International CTE Innovation

JAYME BECKHAM_214Platt Tech and Abbott Tech meet Vigo, Spain and Guangdong, China

The Connecticut Technical High School system prides itself on innovation, diversity, and broadening its cultural and technical horizons. We understand at the building and district levels that CTE is a global market, and we can all learn from one another. For this reason, we continuously seek out and take advantage of opportunities to network and partner with our international counterparts so we can not only learn what others are doing in the CTE fields, but also to showcase what we do here in Connecticut. One of our district’s tenets is that we want to be “The Best Career Technical Education System in the Country,” and we understand that reaching that goal depends on how much we learn from others globally, and how we utilize that knowledge to help us grow. In this article, I will highlight two experiences, of which I had the privilege of being a part, where the CT Technical High School System collaborated internationally.

In April of 2016, Platt Technical High School located in Milford, CT, had the unique and eye opening opportunity to host a visit from three women who were CTE instructors from the IES Politecnico in Vigo, Spain. Ms. Maria Theresa, Ms. Maria Jones, and Ms. Antonia Garcia were able to meet with Platt Tech’s administrative team, as well as many students and teachers as they toured the school and observed our trade technologies and students at work. Vigo is an industrial town near the northeastern coast of Spain. There are approximately 300,000 people who live in the city. Vigo’s vocational school system, including IES Politecnico, is renowned, offering programs that allow students to enter the workforce, attend university, or continue to pursue their CTE field after graduation. The instructors from Spain came to CTHSS to learn about our school and programs, and see CTE in action by watching our students build, create, and innovate. In turn, Platt Tech was able to gain insight into what CTE programs look like in Vigo, Spain. It was a mutually beneficial and enlightening experience.

The second opportunity of which I was a part came in the fall of 2016 at Henry Abbott Technical High School in Danbury, CT. Scholars from Guangdong, which is a coastal province of southeast China bordering Hong Kong and Macau, came to Abbott Tech to tour our school and speak with our instructors and students about what CTE looks like in Connecticut. The Guangdong scholars were treated to a delicious lunch in Henry Abbott Tech’s “Thyme Café,” and then were given a tour of our building and CTE facilities where they met with students and faculty to gain knowledge about what we do here. Many of Abbott’s students made gifts for the Guangdong visitors and showcased the projects they were working on in their career technologies. The Guangdong scholars were very complimentary of the work we are doing at Abbott Tech, and the overall mission of CTE in the Connecticut Technical High School System. Through a translator, Guangdong students were able to share some of what they do in CTE with our teachers and students; the reciprocal collaboration was inspiring.

In each instance, CT Technical High School students and faculty were exposed to CTE internationally, and were able to see that Technical Education is of global prestige and importance. We were able to share ideas and practices with the instructors from Spain and scholars from Guangdong, and in turn they shared with us valuable resources and information regarding how CTE plays an important role in their countries and cultures. By ensuring we have access to global applications of CTE, and collaborate internationally, we can continue to provide a holistic and rich CTE experience for our students and teachers.


Submitted by: Jayme Beckham, Assistant Principal at Henry Abbott Technical High School in Danbury, CT