CTE programs expanding to provide better career opportunities


Lilly Gorman

Coppell High School seniors Jaden Escoto and Kimberly Henze practice strapping CHS senior Emersyn Jorski in medical equipment during CHS EMT and pharmacy tech teacher Gary Beyer’s seventh period class on Friday. CTE courses are expanding their offerings at CHS and rebranding themselves.

Anette Varghese, Staff Writer

In Coppell ISD, Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses uniquely prepare students for college courses to be successful in a specific career. 

Headed by a new CTE coordinator, Dr. Kristin Petrunin, the CTE program is planning to diversify its offerings. One of the first additional courses will be Securities and Investments, as a follow up to the popular Money Matters class. Petrunin aims to offer more class options to help more students reach completer status, in which at least three courses for at least four credits, including an advanced course within a single program of study, are completed.

“The Texas Education Agency (TEA) wants students to get in-depth knowledge in a certain area before going off to college, technical school or their career,” Petrunin said. “Instead of dabbling in multiple career clusters, they want students to dive deep into one specific area.” 

Every program of study of which there are five at NTH@C and 12 at CHS offer cluster-specific certifications, which may be advantageous after graduation. In the Healthcare Practicum pathway, students have the option to work part time where they utilize their certifications [ExCPT (except national curriculum exam) for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians or National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians]. CTE courses also serve as a benchmark for students to decide if college is the right choice for them. 

“Not every kid is cut out for college,” Coppell High School EMT and pharmacy tech teacher Gary Beyer said. “If they choose, they can go be an EMT (emergency medical technician) or pharmacy technician.”

According to CHS education and training teacher Raneta Ansley, the key to deciding what the next best step is for a student would be to experience possible careers or interests in a field. 

“Any student, regardless of being a freshman or a senior, should have exposure to different avenues of what [they] want to do in the real world before college and paying money for courses we offer for free,” Ansley said. “Real world experience is where they can help navigate if that’s what they want to spend their time getting a degree in during college.”

CHS junior Rohan Nalla, who took Arts, A/V Technology and Communications cluster as a freshman, is an example of what Ansley describes as diving into a field he thought he was passionate about but coming out the other side as a better informed student.

“The classes are oriented so they can give us some insight [on] how courses are at a college level, which is beneficial in the long run so I can see if that interests me or not,” Nalla said. “I gained a better understanding of the career and chose not to pursue it because it no longer lined up with my interests.”

CHS senior Ghufran Murtuza accredits his venture into both the Health Science and STEM clusters as a deciding factor in his biomedical engineering major. 

Coppell High School seniors Meghana Kalavagunta, Aysha Khan. Gayathri Vikayakumar and Lasya Mukka work on a lab assignment during CHS health science and EMT teacher Gary Beyer’s seventh period class on Friday. CTE courses are now expanding their offerings at CHS and rebranding themselves. (Lilly Gorman)

“[The courses] are a gateway to exploring engineering and everything they do by giving us projects, research and industry certifications we need for the workforce,” Murtuza said. “That’s why the CTE program has really helped me with my future.”

One of Dr. Petrunin’s goals is to introduce modes of communication available for students and parents. The Coppell CTE program has recently rebranded itself and introduced an Instagram (@coppellcte), Facebook, Twitter (@CoppellCTE) and a website designed to be easily accessible. 

“Parents and students are better served [when] they understand inside and out what the different courses offered are,” CHS9 principles of applied engineering teacher Grant Garner said. “There is a misconception that is hurting a lot of kids where students come into a classroom and don’t understand the depth of the course and what they signed up for.”

All CTE courses, regardless of the cluster or program of study, teach employability, resume building, conducting oneself in an interview and speaking professionally while offering both rigor and opportunity. 

Follow Anette (@AnetteVarghese) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.