Superintendent's column: Providing a future of hope and endless possibilities

By Victoria Advocate
Aug. 1, 2014 at 11:30 a.m.


As I visit with the campuses, departments and business partners across our 612 square miles of excellence, I am always amazed by the passion, commitment and dedication they display toward our students and toward each other.

When describing the power of the Victoria Independent School District, I am reminded of the words of Krish Dhanam: "The message is clear: Plan with an attitude, prepare with aptitude, participate with servitude, receive with gratitude, and this should be enough to separate you from the multitudes." The expansion of our advanced technology and cutting-edge career and technical education programs are a wonderful example of this quest for excellence in education.

In the VISD, our career and technical education programs include engineering, graphic design, family and consumer science, business, health and medical, information technology, agriculture and robotics. We also offer highly skilled and industry-trained programs, such as instrumentation and electronics, process technology, welding, automotive technology, collision repair and refinishing, cosmetology, architecture and construction technology, law enforcement and firefighting. Our students can enroll in advanced courses for academic graduation credits, including forensic science, anatomy and physiology, advanced animal science, engineering design, agriscience and engineering math.

According to the Association of Career and Technical Education, "Vocational education began as a way to prepare students for the newly industrialized workplace. Over the years, the program has evolved to match the needs of the changing economy, focusing on post-secondary as well as secondary education while giving students skills they can use throughout their careers."

A 2004 National Assessment of Vocational Education report showed that students who participated in post-secondary career and technical education coursework earned a higher yearly salary than high school graduates who were not enrolled in post-secondary career and technical education courses. We are extremely proud to state that in the VISD, 60 percent of all eligible secondary students are currently enrolled in a career and technical education offering.

One way to strengthen the opportunities of student success through career and technical education is by providing strong programmatic advisory committees to support the learning process. Successful programmatic advisory committees transform career and technical education educational programs by allowing the school district to align existing resources with the real world experiences of our local business community. Programmatic advisory committees are comprised of employers and community representatives who advise educators on the design, development, operation, evaluation and revision of their career and technical education programs. Career and technical education programmatic advisory committees provide a conduit for industry and the school district to develop educational programs that meet the needs of the local economic region.

The primary purpose of the programmatic advisory committee is to help the VISD ensure the Career and Technical Education program is relevant to the community, addresses current industry standards, meets standard workforce needs and has the appropriate resources to support high quality student outcomes.

Business and community input is invaluable to ensure Career and Technical Education programs meet the ever-changing needs of a 21st century workforce.

By aligning job skills and industry expectations, our business partners will have a skilled workforce to meet their demands, and our students will have career opportunities in an area of employment they have so diligently prepared for.

VISD career and technical education programmatic advisory members meet twice a year. If you are interested in serving on one of our programmatic advisory committees, please contact our VISD career and technical education coordinator Lauri Bednorz at lauri.bednorz@visd.net.

It has been said that vision without action is a daydream, and action without vision is a nightmare. On behalf of our board of trustees and the entire VISD, we truly appreciate our business partners' action and vision in providing our students with a future of hope and endless possibilities. The time to be successful is now. The place to be successful is the Victoria ISD.

Robert Jaklich is the superintendent for the Victoria Independent School District. Contact him at 361-788-9202 or through the VISD website, visd.com.

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