Careers Through Education

Filed under: Schools |

As a district with a core belief of schools impacting community, Duncanville ISD is constantly looking for ways to benefit local businesses. At the same time, student success remains our number one priority. That’s why many classes are now finding ways to provide learners with real-world experiences while also providing goods and services to the community. In honor of February’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, Duncanville ISD is calling for willing participants to help prepare students for the future.

With nearly 80 CTE classes, Duncanville High School is starting students on possible career paths. But no job would be complete without actual clients and products that are worth more than just a grade. Believing it’s important to mimic what students will face in the workforce, many DHS teachers are reaching out to the community. Bart Burnett’s Engineering Academy classes are partnering with the Keep Duncanville Beautiful organization to help survey for future landscaping, Annette Burnap’s Web Technology class is building websites for local businesses, Faye Blackmon’s culinary classes often cater community events, and Joanette Manning’s cosmetology classes have started their own salon offering a variety of services.

When Graphic Design and Illustration teacher Justin Robinson joined the Duncanville High School faculty in 2008, there was already a legacy of DHS/Duncanville partnerships. He says that he, too, wanted to create an environment that would help students understand what expectations and attitudes would help them excel. “One of the best ways to accomplish that was to name the shop and give it an identity that students could be proud of.” Studio 117 currently offers design services as well as screen and poster printing, vinyl stickers and decals, and laser engraving and fabrication. While most of their work is done for clients within the district, Robinson’s class has printed shirts for many other school districts, churches, and organizations, including Duncanville LIVE. “Opening our doors to the community allows us to get client feedback and understand what it means to actually work under the pressure of a deadline,” he said. “But more importantly, it allows students to begin to develop networking relationships with business leaders that would not be possible if they were only working in the classroom.”

Other CTE teachers are still seeking opportunities to connect with the community. Principles in Technology teacher Charles Walker says that he is looking for a company to help his students relate their study of mechanical, fluid, electrical, and thermal systems to the real world. “What I need is a source of true-to-life engineering tasks that we could develop into a project that would enhance their learning,” he said. “I would love to build a unit from an initial study of the concept, to students using the concepts in the lab, to students using the concepts to solve real-life tasks that the workforce does on a daily basis.” If you or your business would like to help prepare Duncanville ISD students for the future, please contact Career and Technical Education Coordinator Kena McKee at