Friday, October 31, 2014

Career readiness earns Combs kudos

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 8/15/2014

POMONA — Merrita Combs is teaching students skills to help them begin a career, rather than just get into college, she said.

“We found out that not everybody’s able to be ready for college, nor do we need everyone going to college,” Combs said. “[I’m] getting them ready for the job market right away.”

POMONA — Merrita Combs is teaching students skills to help them begin a career, rather than just get into college, she said.

“We found out that not everybody’s able to be ready for college, nor do we need everyone going to college,” Combs said. “[I’m] getting them ready for the job market right away.”

Combs, a family and consumer science teacher at West Franklin High School, was awarded this summer the Teacher of the Year Award for the Kansas Association of Teachers of Consumer Science affiliation from the Kansas Association for Career and Technical Education. The award promotes excellence in career and technical education, the group said in a news release. Combs was chosen for making extraordinary contributions to career and technical eduction, programs that exemplify the highest standards, and organizations that have conducted activities to promote and expand career and technical education programs, the release said.

Career and technical education focuses on teaching students career-ready skills that will help them find a job immediately, Combs said. Education standards put much of their focus on helping students become college-ready, but Combs said not all students can or need to go to college, but do need to find technical skills to help them begin their careers. The skills she has focused on in recent years are culinary arts, while there are many other pathways in the program, including agriculture and industrial arts, she said. Her two pathways are human services and restaurant and event management, she said.

“I’ve really had good enrollment for [culinary arts],” Combs said. “With the culinary arts, its more skill, knife skill work and getting them ready for industry, where the industrial arts would be getting them ready for a welding program, job or career.”

Combs, who has been teaching at West Franklin for 40 years, said she has worked with several students who have gone on to work in the fields related to her coursework. Although she said she doesn’t know how many students she teaches per year or semester because each year changes, she said she taught 85 students in one semester during the 2013-14 school year.

Although the skills Combs teaches aim to help students find careers immediately, she said her own children still used the same skills they learned while students, even though they went to college after high school, she said.

“My own sons were very strong in 4-H and took the technical routes,” Combs said. “They’re all college graduates, but all of them have used remodeling in their own homes or built their homes. So everyone can use those skills.”

comments powered by Disqus