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How FWPS Students Are Getting Ahead with CTE Courses

FWPS middle and high school students are enrolling in CTE courses to engage in career-connected learning and earn dual credits.

Federal Way Public Schools offers a range of Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses to middle and high school students, and they’re taking advantage of these options by gaining relevant skills, college credits, and industry-recognized credentials to be competitive candidates as they enter college and careers.

It’s no secret that entering college and careers following graduation is no easy feat. It’s important that students explore career options in high school to develop a strong career focus and reduce the chances of changing gears once enrolled in a financially binding post-secondary institution. 

FWPS middle and high school scholars are getting career-ready now by enrolling in and completing multiple CTE courses before graduation. This tactical learning allows students to narrow their career interests through practical, real-life applications in a classroom setting. Furthermore, many CTE courses offer dual credit and industry-recognized credentials. Students see this as an advantage and a step toward lessening the financial burden of college and other post-secondary programs. 

There are six CTE Programs of Study: 

  • Agriculture Education 
  • Business and Marketing 
  • Family and Consumer Sciences 
  • Health Sciences 
  • Skilled and Technical Sciences 
  • STEM 

Within each Program of Study are career clusters, or career focus areas, for scholars to combine courses towards a career goal. We are also seeing scholars pursue non-traditional careers by gender through the courses within the programs, such as AP Computer Science Principles, Urban Agriculture, Woodworking, and Child Development. 

Kaleb, a senior taking the Principals of Biomedical Science course at Todd Beamer High School, wants to go into the medical field as a physician surgeon or lab assistant in the future. With that career goal in mind, he is in his fourth year of the biomedical program. 

“We just finished a three-week lab where we tested for a genetic sequence on our own DNA through cell extraction and breaking down the cells, amplifying the DNA and testing that DNA in gel electrophoresis, and then being able to come out with the different strands and physically see the genetic sequence,” Kaleb shared. “I’m pretty happy with the class – it's all wrapped around stuff that I want to do.” 

Currently, 5,688 FWPS students are enrolled in 9,958 CTE courses. Of those, 4,466 are dual-credit course enrollments in which high school students can earn college credit through an articulation agreement with a local college or an industry-recognized credential in the trades. Federal Way Public Schools continues to expand its CTE course offerings to fulfill the interests of scholars, which has caused a surge in course enrollment. In the 2023-24 school year, Engineering Essentials was added, while Physics of Medical Interventions was expanded to TAF@Saghalie, and Intro to Robotics was expanded to Sacajawea Middle School. This brings the total unique CTE course offerings to 79. There are also plans to add more in the coming year. 

"We aim to offer various career-connected learning opportunities in CTE courses where scholars can learn and explore different careers. To do this, we are constantly assessing our current offerings and seeking scholar input to learn more about what they’re interested in and how we can best support their career goals through our CTE Programs.” shared Dr. Eric Hong, FWPS Executive Director of College and Career Readiness. “The more career exploration opportunities we provide scholars, the more prepared they will be for life after high school.” 

CTE courses have proven to be a gateway to college and career and are an important part of FWPS scholars becoming career-ready. Learn more about CTE opportunities in FWPS at www.fwps.org/CTE.