A Rio Rancho Public Schools board member is spearheading a push for expanded career technical education across the district.
Ryan Parra recently introduced a motion to create a committee that will form this summer and consider CTE options. Parra’s proposal passed unanimously.
“I really feel like bringing these programs back into the schools is important,” he told the board. “We put so much emphasis on two-year and four-year (degrees), which is important, but I feel like we are leaving a portion of the student body out.”
Parra referenced a recent Central New Mexico Community College event that highlighted the value of career technical education.
The SkillsUSA Leadership & Skills Conference brought more than 500 CTE students to the campus for competitions in areas like automotive technology, carpentry, masonry, welding and cabinetmaking.
A number of prospective employers attended and scouted students for well-paid jobs.
Board president Ramon Montaño said CTE programs are important for many families, and he would like to see them expand in Rio Rancho.
“We can see how we can bridge that gap with the community college,” he added. “Let’s get more of these classes on the West Side. How that will happen, I don’t know.”
The district will ask CNM staff to join the committee, along with local business leaders, high school administrators and board members. Administrators are still discussing the committee’s format and schedule.
“It’s preliminary right now,” said Carl Leppelman, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction. “The goal is we want to lead to students with more credentials or two-year certifications.”
District spokeswoman Beth Pendergrass thanked the board for supporting the committee. RRPS made CTE a priority in its 2016-21 strategic plan, Pendergrass said.