To the editor:
We are writing in response to the Opinion piece written by Richard Serby and published in The Times on Wednesday, May 2. Mr. Serby was correct in his explanation of what Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses are. He was also correct in stating that they couple well with a cooperative education program. Mr. Serby was entirely wrong, however, when he wrote that “Ottawa High School ended vocational education.”
Ottawa High School currently offers 68 Career and Technical Education classes, 53 on campus and 15 at the La Salle-Peru Area Career Center in Peru. The Area Career Center is a cooperative of 10 high schools: Depue, Hall, Henry, LaMoille, La Salle-Peru, Mendota, Ottawa, Princeton, Putnam County, and St. Bede. The instructors at the Area Career Center are licensed teachers that also worked within the industry that they are instructing. Many schools have found that these area training center arrangements are a cost-effective and practical way to increase the opportunities for specific career and technical areas of interest.
The following represents programs of study, many of which are provided at multiple or progressive course levels, in which Ottawa High School students are enrolled for the 2017-18 school year. On the OHS campus the general hosted areas of study and training include agriculture, auto mechanics, business and entrepreneurship, child care, computer-aided drafting and design, fashion and merchandising, foods and culinary arts, interior design, introduction to technology and power tech., journalism, sports medicine, and woods. Courses at the Area Career Center include building trades, cosmetology, health occupations/CNA certification, and residential wiring.
Additionally, Ottawa High School has a Cooperative Education Program that this year allowed 23 students to gain work experience while also earning credits toward meeting graduation requirements.
The total number of student enrollments in all of these classes combined is 1,481 for the 2017-18 school year. Courses in computer repair and maintenance, fire science and emergency medical response, machine technology, programming and data, and welding are being added to the offerings available at the Area Career Center for 2018-19. OHS has, is, and will continue to provide a vast array of opportunities to students who may be headed to technical or vocational schools, going to college for further training, or entering the job force.
Donald J. Harris, OTHS Board of Education President
George Shanley, OTHS Board of Education Vice President