Students at USD 490 on a specific career and technical education (CTE) path have the choice between 10 cluster pathways, with 506 hours being taken by students this fall.
As part of this, the district has articulation agreements with Butler Community College and Hutchinson Community College with these career pathways.
In addition, Butler has started a CTE strategic planning group with all nine school districts in Butler County.
One new thing this year is that some of the college courses are offered tuition free.
“Their goal is to have 209 students at Butler receiving free credit this spring,” said Julie Jensen, USD 490 director of curriculum.
Another aspect of this strategic planning group is early college academies.
“The college is wanting to implement academies within school districts,” Jensen said.
Circle has a construction academy, while Rose Hill has nursing.
El Dorado is applying for a grant for a public safety academy, which they felt would be a great fit with the new fire station and Butler’s fire science classroom there.
They will know if they are approved in the early spring and it would be everything included in public safety.
If the district does not receive the grant, the academy would probably be two years down the road.
The academy offers students the opportunity to earn a two-year degree the same time they are going to high school.
If a student receives an industry level certificate, the school district will receive $1,000.
“I’m excited about the prospects,” Jensen said. “I’m seeing all nine districts, with the college working together.”
The Board of Education also approved some new courses, including graphic design fundamental, human growth and development, and media tech, all of which are needed to meet state requirements for the pathways.
The graphic design course is just a change in the course number, while in math they have been looking at how to transition to the new classes. At the middle school, they also will add Spanish 8.