PLYMOUTH HIGH SCHOOL
When Walter Taylor started teaching agriculture at Plymouth High School in Wisconsin, he used VHS tapes to demonstrate real-world skills and scenarios to his students. Since then, the school has seen a major shift in the resources and infrastructure needed to meet the demands of today’s 21st-century industries. With support from the community, the school has updated many key components of its Career and Technical Education (CTE) program to help students thrive in their chosen career path.
“This is truly a lifestyle choice – a choice our school is proud to support by offering career training classes as well as opportunities for community engagement,” Taylor said. “Through a collaborative effort by teams of educators, community volunteers and industry partners, we strive to develop a strong curriculum and use the most relevant materials for our students.”
In an effort to reinvigorate its courses, Plymouth High School upgraded its culinary rooms and automotive shop, added a Science and Technology Center, and added a Food Science and Agriculture Center. The school also implemented iCEV, an online learning platform that delivers comprehensive CTE resources to students and educators. As an educator and the school’s FFA Advisor, Taylor uses the platform’s many digital resources, including video modules, hands-on instruction and practice schedules for in-class instruction and FFA competitions.
While educators play a key role in preparing students for college and careers, Taylor stresses that opportunities outside the classroom are equally important. Community partnerships and industry-backed certifications offer students additional experience needed to succeed in the evolving global workforce.
“You will find students and local business working together from the early morning until late in the evening, striving to ensure that all learners meet their aspirations,” Taylor said. “Through community collaborations, we’re eager to try new methods of education in the ever-changing educational landscape.”
Industry certifications address many new requirements for students entering postsecondary education programs or a career. Employers and industry partners seek highly qualified candidates entering the field and support the high level of training students seek when looking for opportunities within CTE.
“Local and regional industry partners are assisting more and more, which is extremely humbling for the school and educators, both monetarily and professionally,” Taylor said. “We’ve been able to upgrade our facilities and programs through generous contributions from students, faculty and our community, which demonstrates the level of support that people and business have in future generations.”
As Taylor continues to incorporate resources from iCEV into his lessons, he has noticed a shift in how students want to learn and access materials from their courses. As technology advances, students are looking for more visual learning opportunities through videos and interactive assessments so they learn and understand the materials before the next lesson or work experience.
“I see all types of students in today’s classroom, and I feel that I can more easily facilitate learning for their varied interests and learning styles,” Taylor said. “I always try to build activities that include multiple ways of presenting the knowledge for a learning target, and ultimately matching state and national standards through the end results.”
More CTE programs are adopting a flipped learning environment, allowing students to learn in their own way and explore interests within their chosen field. As the workforce evolves, it has become even more important to ensure students are receiving relevant information that addresses challenges they will face after high school. An online learning platform, like iCEV, encourages students to use its many resources to learn and grow in an ever-changing environment.
“We do not buy into curriculum, rather we as educators develop our own. With my philosophy of utilizing various methods for students understanding, iCEV aids my curriculum design and teaching methods,” Taylor said. “Education is not a secret and curriculum is never set in stone, allowing students to learn about new developments within the workforce.”