Why Career and Technical Education Is Essential for Eighth Graders

February is CTE Month! In order to celebrate career and technical education, we’re going to look at the ways you can build your students’ awareness of CTE courses and the opportunities CTE can provide as they transition from middle to high school. 

Going from eighth grade to high school is a big change for students. They get to dive deeper into course material (and potential careers!) they care about, they have more responsibility, and they’re experiencing a new and fresh environment.

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Helping middle school students explore and understand CTE course pathways is one way to get them excited for the high school journey and the many postsecondary options that await them.

With the help of Christi Barrera and Brandi Williams, leader fellows and CTE counselors at San Felipe Del Rio CISD and Calhoun County ISD, respectively, we’ve created a timeline for educators and their campuses so that neither you nor your eighth graders miss a single CTE exploration opportunity.

By the end of December


  • College and career readiness class begins

  • CTE (career and technical education) coordinator trains all secondary counselors on CTE pathways and updates

  • Early College High School promotions and applications begin


  • Ninth-grade counselors present to all eighth graders through science classes and create a four-year plan on paper (many thanks to Brandi Williams for sharing this PowerPoint)

  • Ninth-grade counselors hold parent meetings in the evenings

  • CTE counselor gives presentations to eighth graders through the college and career readiness class

  • Get students interested in an event such as CTE Do-It-Yourself Day (this one is from San Felipe Del Rio CISD)

  • Early College High School lottery


Looking for more free tools and resources to make the middle to high school transition as easy as possible? Our MapMyGrad tool can help your students understand endorsements and draft a graduation plan for their core academic courses. We just created a new MapMyGrad toolkit, available for a limited time. Download this free toolkit now!

Topics: Educators, Curriculum Resources