When you meet someone who is a master at business, someone who can whip up a delicious meal, or someone who can solve all of your electrical or plumbing problems, you might think they are gifted in their craft. When people think of gifted students, they often only think of students who are academically advanced. In GCPS, where the focus is helping every student reach their potential, gifted career and technical students will now be recognized and provided extra opportunities to develop their career skills.
GCPS recently opened teacher referrals for a Career and Technical Aptitude (CTA) program to identify students who exhibit or show potential to exhibit high skill levels in the division’s Career and Technical Education programs. “I cannot express how exciting it was to submit the paperwork for one of my Marketing Education students, who is also very active in our school's FFA program,” Erin Yearout-Patton, a teacher at Goochland High School, said. “This student organically sees the connection between the Marketing Education course and the outstanding work of our FFA program. It is powerful to see our students making these connections and applying their knowledge and skillset to both.”
The GCPS CTA program is open to students in grades seven through 12, with assessments and referrals starting as early as sixth grade. Beginning in sixth grade, students in GCPS have opportunities to explore different CTE courses through the STEAM Wheel. In this year-long class, students take four courses, one each marking period. Students who show potential can then be considered for the new CTA program.
A student accepted into the CTA program will be provided enrichment activities and greater access to state academies. The Hanover Regional Governor's School for Career and Technical Advancement (HRGS-CTA) is one example of a program that would be more available to a CTA participant. Easton Bowman, a student at GHS, attended HRGS-CTA in the summer of 2020. “To be one of four students from Goochland ever to be selected for Hanover Regional Governor's School is a blessing in many ways,” Bowman said. “Before this experience, I had never had the opportunity to interact with students with similar goals from all over the state. Throughout the two weeks, my group designed a business called Eco-Scapes. Our mission is to provide urban, residential, and business areas with a greener, more eco-friendly experience by implementing personalized green spaces for consumers to detox and gather in a healthy manner.
“This was an amazing experience that I highly recommend to any student that wants to grow their knowledge in CTE and learn how to work with students of different backgrounds,” Bowman said.
“We have amazing students who excel in academics, visual and performing arts, and CTE,” Beth Fowler, Ed.D., Coordinator of Advanced Programs and Equity, said. “All deserve to be celebrated and to hone their abilities, and we are proud to offer fertile soil for students identified as gifted in each area to grow to their full potential.”