Two area educational institutions will explore the possibility of expanding a partnership focused on career and technical education after a trip to Colorado shed light on a unique partnership between Pueblo Community College and two partner high schools.
Teachers and administrators from W.F. West High School and faculty from Centralia College toured the Colorado schools to see the variety of programs offered to students.
According to a press release from the Chehalis School District, Pueblo Community College works closely with the area high schools to offer concurrent classes that students begin taking in high school. The classes give the students a jumpstart on college classes in relation to their chosen career pathway.
"The importance of having partnerships with the local community college was the highlight of the trip to Colorado for me as an administrator,” Wendie Balmer, W.F. West assistant principal and CTE director, said. “We are excited to already be articulating with Centralia College; however, this trip allowed us to see how we can improve our collaboration and articulations. The state rules in Colorado for funding college in the high school are different than our state. Nevertheless, it was good to see how the community college and high schools have such strong relationships to help both institutions be successful.”
During the October trip, the group observed several classes and programs with concurrent enrollment that fit within a four-day week where students obtain both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree or industry certification.
“Because of this model, we are now looking at more industry certifications within our school,” Balmer said.
The career pathways were another takeaway for those on the trip, stated the release. The students have individually designed pathways to connect to a four-year college, career certification, employment after high school or the military.
“Every CTE student had some college classes along with regular high school classes,” stated the release. “This allows the student to have a greater range of high school experience and elective course choice while maintaining a strict educational philosophy, along with rigorous course work. High school students are given the opportunity to make educated decisions about his or her career and about classes they wish to take.”
Balmer said she is enthusiastic about the possibilities W.F. West and Centralia College can offer students.
“It was exciting to see other staff members from W.F. West connect with Centralia College staff, and we will continue to build our programs along with Centralia College,” she said. “This opportunity was a wonderful way to deepen the connections and serve our students and community."
Nine members of the W.F. West staff and five Centralia College faculty members went on the trip.