Career and technical classes fortifying Douglas students |

Career and technical classes fortifying Douglas students

by Scott Neuffer

“Students in career and technical education classes have a 15 percent higher rate of graduation than regular students,” said Douglas County School District assistant superintendent Nancy Bryant at a school board meeting Nov. 13 at Douglas High School.

Douglas High career and technical education counselor and coordinator Tricia Wentz said the school was setting up a pilot program in March for middle school students.

“We are trying to help as many ninth graders as we can become aware of the Douglas CTE programs so they can get right into it when they come to the high school,” she said.

School board members toured Douglas High’s CTE classrooms.

In the rear of the school, they found the agricultural program: water tanks brimming with baby trout, potted plants and seeds being cultivated under fluorescent light, even a pet tarantula in one corner of the classroom.

“I have 45 students in my introductory class,” said agriculture teacher Allyson Lammiman.

Lammiman said not only does she have a high number of students, 172 in agricultural classes combined, but that many of her students take high marks each year in Future Farmers of America national competitions.

“We never went to nationals when I was in school,” she said.

Douglas auto tech teacher Cade Baligad showed off his garage where students are currently rebuilding two hot rods.

“We now have a check off sheet that corresponds with state standards,” he said. “My students work on critical content, like math and science, while rebuilding cars.”

Wentz said the check off sheet was just introduced to the auto tech program. She gave the example of students learning about physics and trigonometry while working with a pulley.

Susan Bullard, who teaches video production, said her class gives creative students that aren’t good at traditional subjects an outlet to express themselves and utilize their talents.

“Our students were invited to submit videos to the Tahoe Adventure Film Festival,” said Bullard. “The films had to be under ten minutes.”

Bullard said her students used green-screen technology to fuse graphics from the video game Mario Cart with real-life people, creating an adventure film for the festival this December. She said the first place student video will receive $500.

Board members also visited welding, screen-printing, photography, computer design and the school’s new culinary class as well.

“These programs are thriving and meeting the needs of the students because of the dedication of the teachers,” said board member Sharla Hales.