When will I use this?” is a question that Columbia River teacher, Mr. Rob Russell, never hears from his Financial Algebra students.  Financial Algebra is a CTE math course that covers interest (both the kind you pay and the kind you earn) as well as other important financial literacy issues.  This class is offered at all comprehensive high schools in Vancouver Public Schools and teaches students how to make informed financial decisions about life after high school.

There is a vast offering of CTE courses and programs as highlighted in this month’s Vancouver Family Magazine. Culinary, teaching and advanced manufacturing are just a few of the programs offered through VPS’s Programs of Choice.  If students are still exploring, CTE courses are available to all middle and high school students.

College or career is just one of the decisions families are making with their high school students.  The good news is it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Many employers assist with college tuition in today’s competitive economy.  CTE’s work-based learning courses provide students with hands-on experiences that prepare students for both.  Many CTE classes offer dual credit (credit at a local community college for free) and industry certifications!  For example, the student stores at VPS high schools teach students how to run a business (from ordering and marketing to inventory, customer service and cash handling).  Additionally, students obtain a WA state Food Worker Card at no cost to the student and if they earn a “B” or better receive five credits at Lower Columbia College for FREE (that’s more than $600 in value)!

Applications for Programs of Choice and Magnet programs open January 5th with a district-wide Open House event on January 5th at 6PM.  More information about these programs can be found at www.vansd.org/choices or contact a School Counselor or Career Specialist.