On November 5, 2019, the Career and Technical Education (CTE) millage passed with an amazing 60 to 40 percent margin. Funds from millage will begin to be collected with the summer property tax levy, but our work will not wait. Throughout this project, I will periodically update you on the progress we are making, so I hope you enjoy your first post-election update:
Kalamazoo RESA CTE Leadership Team Established
We have established a Kalamazoo RESA CTE Leadership Team, which, for the next few years, will be responsible for refining and implementing the design plans we presented to community leaders on May 1, 2019.
Tom Zahrt, our Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Operations, will be leading this team. Tom brings with him over 25 years of private sector management experience and has implemented initiatives related to both human resources and facilities at a number of companies, including Herman Miller, Denso, Magna and Alcoa. Tom also has a deep knowledge of public education and has served in high-level leadership positions at Portage Public Schools and Kalamazoo RESA for ten years.
The CTE Leadership Team consists of about 15 of our leaders and staff who have substantial knowledge and experience in CTE, curriculum and instructional design, school culture, work-based learning, special education, STEAM Education, school finance and technology. I have great confidence in our leadership team’s commitment to a fundamental redesign of CTE, and its ability to bring the project to fruition while continuing to provide the best possible services to students in our current decentralized model of CTE, known as Education for Employment (EFE).
Current Areas of Focus
Developing a Career Readiness and Exploration Program: The step in our redesign of the current CTE system will be our Career Readiness and Exploration program—also known as Career Awareness and Exploration—for elementary and middle school students. This program introduces them to the many career options they can aspire to, and progressively narrows each student’s focus to a career pathway suited specifically to them.
Jason Luke helped lead the initial design work last winter; we have re-aligned some of his job responsibilities to provide him the time and capacity to help lead the process of refining and implementing our plans for Career Readiness and Exploration. Working alongside will be Eric Stewart, our Director of Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU), and Lisa Meredith, our Director of Instructional Services. We are in the process of assembling teams of business, community and local school district representatives that will help refine the design and give us substantial input.
Assembling a CTE Steering Committee: We will be forming a CTE Steering Committee, which will consist of business, education and community leaders who will review and inform key decisions, such as determining which programs we will be offering at a centrally located Career and Technical Education Center, which will host the majority of CTE courses.
Building Public-Private Partnerships: We are also continuing our work with Southwest Michigan First on developing public-private partnerships to assist with capital needs, including the establishment of the centralized Career and Technical Education Center.
Designing a Communications Plan: We are developing a plan to keep educators, business and community leaders, as well as our community at large, updated and informed on our progress over the next few years. One of the ways we will do this is through periodic updates like this, which we ask you to share with others. We will also post these updates on our CTE website, which can be found at kresacte.org.
We are so grateful for this dedicated funding source for Career and Technical Education in the Kalamazoo RESA service area. We are wholly committed to fulfilling our commitment to our students, families, community, taxpayers and educators who are making this substantial improvement of our educational system possible.
I hope you have a peaceful holiday season.
— Dave Campbell