Excellence in Action Spotlight: School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality, Jack E. Singley Academy

January 4th, 2018

All learners deserve to have quality educational experiences facilitated by individuals with passion, experience and expertise. Enhancing classroom instruction with industry experts can bring the real world into the classroom and blur the lines between education and the workplace. A successful example of this collaboration between education and the workforce can be found at our 2017 Excellence in Action award winner in the Hospitality & Tourism Career Cluster, the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality housed at Jack E. Singley Academy in Irving, Texas in the Dallas suburbs.

The School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality delivers a host of real-life experiences, available through partnerships with industry partners and local colleges. Its location, in the epicenter of the Dallas metro area, students benefit from more than 75 hotels and over 100 restaurants just steps from their classrooms. Students participate in job shadows, internships and work in unique work-based learning environments and are mentored by some of the leading hospitality and tourism professionals in the country.

The program’s advisory board – which is tasked with providing input on curriculum, offering career exploration opportunities, and more – is stacked with industry experts from area hotels, food service establishments, and the Irving Convention Center. Partnerships with The Hotel Association, Marriott, The Irving Convention Center, The Four Seasons Resort and others give students numerous opportunities to explore careers in these industries.

Program administrators cite how crucial their team of instructors has been in the quality of the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality. Irving ISD’s Director of CTE, Shawn Blessing, credits the program’s success, “first and foremost [to our] outstanding faculty. These individuals are all highly trained and very committed, passionate. They are the drivers of the program and are behind it 100 percent. It makes a huge difference when you have highly skilled, highly trained instructors who all come from industry.”

Learn more about the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality at Jack E. Singley Academy and our 2017 award winners.

Reaching Economies of Scale in Rural Communities

December 5th, 2017

Latest Advance CTE resource describes strategies to expand career pathways opportunities to rural learners

Rural communities all too often face scarce funding, instructors and facilities, forcing institutions to choose between offering a variety of introductory courses across a breadth of subjects or providing more narrowly focused, sequenced programs within one or two priority Career Clusters®. Providing learners access to diverse career pathways in rural areas is a persistent challenge for all states.

Today Advance CTE released the latest brief in the CTE on the Frontier series to help states identify promising strategies for expanding the variety of career pathways available in rural areas. The brief profiles how states such as Nebraska, Alaska, North Dakota and Idaho have leveraged strategic partnerships and new technologies to reach economies of scale.

In North Dakota, for example, rural learners are connected remotely to instructors at different campuses by a live broadcast network called Interactive Television, or ITV. Districts and regional technical centers come together to inventory all of the courses available in their region and open up enrollment to remote students. Participating schools receive a 4 percent reimbursement per receiving school to incentivize participation.

Meanwhile, state leaders in Idaho are working to balance virtual instruction through Idaho Digital Learning with work-based learning and Career Technical Student Organization participation to ensure hands-on learning isn’t lost in a virtual classroom. Instead of converting all CTE courses to be offered online, Idaho has adapted a few introductory courses to free up in-school teaching capacity to focus on more advanced coursework. The state is also working to align digital courses with college and career pathways — some Idaho Digital Learning courses are even eligible for dual credit — and requires CTE students taking online classes to engage in hands-on learning.

The latest CTE on the Frontier brief demonstrates how states can leverage partnerships and technology to reach economies of scale and offer a wider breadth of career pathways to rural learners. Earlier briefs in the series examine how states can ensure program quality and connect learners to the world of work.

CTE on the Frontier: Providing Learners Access to Diverse Career Pathways was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

December 1st, 2017

TWEET OF THE WEEK

CTE FRIDAY FACT

76% of Americans say middle or high school is the right time to start exploring career options, compared to just 7% who say college is the right time. CTE helps learners find their passion and prepare for the future before investing in their postsecondary education.

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

A new article on Education Week, explores the ways in which learners gain critical skills such as communication, critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork they need to be successful in a global economy. Read about how CTE and project based learning can be used as a potential strategy to help learners in gaining these skills.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Join a webinar on December 13 from 1 – 2:15 p.m. ET to learn how state leaders can align labor market efforts with the education pipeline to provide students with the academic, technical, and employability skills they need to be successful in the workplace. Aligning the education-to-workforce pipeline can help increase cost-efficiency, promote coherence, and produce better outcomes for students and workers. This webinar will highlight three forthcoming CCRS Center resources, Developing a College- and Career-Ready Workforce: An Analysis of ESSA, Perkins, and WIOA.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Leveraging Federal Policy to Strengthen Rural CTE

November 16th, 2017

New Resource from Advance CTE Identifies Key Leverage Points

Today Advance CTE released a new cheat sheet to help state leaders identify and leverage federal policy to strengthen rural CTE. The brief, developed as part of Advance CTE’s CTE on the Frontier initiative, examines policy and funding intersections between the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins), the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The resource is designed as a conversation starter to help state leaders align supports and services in their states.

Rural America is home to 9.1 million K-12 students and more than half of the nation’s school districts. Many of these students do not go on to earn a postsecondary credential or degree. Only 28 percent of rural adults above the age of 25 held at least a 2-year degree in 2015, compared to 41 percent of urban adults.

CTE can help close this gap and prepare rural learners for the world of work. Already, states are adopting creative measures to ensure programs are high quality, connect rural learners with authentic work-based learning experiences, expand the breadth of options available in rural institutions and strengthen the CTE teacher pipeline. Many of these efforts are supported with state and local funds, but states are also leveraging Perkins reserve funds as well. 

The reserve fund is one of many leverage points in federal legislation that states can use to strengthen CTE in rural areas. Under the Perkins Act, states can set aside up to 10 percent of local funds to provide formula or competitive grants to recipients with either rural populations, high numbers of Career Technical Education (CTE) students or high percentages of CTE students. In Montana, state leaders have used the reserve fund to strengthen Big Sky Pathways in rural schools and focus dollars and supports on state priorities such as expanding dual credit opportunities.

According to a recent survey from Advance CTE, 38 state CTE directors reported using the reserve fund option in 2017, and 27 of those said that supporting rural students is one of the focus areas for their reserve funds this year. States can change their reserve fund priorities from year to year, but the fact that more than half are using the fund to augment rural CTE efforts is a testament to the need in rural communities.

Another example of how federal education programs can be leveraged to support rural communities is the Rural Education Achievement Program under ESSA, which provides supplemental funds to rural schools and districts that can be used to support other local activities. With ESSA’s renewed focus on career readiness and well-rounded education, schools and districts can use these funds to design and expand CTE programs of study, provide professional development for CTE and academic teachers, expand dual credit opportunities, and more. By braiding funds, aligning policy priorities, coordinating service delivery and working to remove barriers across programs, state leaders can better meet the needs of rural learners.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

High-quality State Policy is Crucial for Ensuring Program Quality

October 3rd, 2017

Advance CTE has just released a Policy Benchmark Tool that will allow states to evaluate and improve their program approval policies. In this tool, Advance CTE has defined and described the non-negotiable elements of an effective policy for approving and evaluating programs of study, which encompass both secondary and postsecondary CTE.

Any policy – be it regulatory, legislative or programmatic – related to ensuring high-quality CTE programs are developed and implemented should include and/or address the following core elements. While there may be other elements within a CTE program approval policy, if a state does not address the list below, its CTE program approval policy will not be able to sufficiently ensure that all CTE programs are high-quality.

  1. Rigorous course standards and progressive, sequenced courses: All CTE programs must be comprehensive, aligned with rigorous standards and prepare learners for opportunities in high-skill and in-demand fields
  2. Secondary and postsecondary alignment and early postsecondary offerings: All CTE programs must vertically align across the secondary and postsecondary education levels to ensure seamless transitions for learners, and allow learners to earn credentials of value, including postsecondary certificates and degrees.
  3. Industry involvement: Industry partners at the state and local level must play an active role to identify, develop and regularly review CTE programs of study.  
  4. Labor market demand: CTE programs must prepare learners for careers in high-skill and high-demand fields.
  5. High-quality instruction: Any CTE program must have appropriately certified instructors in place before being approved by the state. Ensuring instructors have the necessary academic content, knowledge of pedagogy and industry expertise must also be a top priority.
  6. Experiential learning: High-quality CTE programs must provide opportunities for learners to engage in authentic experiential learning both inside and outside of the classroom.  

 

State leaders can use the CTE Program Approval Policy Assessment Rubric to identify gaps in their current state policy on these six criteria and prioritize policies that validate potential programs of study in a way that shows they are high-quality and are aligned with the state’s vision and definition of success. Once state leaders have completed an assessment of their state’s CTE program approval policies, they can begin planning for implementation using the templates and prompts. After they have completed these sections, state leaders can then examine the CTE Program Evaluation Policy Criteria for potential criteria to inform CTE program re-approval, evaluation and potentially phasing out CTE programs that are not deemed high-quality.

To support its members in using this tool, Advance CTE has also created a facilitation guide for the rubric, and is eager to provide virtual and/or in-person assistance to a select number of interested states. Email Ashleigh McFadden at amcfadden@careertech.org for more information.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

New Advance CTE Brief on Rural Access to the World of Work

September 28th, 2017

High school students at Tolsia High School in West Virginia have created an industry-validated carpentry business within their classroom.  Students at Haynesville Junior/Senior High School in Louisiana are connected with physical therapists, diesel mechanics, a marriage and family counselor and other industry professionals on a biweekly basis through virtual “micro-industry engagements.” In North Dakota, nursing students can earn their associate’s degree through one of four community colleges, while taking their classes at rural hospitals and health care facilities.  And in Montana, a mobile laboratory is deployed across the state to engage students around various career opportunities.

These are just some of the strategies states are leveraging to ensure all learners – regardless of geography, transportation barriers or the size or diversity of their local industries – are exposed to the world of work.

To help states identify innovative and scalable strategies for ensuring geography doesn’t limit access to real-world experiences, Advance CTE today released the second in a series of briefs titled CTE on the Frontier: Connecting Rural Learners with the World of Work. (You can read the first brief on program quality here). The brief explores state strategies to expand access to work-based learning, employer engagement and industry-driven pathways for rural learners, drawing on promising practices from the states:

  • In West Virginia, Simulated Workplace allows students to transform their classrooms into business and is now available in every school across the state, reaching over 13,000 students.
  • Louisiana – as part of its Jump Start CTE initiative – has launched a multi-faceted effort combining technology and hands-on teacher supports to provide rural students with employer engagement, a process the state calls “micro-industry engagement.”
  • The Dakota Nursing Program, in North Dakota, leverages existing infrastructure and partnerships to turn health care facilities and hospitals into college classrooms, training over 2,000 health care professionals since its launch.
  • Montana is strategically leveraging federal, state and private funds to expand CTE and apprenticeships across the state in health care and other high-demand fields.

While there is no simple solution or silver bullet, states are making important progress and leveraging innovative ways to bring the world of work to learners and provide the necessary resources, technical assistance and supports to ensure local communities can support and sustain those efforts.

CTE on the Frontier: Connecting Rural Learners with the World of Work was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

ESB is Now Open for Business

September 26th, 2017

This post is written by the Certiport, A Pearson VUE Business, who is a Platinum Level sponsor of the 2017 Advance CTE Fall Meeting.

Certiport will host an evening of drinks and small bites at a hospitality suite Tuesday, October 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. in Room 917 of the BWI Marriott. Your RSVP is appreciated, but not required– https://certiportsuite917.eventbrite.com/.

____________________________

Certiport, a Pearson VUE business, has a new certification exam: Entrepreneurship and Small Business! The Entrepreneurship and Small Business (ESB) certification, practice tests, and supporting curriculum were released in early 2017. The ESB certification is built to test and validate foundational-level concepts and knowledge in entrepreneurship and small business management with a 50-minute exam covering topics such as: recognizing and evaluating opportunities, starting and operating a business, marketing and sales, and financial management.

What is the Entrepreneurship and Small Business Certification (ESB)?

ESB is the first in the new Certiport® Business Fundamentals Certification Program, which will also include certification exams in business disciplines such as Digital Marketing and Finance. The ESB exam is intended for use primarily in academic settings including K-12 and vocational schools as well as community and technical colleges.

Candidates for ESB certification will be expected to have key conceptual knowledge of entrepreneurial and small business principles, although it is not required for students to have had real-world experience as a small business manager in order to take and pass the exam. Successful completion of this certification will validate skills and knowledge for those students interested in working in a middle-skill trade profession as their own bosses, and those with entrepreneurship and small business career aspirations.

Why should students study and seek certification in ESB?

Whether it is a beauty salon in a large metropolitan city, a taco shop in a booming resort location, or a car repair garage in the suburbs, an incredible number of small businesses can be found almost everywhere. In fact, in a recent report from Business.com, “every minute, a new business is started in the U.S. and, according to some, more than 50 percent of all workers will be self-employed by 2020.” (The State of Small Business in America, 2015, Business.com, emphasis added.)

ESB certification engages and prepares students who will pursue additional vocational training after their formal schooling or those who elect to enter the small business sector immediately upon graduation. The entrepreneurial concepts validated by this certification ensure that these students are career ready.

Learn More

Learn more about Entrepreneurship and Small Business certification at www.certiport.com/ESB.

We look forward to visiting with you at the Fall Meeting.

Eldon Lechtenberg, Vice President, Sales-Americas
Mike Maddock, VP, Microsoft Volume Licensing Business – Americas
Lori Monson, Senior Director, NOAM Sales
Brent Clark, Director, Strategic Accounts – NOAM

This Week in CTE

September 22nd, 2017

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Safe Students, Safe Workers: Construction Safety Programs in Post-Secondary Career Technical Education Webinar: Learn what post-secondary Career Technical Education programs (CTE) in construction are doing and how to support development of students’ skills for safe work in the classroom and on the job. What administrative systems, instructor support, curriculum content and teaching activities are needed? Presenters will share concrete examples and results from site visits, interviews, and a national survey of instructors and administrators in construction CTE programs in 2-year colleges, as well as action steps and resources for administrators and instructors of CTE programs from a new guide.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK 

Submit a proposal to the 2018 Linked Learning Convention. The Convention brings together more than 900 leaders from education, workforce, research, policy, and nonprofits for strategic conversations and meaningful professional learning aimed at ensuring all students are well prepared for college, career, and life.

TOOL OF THE WEEK 

CNA recently released its interactive labor market analysis tool, which is intended to help CTE stakeholders identify high-wage, high-demand careers and associated education and/or training requirements. The tool was created using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ national job projections until 2024.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate

Excellence in Action Spotlight: Millard Education Career Academy gives students leg up on careers

August 29th, 2017

As teachers around the nation arrive back at their schools this month to set up their classrooms, finalize lesson plans, and take in the calm before the storm, several new members will be among their ranks. To honor the ground work done to prepare them, we’d like to highlight our 2017 Excellence in Action award winner in the Education & Training Career Cluster, the Millard Public Schools Education Career Academy, located at Millard West High School in Omaha, NE.

At Advance CTE, we believe that in order to provide the best Career Technical Education (CTE), programs of study must give all learners authentic, real-world experiences linked to the career interest of their choice. At the Education Career Academy, real-world experiences are the bedrock of the curriculum. In partnership with the school district, students participate in extensive work-based learning internships to put what they’re learning into practice and build connections with educators in their communities.

During their junior year, students enter the workplace for part of the school day one day a week for two, nine-week placements. The first placement pairs education students with a student in a special needs classroom. While education students do not have access to Individualized Education Plan (IEPs), the special education teacher gives them all the goals they are working toward with these students. On the last day of this placement, Academy students present a specialized academic and social lesson plan they’ve designed for their partnered student.

The second nine-week classroom placement is through partnerships with five elementary and three middle schools. These offer a variety of practical experiences – ranging from Montessori classrooms to IB classrooms, schools with high proportions of English language learners to schools with high proportions of low-income students. These experiences include observation and shadowing, as well as mentoring and tutoring a general education student. This array of site placements and multitude of approaches and types of teaching the students get to experience allows them to see what age group and setting they are most suited to teach, and plan their postsecondary education and career pathway accordingly.

For the last nine weeks of their senior year, students are placed for four half days per week in a classroom for an education practicum totaling 108 contact hours. This experience includes collaborating with teachers and parents, lesson design and delivery, and reflection activities throughout. Graduates of the program are armed with a portfolio of lesson plans they’ve designed and implemented and educator feedback, giving them a tremendous leg up in postsecondary and beyond.

Learn more about the Education Career Academy at Millard West High School and our 2017 award winners.

Latest Advance CTE Brief Examines Rural CTE Program Quality

August 22nd, 2017

When Todd County School District received a $103,000 grant in 2014 under Governor Dennis Daugaard’s South Dakota Future Fund, the rural South Dakota district put the money to use, administering a survey of local business leaders to identify the career pathways that were most in need in the community. With the information collected through the survey, Todd County School District updated and aligned Career Technical Education (CTE) curriculum to better reflect employer needs.

Targeted investments like Gov. Daugaard’s fund, which has since evolved into South Dakota’s Workforce Education Grant program, provide a catalyst for rural districts and institutions to improve CTE program quality and ensure career pathways are aligned with labor market needs and student interest.

Improving CTE quality in rural communities is an imperative for all states, yet rural CTE programs often face unique challenges that are not present in more densely populated areas. For example, decentralization, lack of resources and more limited employer relationships in rural communities can result in the preservation of legacy programs over more industry-relevant career pathways. Decisions about what programs to offer are too often driven by the availability of equipment or facilities, teacher supply and even tradition.

To help states improve the quality of rural CTE, Advance CTE today released the first in a series of briefs titled CTE on the Frontier: Catalyzing Local Efforts to Improve Program Quality. The brief explores state strategies to improve the quality of local CTE programs to ensure they meet industry needs and expand opportunities for rural learners, drawing on promising practices from the states:

  • In Nebraska, the reVISION initiative has helped bring together education and business leaders in 87 districts since 2012. Through the initiative, state officials provide local leaders with labor market information to help develop strategic action plans and design CTE programs that are aligned to regional labor market needs.
  • South Dakota’s Workforce Education Grant program distributes competitive funds to support CTE programs in rural districts. Through the 18-month grant period, the South Dakota Department of Education provides technical assistance and coaching to help local grant recipients maximize the use of funds.
  • A program alignment initiative in Idaho has helped link secondary and postsecondary programs through statewide articulation agreements and technical skills assessments. Officials from the Division of Career & Technical Education regularly convene secondary and postsecondary educators to examine student learning expectations and ensure learners are set up for success when they transition to college, no matter where they come from
  • Meanwhile, Mississippi’s Community College Board employs a program approval process that requires all postsecondary programs to justify employer need and student demand before they are approved. Further, postsecondary CTE curricula are developed by the Board, ensuring that all learners, particularly those in rural communities, can access the same high quality, industry-aligned content.

These examples demonstrate different approaches state leaders can take to empower local leaders and support program improvement in rural areas. Future briefs in the CTE on the Frontier series will tackle other common challenges, including learner access to the world of work, employing strategic partnerships to increase program offerings and strengthening the rural CTE teacher pipeline.

CTE on the Frontier: Catalyzing Local Efforts to Improve Program Quality was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

 

 

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