FAQ for Parents 

Career and Technical Education

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How will participating in a CTE program help my son or daughter?

Many students leave traditional high school programs with little insight into the demands of the workplace or postsecondary study. CTE programs prepare all students to succeed in college, careers and life by combining rigorous academics with real-world career exploration, skills and experience. When they connect what they learn in the classroom with actual careers, students are more excited about learning and are better able to make decisions about what to do after high school.

Isn’t eighth or ninth grade a little early to be choosing a career path?

It is never too early for students to start thinking about what they want to do after high school. Students who do not graduate with a clear plan and a solid academic foundation are more likely to waste valuable time and tuition dollars trying out different career paths and college majors. DCPS CTE programs prepare students to make smart, cost-effective decisions about their future. You should not think of CTE as choosing a career but as exploring options and taking advantage of opportunities.

Does the cluster system limit my child’s opportunities by focusing him or her on a specific career sector?

While the cluster system allows a student to create a personalized class schedule matching his or her abilities and goals, it also builds the academic foundation needed for any postsecondary option. CTE students develop the skills and traits that college admissions officers and employers value, including time management, organization, attention to detail and personal responsibility.

Why does a student have to create an Individual Graduation Portfolio (IGP)?

The IGP empowers students to take responsibility for their own education and career planning. By keeping an IGP throughout high school, students can document their accomplishments and take advantage of planning tools. The IGP, which every DCPS student in grades 6-12 has at no cost, includes sections for parents and allows students and parents to use it together.

I understand the need for postsecondary education, yet I am not sure I will be able to afford sending my child to college. Can participating in a CTE program help students earn college scholarships or otherwise make college more affordable?

Yes. The rigorous and relevant foundation of knowledge and skills built by CTE programs makes graduates competitive candidates for scholarships and other financial aid programs. Students can register online at FastWeb, a free college scholarship search source listing more than $3.4 billion in financial aid funds. In addition, CTE sequenced career cluster programs position students to earn industry certificates and technical competencies, which can help students get part-time or summer jobs to pay for college. Students can also earn college credit during high school by taking dual-credit courses and Advanced Placement (AP) exams.

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