In February of 2021, a group of Lytle leaders embarked on a four-hour road trip to West Texas, destination: Roscoe Collegiate Independent School District. This fact-finding mission allowed the group to see for themselves what it means to be a Collegiate Edu-Nation school. The superintendent, assistant superintendent, campus principals and the director of Career and Technical Education were all very impressed by what they found. According to superintendent Michelle Carroll Smith, “Roscoe students were not just going to class, they were reporting for work in classrooms that resembled businesses. We saw a print shop, a digital design production facility, agriculture and welding shop, a drone pilot program, a veterinary hospital, and more. These students were also pursuing industry certifications that will translate to better paychecks after high school.”
The Collegiate Edu-Nation is a non-profit organization that partners with rural schools and communities to help them grow in four key areas:
College and Career Focus – for ALL students, through school transformation processes.
Educational Attainment – systems and support for degree attainment and industry certifications.
Transformative Educator Development – embedded, innovative, and ongoing professional development.
Exemplary Stewardship – ethical and responsible organizational management practices.
In August 2021, leaders from the CEN organization officially launched Lytle ISD’s induction into the CEN network with a day of professional development for the entire group of teachers and leaders from all Lytle campuses. The training was focused on CEN’s P20 handbook, which maps out the logistics of educating a child from PreK through 4 years of college and into each young adult’s career launch. So instead of the traditional 12-year approach to school, this is a look at a student’s education journey as a 20-year approach.
Lytle Agriculture and Welding teacher Raul Flores reflected on the high points of the training, “The P20 Handbook provides many resources and tools that I know will be useful. My experiences with students are already very hands-on. The project work our students take on is already very business-like. I can see how our approaches already align with the P20 handbook, and there are new ideas and a structure that can help us expand our program in positive ways.”
CEN is helping small towns have a big impact.
Dr. Kim Alexander, CEO of Collegiate Edu-Nation says “We start with schools, but we don’t stop there. CEN engages whole communities to reinvigorate education, revitalize local economies, and reimagine what’s possible for rural America. We’re preparing rural communities like Lytle to connect and thrive in a fast-moving future.
Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Dustin Breithaupt sums up what the CEN alignment means for students and families, “Every student now can choose to graduate from Lytle High School with valuable certifications and an associate degree from college at no cost. Zero college debt, better earning power with certifications, AND a degree – that’s huge.”
Info Graphic Caption: Lytle already has several programs of study that will be supported by our CEN membership. Dual College Credit programs such as Culinary, Plumbing, Computer Numeric Coding (CNC), Cybersecurity, and Welding will offer students the ability to obtain an associate’s degree with Industry-Based Certification(s). CEN assists teachers in obtaining the credentials to teach at the college level while partnering with 2-year and 4-year institutions. Each program of study prepares students to be college and career ready while earning their high school diploma. Students follow unique schedules to reach their fullest potential in completing their program of study. Currently, students are able to obtain their Industry-Based Certifications for OSHA-30, Plumber Helpers and CNC. Beginning this school year, students will be able receive a certification in Microsoft Word and Excel, ServSafe-Food Handler, and Welding. In the future, we will be adding Culinary Arts Level 1 and 2 Certificates, CompTIA Security, CompTIA Linux, Cyber First Responders, Level 1 Information Technology Cybersecurity Specialist, and a Level 1 Welding Technologist, and Adobe certifications.