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We would like to thank to the Winona County Workforce Development Board for its dedication to supporting our local businesses and industry.

As a school district, we are thankful for all of our local business partners that provide jobs for our students and parents in our community.

The Lewiston-Altura Systems Accountability committee came to the decision to combine three separate graduation requirements for a .5 credit in each agriculture education, business education and industrial technology, into a 1.5 requirement in two of the three areas. The committee is made up of administrators, business representatives, higher education representatives, parents and teachers. Each voice was heard from and the decision was made based upon experiences, discussion and information provided.

Lewiston-Altura High School students in seventh and eighth grades explore career and technical education fields as well as other electives.

For the current school year, students in seventh and eighth grade have career and technical education opportunities across all three areas mentioned above each year, which has not happened in the past. This expansion is something that we are proud of as a district as we strive to prepare all students for college and career readiness.

In determining graduation requirements, the state of Minnesota defines areas that are required and compulsory, of which career and technical education are not currently required.

However, because of our belief in the importance of career and technical education, that is why we have expanded our exploratory offerings in the seventh and eighth grades.

Additionally, a review of area career and technical education requirements will show that Lewiston-Altura will still have the most rigorous career and technical education requirements in the area and is the only school requiring two or more areas:

Winona – 1 credit requirement

Stewartville – No requirement

Rochester — No requirement

St. Charles — .5 computer requirement

Rushford — .5 computer requirement

Also, the school district is exploring additional career and technical education opportunities for students.

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As the Winona County Workforce Development Board points out, many communities are looking for business partnerships and working to develop programs such as REACH and Career Academies.

Lewiston-Altura High School recently learned that we are recipients of a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities grant to expand the Winona REACH program to Wabasha-Kellogg High School and Lewiston-Altura High School.

We will be working with the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota State College Southeast, the Lewiston Chamber of Commerce and numerous area businesses to expand our manufacturing course options for students and hope to continue to other areas in the future.

Beginning in 2016, the Minnesota Department of Education began a process to disseminate college and career readiness information.

The information provided to school districts breaks career readiness down into six career fields with 16 career clusters with 81 career pathways. Beginning no later than ninth grade, students are to create a career plan with support of school staff that will help them identify a path to their career.

The engineering, manufacturing and technology field along with the four clusters and 19 pathways is important for students to be exposed to. However, it is not the correct career path for all of the students at Lewiston-Altura High School.

The decision to combine three separate high school graduation requirements into two requirements with the same number of credits was made based upon the desires of members of the committee. The decision will allow students who are not focused on a career in industrial tech, business or agriculture to potentially take an additional .5 to 1 credit of the required 30 graduation credits to focus on their chosen career pathway.

Some students will maintain three courses in the career and technical education field based upon course design and credit breakdown by course. This decision will neither limit any student’s ability to explore this career area nor will it decrease the number of courses offered to students interested in this pathway.

Along with the increased exposure in seventh and eighth grade, we are confident that our students will be ready for a career of their choice in the field, cluster and pathway of their choice.

We look forward to our continued and expanded work with the community members of Lewiston and Altura along with our business and community partners.

We are continually evaluating courses and programming to make sure that we are offering the most relevant education to the students that we serve.

Cory Hanson and

Jennifer L. Backer-Johnson

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Dr. Cory Hanson is principal of Lewiston-Altura High School. Jennifer L. Backer-Johnson is superintendent of the Lewiston-Altura School District.

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