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Eighth graders have wide array of CTE initiatives available to them

Amherst Middle School students participate in the Girls Rising Interest in Technology initiative.Erie 1 BOCES has several initiatives to immerse middle school students into the world of career and technical education, and a new approach to three of them aims to intertwine their goals and boost their effectiveness.

Officials in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) division of Erie 1 BOCES are exploring a combined concept for the Taste of Tech, Middle School Modules (or Mods for short) and Girls Rising Interest in Technology (GRIT) programs. Anedda Trautman, CTE associate director, explained the three initiatives would complement the current middle school curriculums in technology, family and consumer science, art and health.

“We would bring in a guest speaker from a specific industry and a student speaker as an ambassador for the specific CTE program; we would also have a co-taught lesson or activity with the teachers of our CTE programs,” she remarked. “The component school districts that partner with us would bring the middle school students to our career centers or to local businesses to give them a sense of what it’s like in the field. All of this is done separately as part of the current initiatives, so combining them would help them work off of each other and leave a more lasting impression on the students.”

Original Initiatives

  • The Taste of Tech enrichment opportunity invites eighth graders to explore exciting programs and hands-on activities offered at the three career centers in January. A student chooses three CTE programs they might be interested in.

  • Middle School Mods gives eighth-grade students an opportunity to see a partnership between family and consumer science, technology, health and art education courses. The collaborative models allow middle school teachers and Erie 1 BOCES CTE teachers to “co-teach” lessons at a district’s middle school and then allows the lessons to culminate in a final project at an Erie 1 BOCES career center.

  • GRIT currently allows eighth-grade girls to enrich themselves in a full day of business and industry visits to companies with careers related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The day includes several stops at well-known, STEM-based industry partners, allowing girls to speak with female leaders at those companies and participate in hands-on activities. This model will expand to include male students in the 2018-2019 school year.

In addition to these three initiatives, Erie 1 BOCES’ CTE division offers two more enrichment opportunities for middle school students – Minecraft Madness and Summer at the Center. Over 1,750 students participate in one or more of the five initiatives described each year.

  • Minecraft Madness is an annual obstacle course team competition put on by the Potter Career & Technical Center’s Web Technology and Game Programming department. Teams of four eighth-grade students and one teacher will have one hour to construct a working obstacle course in Minecraft’s Creative mode. The teams then complete rival obstacle courses to collect points. The top three teams with the most points win the competition.

  • Summer at the Center presents students entering grades six through nine with the opportunity to spend a week “camping” at the Harkness Career & Technical Center, participating in a series of four engaging camps of their choosing. Camps range from making a movie in seven hours to joining the junior police academy.

To learn more about any of the middle school initiatives, contact Trautman at (716) 821-7076 or

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