As Maricopa High seniors are graduating this week, an interesting statistic was revealed at a recent meeting of the Maricopa Unified School District Board of Trustees regarding graduation rates.
In Arizona, students in traditional programs graduate at an average rate of 81%. At Maricopa High School, the graduation rate is 71.9 percent, with 445 of 619 students graduating, according to Arizona Education Data Standards (AzEDS).
But MHS and statewide students with a concentration in Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses are graduating at an astronomical rate of 97%.
According to Dr. Emily Maxwell, vice principal and CTE director at Maricopa High School, there is a tangible reason for this success.
“I believe these students have a higher graduation rate because they feel connected to the program,” Maxwell said. “They also have a plan for after graduation because they’re in a class that’s tied to their future goals. Those with a plan after high school are more likely to graduate.
The CTE track is gaining popularity across the state. There are 349,231 students in Arizona’s 410 high schools. Just over 16%, or 56,037, of these students are CTE hubs. More than a third, or 125,857, are enrolled in at least one CTE course.
At MHS, approximately 45% of students are enrolled in at least one CTE course.
The successes continue after graduation. CTE hubs pursue post-secondary education at a rate of 81% and 49% earn a post-secondary certificate, credential or diploma, while 41% are placed in employment, military service or an apprenticeship within six months.
This success led to more interest in the program, according to Maxwell.
“We are growing by leaps and bounds,” she said. “CTE includes rigorous curricula that provide students with academic and technical skills. Students participate in relevant curriculum through hands-on experience. CTE prepares learners for real-world experiences by introducing them to workplace skills, they gain the knowledge and training needed to succeed in their careers. »
MUSD superintendent Dr. Tracey Lopeman said the district’s goal is to provide students with a variety of ways to prepare for their post-secondary life.
“MUSD is proud to offer multiple pathways to graduation,” she said. “CTE students are challenged with rigorous and relevant coursework that prepares them to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation. When students earn certifications in CTE, they land high-paying positions in their chosen field. The staff at Maricopa High School are not only amazing teachers, but they are also industry experts who draw on real-world experience. Our qualified graduates are highly sought after in a growing economy.
Marlene Armstrong, principal of the new Desert Sunrise High School, said her school’s academy-based model will provide even greater exposure to CTE courses for all students.
“The academy-based model is a small learning community where students work in cohorts (small groups),” Armstrong said. “Through this learning model, students engage in cross-curricular activities based on their electives.
“Because our academy electives are all CTE-based, all Desert Sunrise students will participate in at least one CTE program.”
Armstrong also shared his perspective on why CTE students graduate at a higher rate.
“I think the reason students who complete CTE have a higher graduation rate is because of the active engagement and real-world application of the academic content built into CTE programs,” he said. she declared. “Students explore a high interest area and actively participate in their future career goals (and apply) what they learned in their core coursework to an area of interest.”
Desert Sunrise will offer a full suite of CTE programs across three academies when it opens to freshmen and sophomores in July.
The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Academy will offer courses in the fields of air transport, agro-science, engineering, software and application design and sports medicine . The Leadership Academy will offer business management, digital communication, careers in education and sports broadcasting.
MHS currently offers CTE programs in the following areas: Air Force Junior ROTC, Automotive Technologies, Computer Animation, Culinary Arts, Digital Communications, Digital Photography, Educational Professions, Engineering, Graphic Design, Marketing, Network Security, Software Design and of applications, sports medicine and rehabilitation, maintenance of scenic and technological devices.