Calgary Board of Education

Career and Technology Centre Students Lift Off

It’s about the size of a bathtub and very loud, but for the seven students enrolled in the pre-engineering program at the Calgary Board of Education's new Career and Technology Centre, their hovercraft is the end-product of a semester's worth of work.

Initially nicknamed by the students as “The Winged Monster,” the hovercraft is made up of many household materials including a fan, a leaf blower, plumbing tubing and duct tape.

Student Andrew Toms says he and his fellow students decided to keep their design simple. Part of the criteria for the final project was to make it as inexpensive as possible, using the simplest of resources.

Fellow student Chris Hong says the sense of accomplishment shared among the group is strong. “It was amazing to have finally finished it. It was never required to ‘fly’, but the fact that it does, makes this so much more rewarding.”

The Career and Technology Centre combines hands-on learning with personalized education, where classroom theory can be implemented into projects selected by the students. Kristen Byrnes has worked in industry as an engineer and now teaches the pre-engineering students at the Centre. “Everyone has their own job and a lot of independent learning takes place.” She adds that there is also a great amount of peer collaboration, which is continuously monitored by the teachers at the centre. “It’s a great introduction to career exploration and they get a jump on their careers by learning on the latest equipment through industry-credentialed professionals.”

Kristen Byrnes (third from right, Pre-Engineering Teacher and Merla Bolendar, System Principal, Career and Technology Strategy (second from right) join with pre-engineering students to test out “The Winged Monster”.In addition to the Pre-Engineering program, the Career and Technology Centre offers programs in Welding, Autobody, Hairstyling and Esthetics.

When asked about the centre's strategy for the coming year, Merla Bolender, System Principal, Career and Technology Strategy commented that the Centre would be expanding the number of programs offered. The full opening of the Career and Technology Centre is slated for September 2012. By that time, the centre will offer more than fifteen programs in the areas of Health, Recreation & Human Services; Natural Resources; Business Administration, Finance & Information Technology; Media, Design & Communication Arts; and Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation.

“The programs offered at the Centre are part of a larger K-12 strategy at the CBE focused on career and technology education. The credentials and specialized pathways offered at the Centre give students the chance to personalize their learning experience by building on and extending the programs they have taken at their home high schools. It's all about inspiring students to find their passion and giving them the opportunity to jump start their future today,” says Bolender.

Calgary Board of Education, Calgary’s public school system.
“Educating Tomorrow’s Citizens Today”