Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees approves concept of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Facility
New centralized, state-of-the-art facility will house specialized CTE programs and provide opportunities for dual credit coursework
FORT BEND ISD – The Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees approved conceptual plans for updates to Career and Technical Education facilities at three high schools and the future design and construction of a centralized state-of-the-art facility for the delivery of expanded CTE programs. During a regular business meeting on Monday, December 14, trustees gave the administration authorization to proceed with the planning and design process of the facilities, which will be funded through the 2014 Bond Program. The 2014 Bond Program, approved by voters in November of 2014, included $59 million dollars earmarked for CTE improvements.
On November 30, after more than two years of collaboration with local business and industry leaders and other stakeholders, and a comprehensive review of CTE programming, the FBISD administration recommended that the District construct a centralized facility that will give students from all eleven high schools access to state-of-the-art learning spaces and industry equipment in a 21st Century Learning environment. In presenting its plan on November 30, staff referred to the centralized facility as a “Center for Advanced Learning,” where advanced academic coursework could also be delivered.
Following extensive discussions between District administrators and the Board of Trustees on November 30 and December 7, the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees brought the focus back to the original goals.
In making a motion to continue with the conceptual planning and future design and construction of the facility, Board Vice-President David Rosenthal stressed those original goals: providing equitable access to advanced CTE programs for all FBISD students, and providing students with the opportunity to earn industry certifications and dual credit by accessing industry standard equipment in real world experiences.
“Fort Bend ISD recognizes that not all students will choose a traditional, four-year university program immediately following high school graduation,” said Rosenthal, prior to the vote.
“Fort Bend ISD also recognizes that many industry experts expect a strong demand for skilled workers across a variety of sectors. Therefore, the first priorities of the CTE center are to develop new – and to strengthen existing – CTE programs geared to students who may wish to enter the workforce either immediately or within two years of high school graduation.”
The concept adopted by the Board of Trustees includes a facility of approximately 200,000 square feet designed to meet industry standards, provide program flexibility and enterprise opportunities, and serve approximately 1,800 students daily. A location for the center will be determined and approved at a later time, and the intent is that the facility would begin serving students in August of 2018. In addition to CTE programs, the facility will also support academic classes that require expensive, highly specialized equipment, making it unfeasible for these programs to be available at all comprehensive high schools.
The conceptual plan adopted by the Board of Trustees states initial program offerings at the Center for Advanced Learning would be within the following program areas:
Architecture and Construction
Arts and Audio Video Production
Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
Education and Training
Law and Public Safety
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Transportation, Distribution and Logistics
Fort Bend ISD’s current Technical Education Center, located behind Dulles High School, offers specialized and intensive programs in the areas of Automotive Services, Welding, Fire Fighting, Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism, Cosmetology, Engineering, and Computer Maintenance and Networking. Students from any FBISD high school can apply to attend the Technical Education Center and are bused to the facility for morning or afternoon sessions. While taking courses and upon successful completion of the programs, students are eligible to receive multiple industry certifications. The programs offered at the current Technical Education Center are operating at or near capacity based on space availability. In a 2014-15 program evaluation, it was determined that the existing space does not lend itself to the expansion of dual credit opportunities.
Following Monday’s action, Fort Bend ISD will also proceed with the planning and design of facility updates at Austin High School, Ridge Point High School, and Bush High School.