A Partnership Learning Model

February was National Career and Technical Education Month. Career and Technical Student Organizations make the perfect partnership learning opportunity when coupled with Career and Technical Education classroom curriculum – like North High’s recent Prom Expo. Really.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) encompasses courses and learning opportunities that cover science & engineering, information technology, hospitality, law, education, marketing, business, government, communications, distribution, construction, manufacturing, health sciences, agriculture, human services, and finance—16 Career Clusters® through more than 79 pathways. 94% of all high school students participate in Career and Technical Education.

Participation in CTE prepares high school students to be college- and career-ready by providing core academic skills, employability skills, and technical, job-specific skills. More than 70% of students who participate in CTE pursued post-secondary education shortly after high school.

In addition to CTE classroom learning opportunities, students may also choose to become involved in Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO). CTSOs are more than social clubs for students with a common interest; these organizations are closely aligned to CTE curriculum. The club projects, meeting activities, and student responsibilities all reinforce the curriculum being taught and the learning outcomes sought in CTE courses. This hand-in-hand learning model reinforces curriculum theory and concepts through hands-on learning and personal, real-world experiences.

Fargo School District CTE students at North, South, and Davies High Schools may choose to become involved in a number of CTSOs, including:

  • DECA – prepares entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, and management
  • FBLA – Future Business Leaders of America; the world’s largest business career student organization
  • FCCLA – a Family and Consumer Science education organization for personal growth, leadership development, and career preparation
  • SkillsUSA – a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure a skilled workforce for America

Involvement in a CTSO has the potential to teach the students innovation, marketing, finance, skills enhancement, and collaboration through the execution of social awareness campaigns, fundraising events, and participation in local, regional, and national contests. Personal benefits that come as a result of participation in a CTSO include increased self-confidence, career-related experience, resume building, and scholarship opportunities.

Reference: Association for Career & Technical Education, www.acteonline.org

Check out these District CTE and CTSO Partnership Achievements:

3 boys repair white carSkillsUSA provided the needed parts and the students from an Automotive Technology class at South recently provided the labor to repair the braking system of a car at no charge for the resident of a local women’s shelter.




2 girls hold up paper certificatesStudents Megan Selsler and Shayla Zacher each received a $10,000 college scholarship and a cooking institute scholarship as a result of the gluten-free cookie they invented for their Davies Family and Consumer Science “cooking” class that was awarded a first place gold medal in a national FCCLA Food Innovations contest last summer.



group of boys look at electronic manufacturing equipmentSouth High students enrolled in several levels of Automated Manufacturing classes recently toured local manufacturing and engineering facilities, as part of a career exploration and skills application unit. The Tour Day was coordinated by SkillsUSA and members of the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation and included stops at John Deere Electronic Solutions, Appareo Research, Integrity Windows, Caterpillar Remanufacturing Facility, and Trail King Industries.

boys and girls in prom wear stand arm-in-arm along with girl in DECA jacketNorth High School DECA members organized and staged a community Prom Expo, which featured prom fashion and retailer exhibits. Funds raised were donated to the ND Muscular Dystrophy Association. The students utilized skills learned in their Business and Marketing classes to create this first-time event. It was so successful, they plan to stage the fundraising and fashion expo again next year.

large group of boys and girls in prom wear, including in wheelcahirsThe Davies DECA students held their annual Project Unify Prom Fashion Show, which brought together student populations within the school, with the goal to promote understanding amongst the groups. The students again used Business and Marketing class principles to organize this school-wide event.