District receives state grant to expand STEM and construction learning
Posted on 11/30/2017

The McMinnville School District has been awarded more than $280,000 to launch a sixth- through ninth-grade component to its Career Pathway programs in construction, fabrication and engineering. The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) CTE Revitalization grant will fund school-day coursework and expanded learning opportunities after school, on Saturdays and during the summer.

“We believe that giving students access to high-quality, relevant and occupation-directed training will improve academic performance, attendance and engagement,” said Dr. Maryalice Russell, superintendent of the McMinnville School District.

“These funds will also allow us to develop a more diverse pipeline of students prepared to enter the construction trades, which are high-wage, high-demand jobs here in the Mid-Valley,” she said.

The grant will fund programs for middle school and freshmen students to engage in experiential learning focused on the construction trades: electrical, plumbing/mechanical, design and engineering, HVAC, metalwork and fabrication, and carpentry. In addition to hands-on learning, students will explore societal issues related to affordable housing, sustainable building, green energy, city planning, homelessness, gentrification and more.

The funded program will include a STEM course for sixth graders to learn drafting/technical sketching, modeling, and engineering design, among other skills. The course is designed to help students gain competence and encourage them to continue the high school Career Pathway learning in the construction trades.

Additionally, sixth- through ninth-grade students will have the opportunity to participate in seminars held after school, on Saturdays and during the summer. The seminars will focus on specific specialties (e.g., electrical, plumbing, carpentry) within the construction trades. The expanded learning opportunities will be conducted at the newly constructed Career Technical Center on the McMinnville High School campus and at community- and industry-based sites.

The program will also leverage local and regional industry partnerships to ensure that coursework and expanded learning opportunities reflect industry standards. Partners will provide guest speakers and instructors, job site visitation opportunities, curriculum support, skills demonstrations, technical expertise, and some partners will serve on the project advisory council. The partnerships will also allow students to develop relationships and connections with local and regional employers in the construction trades industry.