CTE Teacher and High School Counselor Partnerships with Khristen Massic [Episode 64]


Here's What to Expect In This Episode:

If you’ve been a listener of this podcast for a while, then you know how much I encourage you to build and nurture relationships with staff members in your school building. Today we’re going to be looking at a relationship that I absolutely do not want you to miss out on, and that is one with your CTE (career and technical education) teachers.

CTE teachers are truly an untapped resource in our schools, and there are so many ways that you can work together to better serve your students. That’s why Khristen Massic is joining me for a conversation where she shares her experience in this particular space. 

Khristen offers a perspective that we likely don’t see as high school counselors and stresses the importance of thoughtful communication between a CTE teacher and school counselor. We talk about practical ideas for nurturing this partnership, the unique strengths that each role brings to the table, opportunities for collaborating on career exploration with our students, and so much more.

By the end of the episode I know that you’ll see how crucial the CTE teacher and counselor relationship is. With the chaos of the day-to-day, it can feel easier to each stay in our own lanes, but when we partner together, we can make a greater impact on our students and even lighten our own load. 

If you partner with CTE teachers in a unique way, send me a DM on Instagram and tell me about it!

Topics Covered in This Episode:

  • Some things that high school counselors should avoid when it comes to working with CTE teachers
  • How school counselors can nurture their relationships with CTE teachers
  • A simple way that you can better understand what goes on in CTE classes, so that you can make the best recommendations for your students
  • Advice for school counselors on making schedule changes more effective and seamless for students and teachers
  • How CTE classes can fuel student passions, spark curiosity, and teach new skills
  • Ways that counselors can help CTE teachers market their classes throughout the year
  • Ideas for how school counselors and teachers can educate each other on their roles and responsibilities 
  • What it could look like for a counselor to partner with a CTE teacher during classroom instruction 
  • How important it is to clearly communicate to teachers what your timeline is when it comes to course request

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Meet Our Guest:

Meet Khristen Massic, a district-level curriculum specialist for early college programs (AP and dual enrollment), a former middle school assistant principal, and a former high school engineering teacher of 10 years turned CTE coach and content creator supporting teachers with multiple preps.

She helps career and technical educators improve their teaching practices with principles from education and industry so that they can stay in the classroom and impact our future workforce. She is the host of her own podcast called The Secondary Teacher Podcast.

Connect with Khristen:​

Read the transcript for this episode:

In this week’s episode, we’re going to be discussing a relationship in the school building that I do not want you to sleep on. I’ve had very successful relationships with this group of teachers and I wanted to bring on a guest who has a lot of experience in her particular space.

Meet Khristen Massic, a district level curriculum specialist for early college programs, AP and dual enrollment. A former middle school assistant principal and a former high school engineering teacher of 10 years turn CTE coach and content creator supporting teachers with multiple preps.

She helps Career and Technical educators improve their teaching practices with principles from education and industry so that they can stay in the classroom and impact our future workforce. She’s the host of her own podcast called the Secondary Teacher Podcast.

Khristen and I talked about how vital the CTE and counselor relationship is and the high school building. Mainly about how critical it is and why we think that and then some practical ideas for nurturing the relationship and leaning on the unique strength that CTE teachers and high school counselors each bring to the table. Let’s get to the show.

High School Counseling Conversations is a podcast where we talk about exactly that. A casual potpourri of school counseling topics intended to grow us as school counselors, but also give us space to enjoy each other’s company.

I’m Lauren from Counselor Clique and I’m sharing my experiences and perspectives as a high school counselor. No topic is off limits. And I’m certain we’ll cover it all. I’m your high school counseling hype girl here to help you energize your school counseling program and remind you of how much you love your job. Whether you’re just getting your feet wet as an intern, or you’re nearing retirement, you’ll feel like you’re just popping in to catch up with your school counseling bestie. Let’s go.

Hey, Khristen, thanks for being on the High School Counseling Conversations Podcast. I’m super excited at the perspective that you’re gonna bring today. I am so excited to be here. You have a unique journey in education. And I love all of your experiences. And I know about some of those but the listeners might not know all of those pieces of your background. Will you give us a quick intro about who you are a and how you got to where you are now?

So I’m Khristen Massic. I have been in education officially for 15 years, I started teaching in engineering, so high school engineering, I taught for 10 years, Then I moved into more of a coaching realm and then into administration. So for the last three years, I’ve been an assistant principal at a middle school. And then now I’m back at the district office. And I specialize as a curriculum coach and instructional coach, and it’s not really related to CTE, but there’s a whole bunch of other things. So my passion is CTE.

My husband teaches high school welding. So I’m still like very much in that world. And then I’ve created like this online space so that I can help my fellow CTE teachers.

Well, it’s perfect because you worked in high school as CTE. And we as high school counselors work with those teachers, and then you’re an administrator, we work very closely with administrators. And then even though you’re saying you’re kind of removed, being in the district office, high school counselors work with people from the district office to whether it’s, you know, from paperwork to legal stuff to, I mean, talking about the future of a CTE program, like you have your hands in all of the things and we’ve worked with you in all of your capacities.

I’ve as I listened to your podcast episodes, they’re very relatable, like, because of the different lenses that I’ve had. And I’m like, I’m not a counselor, but there are a lot of things in here that I can learn from, and that helped me out with my positions.

Yeah, tell me about if you can think back to your time in the high school, what was your relationship like with the high school counselor or counselors that you worked with? Now, you know, they’re probably not listening to this. So you can be honest and tell us what that was like.

So I’ve had I’ve had some really great ones that really helped me out when I had problems. And then I had one in particular that I really struggled with. And yes, I don’t think she’s listening. But for her, and like our relationship is that the way that she presented herself was that she knew everything about what I was teaching, and she had even flippantly like, made a comment about being able to go into anyone’s class and being able to teach what they were teaching.

And so I so yeah, right. I’m like, Really, I am I can’t do that. So like I said, there’s there’s been kind of like, there’s been those both sides. And so I definitely know of like some strategies to like, prevent counselors from being that person. And then like, really like working as a team because I think that’s the biggest thing is especially with like CTE, because we are like hands on classes.

And so there are a lot of students that for whatever reason, need to be in our classes, whether it’s because they want to be there, or because like there’s some issues and some other classes. So it’s really good to have that relationship with counselors and CTE teacher so that you’re really working as a team.

Yes. And in 2023, already, I’ve had an episode about working with administrators, but I think CTE teachers are this untapped resource that we forget, hey, they’re a key player in the school, even different from the core curriculum teachers, like you said, because some students need to be in CTE classes to break up their day, or to show them what they’re good at, or give them exposure to something new that they can pursue after high school.

So you mentioned maybe some things not to do, we’ll talk about both of those some things that we should not do to nurture that relationship, and then things that we should do. And let’s talk about CTE and counselor relationships in this episode.

Okay, so starting off with not to do, I think, don’t make some assumptions about classes that you took yourself in high school. So don’t make assumptions that if you like, hear about welding, like you make an assumption about like, what is that class and how it’s being taught. And like either signing a bunch of kids up for it, or like disregarding it, because of the name or experiences that you’ve had with it,

I think one of the things to really help strengthen that relationship is get to be in those classes, whether it’s like in the class, like during the school day, or like after school, and you kind of create a way for you to learn about those different subjects. So allow the teachers to teach you something can be a great way for you to know like, how they teach, but then also what they teach, to help you really like align, best fit for your students in those classes. So I can answer two questions in one.

Yeah, no, I love that. Getting getting in there seeing things, seeing what teachers are teaching, seeing how students are learning those things, that visual that you have, as a high school counselor, like when I sit down to tell a student about what these classes are, like, I actually have seen it and heard it, and I can describe it to them.

Because I mean, they ask all the time, they’re like, What is welding? What is culinary? What is fashion design, and you have to be able to say, I mean, they just expect you, I don’t say you have to, they expect you to know exactly what you do in the class. And I can tell you, I make up things about what you might do in the class, if I don’t have an idea.

And so with the CTE classes, those are the best classes to get your eyes in, so that you can explain to them what it is and what you do. Just some basic overview. Like you don’t have to have some extensive knowledge of the syllabus, just be able to describe to them what it’s like.

And if you’re able to experience that, as a student yourself as the counselor, like having having the culinary arts teacher or the sewing teacher teach you how to do something, then it also gives you an idea of just like how the teacher teaches, in addition to their content. So that’s another thing. Okay, I’m gonna move over to the next one.


So when I was talking to my husband last night, I wanted to verify with him. So once again, he teaches high school welding, and I’m like, Okay, I want to make sure that I’m telling these counselors, the right thing. So one of his like, pet peeves is not knowing like when a student is being moved, either in or out or even like, into a different class period. And he’ll just show up, and he’s like, why? I have no idea.

You’re here for welding? Do you have the equipment? Do you know what we’re doing? We’re three weeks in.

Exactly. And we’re working on this group project. And even like, students like moving out, and they’re working on a group project. And he’s like, Okay, well, now they’re in third period where they used to be in fifth period, like what? Yeah, so giving your teachers a heads up. So some sort of like even even if you can, like, screenshot their gradebook, because sometimes that disappears, depending on what your district is using for their students system is huge.

And then I would talk to him a little bit more, because now I kind of have, I definitely have, like the administrative perspective. And the most success that I had, like when I was moving a student from one class to another class, because there was some sort of issue was to go and consult that teacher and ask them, like give them a choice between two class periods.

Hey, we need to move Johnny from third period, or we need to move him from another classroom to have him join your classes. His schedule would work with first period or sixth period, which one works better for you? And then the teacher can learn It’ll kind of go through their brain and like figure out, which is going to be the best fit. Because sometimes it’s not like the smallest class, that would be the best fit. It could be a larger class just based on like personalities and management.

That’s such a good point, I wouldn’t have thought that I would think that teachers want them only to be added to the smallest class and not to consider the other things. But that’s smart with personalities, whether you have, you know, students who have just different needs, the teacher is already probably starting to figure that out in the first couple of weeks of school, and they might have a different opinion.

I think that’s so important that you said, to just be in the communicative loop with the teacher, I know that I’ve learned that by doing it the wrong way, you know, like exactly what you said, moving people around, it’s such a puzzle. And teachers are doing their structured day by day and we’re getting new students left and right, who are coming in, you’re like, where did you come from? Did you move from out of state, you just realized school was starting, like what is happening right now?

Like, we’re, we’re just trying to get them in their classes. So they’re not sitting there not learning anything, you know, for hours, days, weeks. And we sometimes forget to just send that email to say, okay, like you said, Johnny is now in these classes. And then it catches up to us, when the teacher shows up angry in your office, you’re like, Okay, this could have been prevented if I just had some better systems and communicated better on the front end.

Well, another thing to find out from your CTE teachers is also like, which is their favorite class and multiple, more, most of the time they teach multiple preps. And so to find out like, really like where their zone of genius is, because more likely than not, they’re gonna want you to put a new student in that class, rather than a class that they are teaching for the first time, and they’re not really sure what to do from day to day. So that’s also another, like, added level to think about, in addition to like, the makeup of the class,

Yes, I didn’t even think about that from the teacher side. I love this perspective. And I would like to know, as you’re talking, I was thinking, this might look different for high school counselors, who have career and tech teachers in their school, like housed in their school. And then at a different location.

The school that I worked at our CTE department was, I mean, maybe four teachers and they taught different business classes like marketing and management, we had some foods and nutrition at some points, more like computer based things like in the school building. And then outside the school buildings, students could go for half days to do like the welding the things that required some some bigger pieces of equipment or, you know, fire and tools like that. So what what has your experience been like that were you teaching in the main school building or somewhere else, and then tell me about your husband too. Okay.

So interesting that you should ask that. So I first started out at a high school, and then I went to the district magnet school. So we actually built the magnet school for our district when I was about four or five years into teaching. So I have like both perspectives of like being in the high school, and then at a magnet school. And then in our district, some of our programs are so large, so we kind of put the smaller programs or the the programs that needed to have enrollment in order to survive.

And getting enrollment from all five high schools actually helped us survive versus like being at the high school. So my husband is actually at the high school because we have such a strong like welding program in our district that every high school has welding. But then

Wow, that is awesome.

Yeah, so it’s huge. But then our mechanics class and our autobody class, they’re all at our magnet center it for our district. So I think the biggest thing with that, too, so one of my really good friends who was a teacher at that school with me is now the counselor at that school. So we have a counselor at that site.

The biggest thing is like communication, like communicating with that, if they have if you have liaison at that other school, to really work with your counselors, because I know one of the biggest frustrations, it’s the same thing as like scheduling, like a student is moving in and nobody knows about them, or somebody’s moving out.

And then once again, if you can get to that magnet school and see those programs, experience those programs, and get a feel for that, that will help you immensely because you’ll know like what’s happening at your school, but then you also have an idea of what’s happening somewhere else.

And it is a sacrifice for like students to like go to another school. So they have to know that it’s going to be a good enough time investment to leave their friends to go over to that. So if you can even coordinate some ways for them to experience not just like, see and hear but like experience some of those classes. That’s a great way to help them find those.

Yeah, I worked very closely with the counselors at those you call them like magnet those sites because of that, that scheduling. They knew those teachers really well. They knew about the class sizes and the personality or if the teacher was going out on medical leave, like we’re not trying to add new students to this class where we don’t even really have a qualified sub for.

So knowing that behind the scenes was really helpful for placing students in those programs there. And then in the school building, you know, I had a lot more hands on knowing who was in what classes, I knew the personalities of the students in those computer classes or something at our school,

As a high school counselor. Remember that more likely than not, though, that those students even though you’re sending them to a magnet site, they’re gonna trust you more than anyone else. So just keep that in the back of your mind knowing that you’re going to still kind of be that link between them at the high school and then at the other school.

Yes, I feel that so deeply. And that’s why I’m saying you have to know as a high school counselor, what they’re going to get into when they get there, because they might have no idea what that program is. But you’re sharing with them the knowledge and expertise, even if it’s small, that you have that can convince them to try something new.

And honestly, you as a counselor, have that sway with parents as well, because a lot of times we’re sitting down with the parent and student and we’re telling them about these classes. A lot of times parents have mixed perceptions on what is happening at a career and technical education site. And they don’t know it’s like what you said, your past experiences, or just what you’ve read or seen or your lack of knowledge. And so as a high school counselor, you get to tell them no, I’ve been here I’ve seen it.

I always would tell students, this is a great opportunity to take it as an elective class, which you need to graduate anyway, see if you like it. If you don’t, you don’t waste time and money after high school, you get that experience towards a graduation credit and you can move on or you might find something that you actually really love.

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For our students, I used to take 10th graders that was the thing we did in our district over to the Career Center, because 11th grade was a big year to start it. I forget if we did ninth or 10th grade. But they went and did a hands on kind of shadowing rotating through the different programs, which I felt like was super helpful in getting them acquainted with the options that are there. Did your area do something like that look where they go and shadow almost or take a field trip over there?

We definitely had them come and do field trips. And we experimented with it multiple ways. So the first time we had them just come and we created things for them to do like little, I don’t know, like hands on things. And then we kind of shifted because we we started changing it so that they weren’t just doing things. But we also wanted to see have them see our students in there.

So they can that’s like a great way to like ever as a see, like, Oh, they’re from my same school and they’re over here. And then they kind of have someone that they can talk to and ask like, how is this class really. And that helped immensely. Because they weren’t just coming and doing something. Because sometimes those activities that we were doing, were almost like superficial because it’s like, okay, what can we do in 15 minutes, that would get them really excited, right?

But it’s not like really experiencing the class. So then having them come back and going into the medical anatomy class. And like watching them being a part of that lesson. And like studying those vocabulary terms was huge, because that really piqued the interest of those who were truly interested. And then those were like, Yeah, this isn’t for me it let them move on to something else.

Yeah. And I would think that the students who were there showing off like in the class, they would be so proud to show what they’re doing and what they’re learning because it was so different than these other classmates coming in, who sit in their academic classes all day or take an elective just because they’re taking it where their passion is coming alive.

And they get to be so proud of look at what I’m doing look at these skills. This is different than you. Don’t you want to be here? And they honestly sold those programs more than the teacher could more than I could as a counselor. So that was always really cool to see students come alive and share that.

Yeah, and it’s always the best way for recruitment. That’s one of the things I also talk to CTE teachers about is like, how to recruit and like, I guess, like sell your class during the school year. And it always comes back to like your current students are going to be the best marketers for you.

And so really tap into that and utilize your current students whenever possible, to talk about your class to show students, other students, your class, to show adults, your class, to do presentations, anything that will get them to really be the center of attention, the light up if they love your class, and it just naturally happens.

Yes, that’s huge. So we talked about counselors getting their eyes on the actual programs. Are there any other ways that counselors could help CTE teachers to market their classes throughout the year?

I think the other thing would be to talk with them, it comes back to communication. So you have a teacher that you’re working with, and you just find out like what they’re passionate about, and what they want to teach. And this has been kind of a, an interesting thing, at least from my perspective, in my district, is that our teachers thought that our counselors were in charge of the master schedule. That was always their perception.

And it wasn’t until later when I was actually going through, like my admin training, that I learned that at least in our state, and I don’t know if it’s different in yours, but you guys are not supposed to be creating the master schedule. You’re just helping students fill the master schedule, it’s really an admin job. So I feel like there’s been a lot of like, unwarranted like blame placed on counselors, because they’re seen as like, oh, well, I have all of these preps, because the counselors da,da,da… they won’t fill my classes.

Which has nothing to do with that. So knowing that, like, from a counselor perspective, like knowing that, that could be the perception that those teachers have, if you can almost be proactive, and find out like, hey, you are teaching this, this and this this year. What is your ultimate goal? What would you what would you like us to help fill? So that what programs would you like us to help you build?

And then you are working with the administration to really make that happen. And hopefully, they’re having those same conversations with your administration. But a lot of times they’re not. So that’s just another like thing to think about. About creating those relationships, and then figuring out like, what can we do to like work together to grow the program that really best fits the school, and then also that teacher?

Definitely, I guess, I never would have thought this teacher would have this assumption. I would think, oh, we would talk about it. Or they would say, Hey, can you help me with XYZ? But now I’m like, oh, yeah, I could see how they could like build up some resentment, just based on not knowing what a counselor does, or assuming what they do every day.

In your school setting, did you have counselors who explained what they did? Or did a good job explaining their role and their services? Or did you just kind of figure out what they did as they were going along? I know, you talked about kind of a stronger counselor relationship and a weaker counselor relationship? Did they explain their roles well? Or did you just have to figure out what they were there for?

I have never been at a school where they have explained the roles well. Like, I’ve never, never, never have I ever had that. And maybe, I mean, now that we’re going down that I’m like, that’s a great idea to like, have, like individual meetings with like individual departments, and like, hey, this is what we can do for you.

I think there’s the other thing, too, is that I think a lot of teachers, they’re not realizing like the day to day, things that you deal with that have nothing to do with class schedules and changes. Then this is all I know, is because I’ve been an administrator, I was like, that was like the last thing you guys do. It’s like maybe you spend like a little bit of time every day doing that just tiny bit.

But that’s not like the bulk of what you do where there is that perception that that is what you do. And that is all that you do. And then maybe, oh, yeah, they probably deal with something every once in a while if there’s like an issue with with students, and maybe they deal with some drama, but they’re not really realizing like the magnitude or the amount of time that that takes up your day.

That is wild that you say that because I’m always thinking I need to change students perceptions of what we do, like letting them know we don’t just change schedules. But if you break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend or if your parents are going through a divorce, or if your grandparent died, like you come in and we talk about those things.

We are trained more so in the counseling aspect, and then you learn on the job, how to change schedules and put people in classes. That’s not something that you’re really learning in grad school. You’re learning more about the counseling aspect of it. So that is is helpful to hear that we need to be changing teachers perspective on just educating them about what our role is as a high school counselor.

Yeah, and sometimes I think teachers, like they don’t understand why you do need to make class changes when you do need to make them. And that ultimately, it’s like better for like 50 students, even though it might be difficult for one teacher in that class period. So I think that was a great idea of having like that discussion of like the roles and like, what you do, and then how you can help, those CTE teachers or teachers in general would be fabulous.

Yeah, so I’m hearing you say to that even an extra line in an email about maybe why this is happening would be helpful, so that they can maybe see the bigger picture. Not all teachers are going to want to see the bigger picture or care. But you’re nurturing that relationship, even by just giving them a little bit of extra information, if it’s helpful for that conversation,

Right. And especially with like CTE teachers, because once again, I’m referring back to I didn’t have this happen as much, but my husband has has that happen all of the time. So he tends to get a lot of the naughty kids, because they’re like, oh, well, we need somewhere to put them. And that’s a hands on class, so we’re going to drop them in there.

And so having that like little bit of information of like, why the student is being dropped in there really helps, because he’s also a great teacher, and so we connect really well with students. So he’ll have students who will skip all of their other class periods, but yet show up to his class. So, so then they like, they almost like they pile on more, or that’s his perception is that like, okay, because I’m doing a great job, they’re giving me more students.

So even if you are letting them know, okay, because you’ve had success with students in the past, we’re going to have this student go and then once again, asking them now, which class period would be best for the student, because then you’re getting them, you’re praising and saying, hey, we, the reason we’re doing this is because we know that this student will thrive in your class where they are having difficulties in their classes.

And then giving them an opportunity to say, hey, you know what, I think it would be better for them to be in second period instead of fifth. And I think we can make that work. So then you’re kind of like working both sides.

That’s such a good point that I hadn’t thought of, because in my mind, I know who those good teachers are. I know who the ones are, who connect really well with students. And you know, sometimes it’s a blessing and a curse for that for that teacher. Because I know this tough student who’s like hard to break through with, if I put them with that teacher, they are going to make a breakthrough with them.

That student is going to feel connected to an adult in the school, they’re going to have a safe space, they’re going to learn a lot, and they’re gonna love that class. But if I don’t kind of make that connection with that teacher and give them something a little deeper than, hey, you have a new student in your class, no one’s gonna win in that situation.

The teacher is gonna feel like it’s one more student. And let’s be real education is a thankless job. So when we are not giving those accolades to a teacher, like this does one more thing that’s bringing them down, instead of saying, Hey, you are an awesome teacher. And that’s why this is happening. They probably don’t hear that enough,

Right. And then they don’t see it as like, you are complimenting them by giving them more students. They see it, they could see it, depending on how you present it as like, it’s a burden, because now it’s more students.

Yeah. You mentioned about sharing roles. And what we do as a counselor I’ve done before, like a whole school or in front of all the teachers kind of explaining what the role of a school counselor is. But your idea of sitting down with individual departments is a great idea, too, because that’s a more individual conversation, where, hey, you get to ask me questions, I get to ask you questions.

You’re really nurturing that partnership. And they can think back and say, I have a person now in the counseling department that I trust, or that I can send an email to that I can ask a question to you. It’s so much more personal for new teachers, or even teachers who have been there forever, who never really understood what a counselor did.

So I love that idea of maybe sitting down at the beginning of the year or the beginning of a semester and saying, having conversation with individual departments. And counselors can break that up, like one counselor can go to English, one can go to CTE, one can go to art. It doesn’t have to be all on one person’s shoulders where the department head’s shoulders.

Yeah, and I think it would be nice to for those departments to know what your goals are, as a department, like as a counseling department. What are you guys working on? Because I don’t even think most teachers have a clue that you were focused on specific goals, that you are tracking data, what is the data even showing? Like how often are you presenting the data that you are collecting and like reporting back on the goals? And like what is their role in supporting your goals?

Yes, and then you have buy in from teachers when they understand what the goals are, and then they celebrate with you as a high school counselor when you’ve reached those goals, because they have had a part in them. Especially CTE teachers. I feel like they deal with a lot of data that has to go to the state.

That’s like how you get to level two of your class if there are enough students being completers, and passing, and interested in your subject area that we really talk data together a lot counselors and CTE teachers, probably more than any other teachers. So if we’re trying to be data driven high school counselors, I think that partnering with CTE teachers is a great place to start with that.

Yes, and we love data with well, I don’t know if we love data, CTE teachers, but we rely on it a lot. Because like you were saying all those things that you’re mentioning, with data, we also its funding. So for us in Utah, it’s, we joke about it, but it’s like butts and seats. So we get funding per student in there for our supplies. So for what’s funding the class so we need students in there so that we can pay for equipment and supplies and materials, because of just federal and state grants.

That’s so true. Would you ever have a counselor come into your CTE class and teach something or share something, can you think of ideas of where a counselor could partner with or serve a CTE teacher in terms of their classroom instruction?

So I know a lot in like the middle school level, we have a lot of like teacher or counselor presentations. And they come in and it’s a lot of it is about like wellbeing, and then interests and surveys and career planning. And some have done like a really good job, and some haven’t done a great job. I think one thing to think about is that when you’re going into a CTE class, they’re not really expecting you to give like a PowerPoint lecture, because the students are used to doing things hands on in that class.

So if you can do anything, where they are like moving about the room, or they’re doing things that are hands on that will help those students. Another thing too, is that we like to have guest speakers a lot, or I guess every once in a while having someone come in and if you are the liaison or you are there letting them know, if you’re interested in this, we can help you out. That could also be a great bridge.

Another thing is that when I was teaching a careers class, like my first or second year of teaching, when we did like the interest surveys to find out what we were interested in, we also let the students know which classes are aligned with your various interests. So whatever survey you’re using, hey we offer this here, or we offer this at the magnet school. If this is something that you are naturally inclined to do, or if you’re interested in, we can do that.

And that was a great bridge, because then students, they were aware of classes that were offered that they may not have you ever been aware of before.

Exactly. And if they’re in a CTE class, they might be interested in other ones. And so to be that connecting point, I think is huge. That is how I started relationships with CTE teachers in my building when I was a brand new teacher, or I mean a brand new counselor. I was like, How do I? How do I use anything that I have to be able to help them in their classes? And I felt like I was connected to people in our community and you know, just have friends who do all different types of jobs.

But I was like, oh, yeah, you could use guest speakers. It seems like that’s something that you’re doing already? Is there a way that I can help connect you to other guest speakers who you don’t know or you haven’t thought of? And I love what you said about the counselor also being in there, the intro, the closing to share, hey, this is even this is how I’m connected to this person. This is how they got to this classroom, because I think students are always interested in that, like, Who are you and where did you come from.

And then also the tail end of if you like this, here are some classes you can take if you see yourself going down this career path. Or if you are interested in what this guest speaker is going to say, hey, we have a class that elaborates more on this marketing or digital media or, you know, advertising or something like that.

So there are so many ways for high school counselors to take what’s happening in a CTE class and then expand the walls to that other places in the school or in the community with job shadowing or field trips to certain places. I think that the counselor can make those can help facilitate those connections even outside of those classroom walls.

And on that note, so as you were talking, I was thinking about a field trip that my husband goes on, that could be something that can be replicated in other areas. And what he does is he takes students to not just like the university that offers welding, but also like all of the other options that they have. So whether it’s trade, school or unions, and like being aware have that as a counselor, so that you know that, okay, these are the other paths. And they’re quite lucrative.

With unions, there’s a lot of different places where they offer like an apprenticeship. And they’ll pay for all of their education while they are paying them like a full time salary. It’s like a great gig. And for those students, they don’t need a college option. They would do better going into that kind of post secondary education. So really like educating yourself on like, the different types of post secondary education that apply to the classes that you are teaching at the high school will also really help and like benefit those CTE teachers.

Yes, I say all the time that high school counselors are Information Managers. Like we know all these pathways in our head. But our goal is to get that information out to parents and students, because sometimes they hear about opportunities like you’re describing, and they’re like, No, that’s too good to be true. I can be paid while I’m doing the job while I’m being trained? They’re gonna pay for my books for my, you know, materials that I need, it just feels like too good to be true.

But when you can take them to see that actually happening. That’s huge. They get that exposure. And so whether that’s an announcement, a video, a guest speaker, a field trip, like there are so many opportunities for us as high school counselors to put more career planning and career exploration opportunities out there. And we are missing the mark if we’re not using our CTE teachers as part of our career exploration with our students.

And they have contacts too. So that’s the other thing too is they can help with that, like knowledge bank that you are already managing.

Yes, yes. And I don’t know if you know this, that is one of the big like three things that we do as high school counselors, I would say academics, college and career, and then social emotional wellness and career, that’s a huge piece. And we need to be using our CTE teachers because they have expertise that we don’t have and vice versa.

So I think nurturing this partnership will take us so far, and will honestly take some things off of high school counselors, plates, if they’re tapping into the specialties and the resources that the CTE teachers in their building and in their district have. Is there anything else that you wanted to add that you would say is important to remember, as we think about our relationships with our CTE teachers, like don’t do this, be sure we do this.

I feel like we talked about a lot.

we did talk about a lot.

The only thing I’m thinking about is like registration. Because that’s like a big thing in the elective world when I guess not necessarily course registration, but course requests depending on how your school is doing it. And so going back to communication, like let your teachers know, as soon as possible, like if you are going through and updating like course descriptions, let them know.

So even if that’s in September, let them know, so that they know that it should be on their brains as well. So that it’s not like oh, my gosh, we just got back from holiday break. And we are turning around and having to do like all these course requests. And I haven’t done anything to tell students about what classes to take next. So just like letting them know, like your timeline, when it comes to course requests will help a lot with your communication.

Yes, if you can communicate that on the front end, then no one is scrambling at the last minute. And let’s be real, it feels like recruitment and registration is happening all year. Like if we’re not preparing for it, we’re in it, or we’re thinking about what we can do better for next year. And so if we can have a timeline up front saying this is I mean, that doesn’t have to change every year, you pull that up out of your Google Drive of what it was last year, edit the date, and then put it out as early as possible so that everybody can be prepared for that.

Yeah. And that’s definitely even one of those things that you can talk about when you meet with them individually. Here’s, here’s our plan. Here’s where we’re there’s the key dates that we have already mapped out just so that they are aware. So they can help you keep up with your like deadlines, too. Because if they need to update their course descriptions, you’re going to be relying on them. And so if they know that that’s when your deadline is then you can make it hopefully less stressful.

Yes, we are relying on each other for all of the things and all these deadlines. It’s like if we’re not if we’re not doing it together, then it’s not going to function and our students aren’t going to be served well. So the sooner we’re on top of it, the more clearly we communicate, the better our relationships are with CTE teachers, and the more services and opportunities we offer for students.

Well, Khristen, thank you so much. I feel like we covered a lot and like I said this was an untapped person in the school that I feel like I haven’t yet given enough thought to. And it was really helpful for me to have this conversation with you about CTE teachers in the high school building.

How I’ve loved it, and I’ve loved sharing this and I really do think that it is such a powerful team that if it’s not happening right now, if you can strengthen that in any way it will just serve everyone immensely.

Yes. Now, before we go Khristin, tell us where our listeners can find you on all the places.

Okay, so most places, you can find me at Khristen Mastic and my name is spelled funny. So it’s KHRISTEN. MASSIC. And then I also have a podcast that’s called The Secondary Teacher Podcast, which is primarily to help multiple prep teachers. So that is on my CTE folk, and then the few others who are teaching multiple subjects and how to like really, like manage that, because we’re never taught that in school. And that’s where you can find me hanging out the most is on my podcast and on Instagram.

And I would encourage high school counselors to go give your podcast a listen, because even just scrolling through, there are so many that I could listen to that, like you said, we have so many things in common being, you know, a smaller department in the high school and the way we’re uniquely serving students that there were a lot of episodes and I felt like I could relate to as a high school counselor that I know listeners will enjoy as well.

Well, thank you.

Yeah. Well, thanks for being here, Khristen. I appreciate it.

Oh, I loved being here. Thanks for having me.

Thanks again to Khristen for sharing her career and technical education expertise. I knew she would offer a perspective that we don’t often see as high school counselors, but it’s totally necessary for developing and nurturing meaningful relationships in the school building. She definitely delivered.

I’d love to hear what you thought about this episode. So send me a DM on Instagram. And let me know of any unique ways that you partner with CTE teachers in your building or your district. I’ll see you next week.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode of high school counseling conversations. All of the links I talked about today can be found in the show notes and also at counselor clique.com/podcast. Be sure to hit follow or subscribe wherever you listen to your podcast so that you never miss a new episode. Connect with me over on Instagram, send me a DM at Counselor Clique that’s c l i q u e. Thanks so much for hanging out with me. I’ll see you next time.

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