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Salem officials say vocational center needs a new name

SALEM — Although popularly known as the Career and Technical Education program by the School Board and high school staff, the sign outside the high school has read Salem Vocational Center since 1987.


On Tuesday night, the School Board approved a formal name change for the program and center to the Salem High School Career and Technical Education Center.


As the high school readies a large renovation program to bring before voters in March, the district is eligible for state funding for renovations to the CTE program.

“In the course of the discussion of renovations at the high school and to our CTE center, it has become apparent that a formal name change is necessary,” said Superintendent Michael Delahanty.

Even though career and technical education is a fairly commonly used term, Delahanty said there is still the perception among some of the interchangeability of career and technical education and vocational school.

“They are really not synonymous,” he said. “Yet the sign out in front of our CTE center reads Salem Vocational Center.”

Since the center was built in 1987, Delahanty said there has been a substantial evolution toward a more career and technical education approach.

CTE Director Chris Dodge said the formal name change will keep the school in step with the educational shift from vocational to career and technical education.

“CTE is more focused on college and career readiness, versus preparing students for work readiness right out of high school,” said Dodge. “We are just keeping up with the times with the name change, and it aligns with what the rest of the CTE world is doing.”

The School Board unanimously approved the name change.

“Considering that the School Board members and people in education already refer to it as a career and technical education center, I think it is only appropriate to make this change,” said board member Pamela Berry.

Delahanty said the sign outside the center will be taken down but that the district will wait until the outcome of the vote on the high school renovation project before replacing the sign.

“One benefit of the name change is that we could use (state) CTE funds to establish a sign that is more appropriate,” he said.

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