2018 Sept 26: Rockdale ISD Career and Technical Education: Driven by Purpose

As we wind down the 1st Six Weeks of our school year, RISD is very proud of our students, and their willingness to get on board and stay on track for another successful year on each campus. This week Mrs. Britina Pesak, RISD Career and Technical Education (CTE) Director, has information regarding future career planning for students at Rockdale High School, and how CTE classes can impact student success.

Every generation wants better for the next generation, and our sincere hope is that they outperform us all. What we often hear is that these younger generations simply don’t want to, but nothing could be further from the truth. So what does it take to unleash the passion, purpose, and performance for these upcoming world changers? Explaining why.

Mark C. Perna, author of Answering Why, has dubbed the Millenials (born 1981-1994) and Generation Z (born 1995-2010) the “Why Generation.” Students today often do not have a solid idea of what they want to do with their lives. They don’t have a “want-to.” But students don’t know what they don’t know because we haven’t shown them what’s possible. When we show them what is possible and youth develop their “want-to” they become driven by purpose (Perna, 2018.)

To help develop this purpose, Rockdale ISD narrows the awareness gap by conducting career interest surveys and career awareness events throughout junior high and high school. Teachers, counselors, principals, and the CTE director work with the student and parents on personal graduation plans that are based on these surveys and events. These adults help students “backwards design” their high school plans by determining careers they are interested in, the post-secondary education needed for that career, and the high school courses and programs of study that will prepare them for that future.

To help unleash that passion and answer the many why questions for students, it takes a special teacher. This week, we take a special look at Rockdale High School’s Graphic Design program with new teacher Mr, Gimel Peterman who has industry experience and is filled with enthusiasm for both the subject and teaching students. I observed a group of students in the advanced graphic design course to get an idea of how they felt about the experience. When I entered the room, a picture of celebrity Ryan Gosling was on the projector screen with vertical and horizontal guidelines strategically placed, and students were all sketching in their own books with pencils. Not your typical class, and not necessarily what I expected in a graphic design class.

What I found out after speaking to several of the students was that the point of sketching, even if the student didn’t consider themselves to be an “artist” was that they needed to understand the shapes and layout of design. Students felt these sketches helped get their creativity going and sharpen their skills. They appreciate that Mr. Peterman specializes in graphic design and has industry experience. Many of the students mentioned how much they can tell that he really enjoys what he does and that he is very open-minded.

Rockdale Graphic Design will be working toward certifying students in Adobe products to prepare students for College and Career. Whether a student is going to four years of college, or directly to the workforce, the employability skills and technical skills taught in the CTE classroom, like Graphic Design, are useful in the present and long term. It is programs of study like these where students can find their passion and be driven by purpose!

Please contact me, Britina Pesak, Director of CTE (Career and Technical Education) at bpesak@rockdaleisd.net or 512-430-6027 if you would like to find out more about any of our CTE programs!