Wednesday, February 22, 2017

CRTC Teacher Goes Back to School

CRTC Teacher Goes Back to School So He Can Offer More to His Students

As a longtime teacher of the CRTC Construction Technology program, John Hubbard is used to being the oldest person in the classroom. However, these days John is having to get used to a whole new kind of experience, that of being the oldest student in the classroom.

In the past eighteen months, John has taken two welding courses and one plumbing course, and currently is enrolled in an introductory electrician class at the New Hampshire School of Mechanical Trades. He’s learning all these new skills as part of an ambitious plan to enhance his residential-construction-based program by adding basic welding, plumbing, electrical and masonry skill training to the mix.

“Most of the students in these classes I’m attending are not much older than the kids graduating out of my program,” John said. “They look at me as someone at the end of his career and wonder why I’m here. But once I explain to them that I’m taking these classes to upgrade my program, they think it’s really cool and say they wished they had that kind of program when they were in high school”

Each course John takes meets for three hours, twice a week, for thirty weeks, so they represent a significant investment in time and effort on his part. But he says that the payoff for putting in the extra time is that he will be able to make some meaningful changes to his program that will significantly improve both its value to his students and its relevance to today’s job market.

According to the US Department of Labor, the construction industry is facing a severe labor shortage, as the workforce is aging and fewer younger workers are stepping up to replace them. While these statistics are a concern for employers, they represent a significant opportunity for high school CTE students being trained in the building trades.

The CRTC recognizes these trends, and this school year has expanded the Construction Technology program content to train students for careers in a wider variety of the industry’s most marketable skill sets. The newly renamed CRTC Construction Trades program eventually will include sections in:
  • Welding
  • Masonry
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Building Construction

Each of these instructional sections is being developed with the help and guidance of many industry partners, and will focus on the essential basic skills students will need to find good-paying jobs and apprenticeships after graduation. In addition, by moving toward making Construction Trades a three-year experience for a greater number of students, the program will create even more opportunities.

“We’re looking to get more kids to enter the class as sophomores so that in their senior year we can get them involved in incredible off site opportunities like working as an apprentice or taking a class at Manchester Community College,” John said.

And, of course, none of it would be possible without John’s commitment to improve his skills so that he can pass that knowledge along to his students.

“The goal here is to open up many more career pathways for these students,” John said. “I’m looking forward to fully implementing these changes in the program and to exposing the kids to more opportunity.”

Thursday, February 16, 2017

CRTC Student Spotlight!

Alex Love is CRTC Criminal Justice Student Of The Month

Alex_Love_CJSOM.pngAlex Love credits her interest in the CRTC Criminal Justice program to her grandparents. The Junior from John Stark Regional High School said she grew up watching television crime shows with her grandmother, trying to figure out all the clues that led to the bad guys, and that her grandfather was interested in forensic science and would set up his microscope with different slides each day and challenge her to figure out what she was looking at.

“Forensics and police tactics have always fascinated me,” she said. “So I came to this class to explore my options for the criminal justice field.”

Alex first learned about the Criminal Justice program by attending a CRTC recruitment assembly in her sophomore year, and she wrote about her experiences with her grandparents when filling out the essay portion of her application.

While her initial interests were in forensic science, Alex said that the CRTC Criminal Justice class has exposed her to the many options available to somebody going into this profession. “Ever since I’ve been here I’ve learned a lot of things about possible criminal justice career fields that I never even knew existed,” she said.

Criminal Justice teacher Ellen Arcieri said that Alex is a hardworking, reliable and enthusiastic student that’s not afraid to help out or take on something new. Recently, during the CRTC Preview Days, Alex was a class representative, leading classroom projects for visiting students interested in the Criminal Justice program. When the snow day prevented some student representatives from showing up, Alex was one of three who stepped up to take on the extra work.

“I don’t know what I would have done without Alex the the other two students,” Ms. Arcieri said. “When I give her a task she steps up to take on that role … I think she should be recognized for that.”

Although Alex plans to go on to a career in the criminal justice field, she hasn’t yet determined just what that job will be. “But whatever profession I’m going into,” she said, “I won’t let anything get in my way that will keep me from doing what I love.”

IMPORTANT CRTC Application Deadline Reminder


CRTC applications are due to school counselors by the Friday before February vacation 2/24.  Feel free to contact our office or visit the CRTC website for more information.  We are happy to meet, talk with and assist all parents and students in any manner.

CRTC Office Phone: 603.717.7654
CRTC Office e-mail:

Freshman and Careers (A New Kind of Senior Year?)

Freshman and Careers (A New Kind of Senior Year?)

By CRTC Director Steve Rothenberg

Last Tuesday the CTRC hosted a short assembly for freshman.  The goal was to begin some dialogue on career pathways and to make students aware of opportunities in the CRTC.  The CRTC mostly serves juniors and seniors, but every year we do accept a few sophomores.

A few of our programs, including Construction Trades, Culinary & Pastry Arts, and Teacher Preparation, are exploring three year models for a handful of students.  Students would start as sophomores, complete the core two years, and then, if they choose, design a personalized third (senior) CRTC year (some student may also choose to finish their two CRTC years and stop there).

Much has been written on a national level about how the current senior year model, for many students, is not connected to a student's chosen transitional goals and therefore is not relevant enough.  The year becomes a task and many students lose educational momentum.

A new senior year model could involve an intensive internship in the field.  It also could involve taking our personalized English class (Career Communications CRTC) where students work on career-based writing, communication and presentation skills with all projects completed in the context of their specific CRTC career pathway.  Students may also consider taking a CCSNH course to form a high school - college hybrid year.  Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO’s) are also in the mix.

This new mix of proposed experiences provides some energy around “what could be.”  But we know at this time, that there is probably only a handful of students who see this as appealing or as potentially part of their plan.  Extensive career planning is not deeply embedded in our high school culture at this time.  Regardless, these structures are a beginning.  Please feel free to contact me to discuss this further.

Parent/Guardian Open House this Wednesday 1/25 6 pm at CHS

23 January 2017
Parent/Guardian Open House this Wednesday 6 pm at CHS
By CRTC Director Steve Rothenberg

We hold our annual CRTC Parent/Guardian Open House this Wednesday, from 6:00-7:30 PM starting in the Concord High School McAuliffe Auditorium.  This event provides parents/guardians an opportunity to gain an overview of the CRTC, meet teachers, and tour facilities.  Students are welcome to join us, but the focus for this event is on helping parents/guardians better understand our strategic approach to college and career readiness through the career pathway model.
 This is our stretch to actively communicate with students about opportunities available at the CRTC.  Sophomores in all nine of the high schools we serve have already received an overview presentation this month (soon a similar presentation will be provided to freshman).  At these large events, current students spoke about their CRTC experience; we also reviewed our 2017 program brochure and website.

 Over the next few weeks, we will have a presence in school cafeterias to answer student questions, but our next big event for potential students is CRTC Preview Days on February 3 and 7.  Students actively participate in two distinct programs of their choice on one of these two days.  In mid-February students also will have the opportunity to sit in on classes like a regular student to gain even more perspective.

 Our stated organizational vision is to leverage the CRTC experience, including the recruitment process, to further educate and empower students to take charge of planning their personal pathway to college and career readiness.

Real Stories of Figuring It Out

Alumni Assembly - Real Stories of Figuring It Out
By CRTC Director Steve Rothenberg
The CRTC hosted its annual “Alumni Return to CRTC Day” Assembly for all CRTC students last Tuesday, where our graduates who have been out of high school for one to six years, came back to candidly share their post-secondary education, work, and personal stories.  I am always most impressed with how well our graduates manage all aspects of their educational, professional, and social lives.  Many are in school, do one or two jobs, volunteer, and also maintain other responsibilities - it’s a bit overwhelming (and grossly inspiring) - to just hear them explain it.

If you had any doubt that young people somehow don’t work hard or are only looking for the easiest route to take - then I urge you to watch the broadcast of this assembly.  It will quickly change your thinking.  Hopefully my reflections below does the same.

One young lady who completed our Auto Tech program last year is currently working in the service department at Banks GM and also is a full-time student at Manchester Community College.  She shared that she attended regular classes on campus from September through November.  After that, her program switched gears so that now she is engaging in a co-op (aka paid internship) at Banks GM where she trains under their most senior mechanics.  She is working about 60 hours per week.  And while it is a lot of work, she told students that she loves every minute of it.

Similarly, a Cosmetology student from last year talked about waiting to start school until the beginning of November so she could make some extra money, which allowed her to get an apartment, and to be able to afford the tuition at Michael’s School of Hair Design.  She explained that a typical day for her involves attending classes from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM and then working from 5:00-10:30 PM.  She was excited because she has earned the opportunity to work in the school’s salon.  Finally, to top it off, she has taken a job on Sundays working from 4:00 AM to noon.  She exuded pride in her accomplishments (and is thankful for Sunday afternoons and evenings!).

Overwhelmingly, alumni students explained that their social lives have changed - now taking a back seat to work and school (study group) activities - a natural “no-big-deal” shift given the demands of their busy schedules they said.

Three Health Science students shared their stories.  One college junior explained that three days per week she has classes at St. Anselm College, and on two days she has eight-hour nursing clinicals at the Catholic Medical Center.  She also is a dorm RA, which saves her about $20K per year in college costs.  Health Science students also shared that they are making $14-$21 per hour working on the side as an LNA (a license earned at the CRTC).

One Graphic Arts student candidly shared the tribulations she went through to transfer from one college to another (something she never expected to occur).  She urged the audience to do more research on their choice of college prior to making a choice.  She now is at Keene State College and doing well.  This student also shared that she has earned a graphic design internship with the Franco-American Society this summer.

Another Graphic Arts student, who graduated six years ago, told how she completed two years at NHTI without debt and then transferred to commute to SNHU to earn her bachelor’s degree.  Her total college debt?  $6,000!  SNHU took every credit from NHTI.  She also shared how she got her new dream job working for a design company focused on designing signage and millwork for the new Boston Produce Market.  It came about because she volunteered to help that company layout and design their catalog; the quality of her work turned a volunteer opportunity into a high paying full-time professional job.

A 2014 Culinary Arts student reflected on earning his associate’s degree at New England Culinary Institute.  He now is working as a chef doing all restaurant food prep for the four ‘Ollie and Me’ Cafes on the Seacoast.  He was clearly ready to get out of school (“I’m not a school person - is that OK to say?”).  He also shared that he just started paying off his $162 per month college loan (in addition to a car loan and his apartment rent).  A Construction Tech student from last year who is now at UMaine studying engineering candidly reflected that he should have taken some harder classes in his senior year (he is behind his peers).  He also shared that his parent and grandparents have co-signed his school loans ($28K per year).  He emphasized for students that college courses translate to DOLLARS and that they need to take the whole experience very seriously.  This was an often repeated theme heard throughout the alumni assembly.

One of our best speakers from last year’s alumni assembly was a Teacher Prep student who joined the military.  She reflected on her incredible professional and personal growth, including taking a significant number of online college classes while active military - all at no cost.
The audience was ‘keyed in’ throughout the assembly.  Every year at these alumni assemblies the room is remarkably silent with all eyes and ears focused on the stage.  Our speakers’ stories are as authentic as it gets - spoken in a tone that rings true to our current students.  The assembly empowers students to understand that they can juggle school, work, expenses, life’s curveballs, and more.  Our goal is for our students to walk out with some direction, but  more so a firm understanding that they can accomplish the same types of things because the graduates on the stage are just like they are (just a little older!).  

Lastly, the speakers gave incredible thanks for their strategic, career-focused CRTC education - all said it gave them a definite edge as they moved forward into life after high school.
Take a moment and see for yourself with a YouTube link from our website.  Please feel free to contact me with comments or questions.

CRTC Enrollment Season is here!

CRTC Enrollment Season is here!
By Director Steve Rothenberg

On Tuesday we will hold a sophomore assembly to provide some initial information about the CRTC.  Also, students will have the opportunity to explore different CRTC  offerings by participating in our Program Previews Day in early February.  Parent/Guardians can come and check us out on the evening of Wednesday, January 25th at 6 p.m. (snow date 2/1).  Our website has a tremendous amount of information on it, including videos, our brochure, applications and much more.  Our teachers also are available to talk with students and parents and to answer any questions they may have.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

CRTC Student Spotlight!

February 2017

Charles Chapman CT SOM.JPGCharles Chapman felt a connection to CRTC Construction Trades program from the first time he toured the program.

“I saw the construction classroom and I loved it,” Charles said. “I’ve always liked working with my hands and I immediately saw that this was a place where I could fit in.”

Charles, a sophomore from Pittsfield High School, is halfway through his first year in the Construction Trades program, but already is looking toward the future.

“My freshman year I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life,” he said. “This class has really opened up the possibilities and already is helping me to mold my career plan.”

Charles likes that the class is hands on, and he likes that the program connects him with other like-minded students from different high schools. He’s eager to learn more about the construction, plumbing, electrical and welding trades, and is confident that he will graduate with a career focus and a plan.

“Charles is a great student who’s showing initiative toward planning for his future,” said John Hubbard, who runs the Construction Trades program.

And because Charles entered the program as a sophomore, he is eligible to do some exciting things in his Senior year, Mr. Hubbard said, including construction, plumbing, electrical or welding internships, and taking classes at Manchester Community College.

Charles is excited to continue with the Construction Trades program into his junior and senior years. “In this program I’m not just another high school student,” he said. “The Construction Trades program lets me stand out.”