The Paths of Our Graduates After District 117

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In previous editions of Connections I have shared how proud we are of our new D117 Portrait of a Graduate that provides six competencies that we want to develop in all of our graduates. One of those competencies is “thinks critically”, and a large part of our mission is to help our students think critically about their path after they leave our high schools. 

A big piece of this is for students to think about possible career paths. I am proud to share that our district has developed a Career and Technical Education (CTE) curriculum that provides a diverse range of pathways including early childhood education, culinary arts, computer science, business, finance, manufacturing, technology and trades.

These pathways are carefully designed to allow students to immerse themselves deeply in exploring these skills. Our courses are not just theoretical; they include team-based challenges that mirror real-life situations in each industry. Such an approach ensures that our students can apply classroom knowledge to solve practical problems, giving them an edge in the real world.

We recognize the foundational importance of traditional academic disciplines — English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies — in any career path. Our goal is to weave these disciplines into our CTE program, ensuring that our graduates are as prepared to enter college as they are to step into a career. Whether our students choose to pursue a traditional four-year degree, an accelerated two-year program, or a trade school, they will have the skills needed to succeed.

We continue to invest in our CTE pathways to ensure they stay relevant. This winter, we are proud to announce the enrollment opening for our newest pathway in computer science, focusing on coding with the Python programming language. This course is not just an introduction to coding; it is a comprehensive four-year journey that prepares students to enter the job market as qualified software developers, with potential starting salaries between $80,000 and $90,000 per year, without the need for college.

We want to fulfill our goal to have all of our graduates think critically about their future. We believe that by offering such a wide array of pathways and learning opportunities, we are not just educating students but are shaping the leaders and innovators of tomorrow. 

Jeff Feucht, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Community High School District 117