- Donna ISD
Donna ISD Expands CTE Courses To Middle School Level
For the first time in Donna ISD history, eighth grade students across the district have been given the opportunity to enroll in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, making DISD one of only a handful of school districts in the Rio Grande Valley to offer CTE programs at the middle school level.
According to CTE Director David Moreno, three courses were added to the curriculum at DISD’s four middle schools this school year (Principles of Law, Principles of Health Science, and Principles of Agriculture). Moreno said the interest was evident by the number of students who signed up to take one of the three courses.
“We have 175 eighth grade students from throughout the district who enrolled in one of the three courses,” Moreno said. “We knew these programs were going to be popular among this age group. We’re excited and happy to report that this is just the beginning as Donna ISD plans to offer more CTE courses at the middle school level next year.”
The majority of CTE programs are offered to students in high school and postsecondary levels across the country, however, Moreno felt DISD eighth-graders would benefit tremendously if they participate in CTE courses while they are in middle school. He said middle school is a critical time for students who are making important decisions that may have a lasting impact on their lives.
“Offering students CTE courses in middle school will allow our eighth-grade students to earn high school credit and the opportunity to start their career pathway earlier,” Moreno said. “Once in high school, they are already put in a position to be able to take an extra class in their career pathway, which will lead to a better prepared and more well-rounded student. Students can also earn an industry-based certification during their junior year and another when they are seniors and enrolled in a practicum course of their choice. Upon graduation, they will be equipped with the skills they need to succeed if they choose to go to college or enter the workforce.”
One student who quickly took advantage of this opportunity was Karla Ramirez. The eighth-grade student at Sauceda Middle School has always loved animals and was excited to hear that a Principals of Agriculture course was being offered at her campus this year. “Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always wanted to be a veterinarian,” Ramirez said. “I like agriculture because it has to do with animals and I love helping animals. So, when I heard about this course, I was very excited. I’m happy that I get to have this experience in middle school.”
Ramirez feels the knowledge she gains in this course will help her be better prepared when she continues her agriculture career path in high school. “We’re learning new things,” Ramirez said. “We’re learning about FFA and how to inject the animals properly. We’re also learning about competitions and how to prepare for them. For example, we’re learning how to communicate and how we can practice with other people. When we go to high school, we will be familiar with the program. It’s super cool."
Ramirez appreciates the opportunity and thanks the district for providing students like her this great opportunity. “I would like to tell them thank you so much for the class because it’s such a great class to practice and for young students to learn,” Ramirez said. “It’s a great opportunity.”
“Our goal at Donna ISD and CTE is to prepare our students to be the most knowledgeable, experienced, skilled, and certified so that they have the edge when competing against any other applicant,” Moreno said. “I want to thank our Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Hafedh Azaiez, for his continued support of our CTE Department’s vision to expand our courses in our high schools and middle schools.
“Being able to offer these courses will allow our students to explore how CTE can benefit them. Our middle school courses will serve as building blocks to the high school courses that we offer and will give our students opportunities to be career-ready as our standards are based on industry needs, regional and state needs, and job demand.”
For information on DISD CTE programs, contact 956-464-1600 ext. 1106.