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Posted: 05/14/14


Above, Romeo students and faculty met Gov. Rick Snyder last month in Lansing during a demonstration of Career Technical Education curricula. From left, Romeo Engineering and Technology Center Assistant Principal Natalie Davis, sophomore Tyler Michels, senior Maria Dalal, Snyder, sophomore Brett Schornack and senior Jordan Messing. Davis said the demonstration helped show the value of vocational classes and curriculum like alternative energy.

(Photo courtesy of Evva Dossin)

RETC students show the
power of alternatives

Observer Staff Writer
      Romeo Engineering and Technology Center (RETC) students made a good impression on Michigan's governor as to why career-based education matters.
       Students and faculty from the RETC's alternative energy class were invited to Lansing in April to present their Career and Technical Education (CTE) curricula.
       Natalie Davis, RETC assistant principal, said the demonstrations were held so educators could show legislators the constraints of offering such electives under the Michigan Merit Curriculum.
       The curriculum requirements mandate four credits each of math and language arts, three each for social studies and science, two for foreign language and one credit each of physical education and visual, performing and applied arts.
       "Students have trouble fitting these classes into their schedule," Davis said. "One of our messages we were helping them understand is that these are viable programs and there are real jobs out there."
       She said a lot of industry leaders encourage students to go to college after graduating, but there are those looking for students to have the necessary skills right out of high school.
       She said classes teaching vocational skills or alternative fields provide the ability for students to earn a job after graduation, whether it's for their career or to help pay for college.
       "The job market is there, we just need the students to fill them up," she said.
       Gov. Rick Snyder stopped by the RETC table and spoke with students Maria Dalal, Jordan Messing, Tyler Michels and Brett Schornack, telling the governor about what they've learned in their class.
       Davis said when Snyder spoke to her after the students presented, he said he had questions on what the students do once they finish the alternative energy curriculum.
       "He told me he is working hard for CTE and is not finished yet," she said. "We know that and we appreciate it."
       Evva Dossin, RETC drafting and alternative energy instructor, said Snyder seemed impressed by the information the students could provide.
       "They were able to educate him, which was really cool, and he said they were very knowledgeable," she said.
       The alternative energy curriculum developed by Dossin and instructor Craig Bryant was adopted by the state as the curriculum to use. Subjects ranging from energy-saving tips to energy sources like wind, solar and biofuels are covered in the class.
       Dossin said the program is growing, so much so that businesses in the community are approaching students and teachers about projects. For instance, students performed an energy audit for TRW Automotive in November, measuring lighting, water and electric usage.
       "There is definitely a need for this," Dossin said.
       Other classes at the RETC have grown in popularity as well, such as electronics thanks to the Byting Bulldogs robotics team that has competed in world championships.
       Michigan Merit Curriculum does provide the flexibility to achieve the mandated credits through CTE. As an example, Romeo Community Schools Board of Education voted last month to change the computer programming class to count for the visual arts credit.
       Davis said the hope is that students and parents will be encouraged to support CTE opportunities. She said the demonstration helped highlight that students can pursue these classes even if they plan to take post-graduate education.
       "We're telling them that taking these classes doesn't mean they can't go to college after school, it's not an either-or situation," she said.

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Retrieved 8/3/2015 at 5:20:20 PM.
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