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National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

Career Clusters® Institute Blog series: All Really Does Mean All – The Next Big Challenge Facing Career Clusters®

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the Career Clusters ® Institute. Guest bloggers are among teachers, faculty, researchers and other experts that will present at the national gathering in Fort Worth, TX in June. Today’s guest blogger is Scott Hess, Vice President of Community Partnerships, Ascend Learning CTE (pictured below right).

So you want to be a social worker? Well how about being a nurse instead? They help people too (and, um, we don’t have that Program Of JC Pic 1Study)…

Questions and answers like these are not uncommon for students and their counselors as they try to create a Program of Study (POS) aligned with the student’s career goals and interests.

The dilemma facing many schools today is that, while they want to encourage kids to explore careers in all 16 Career Clusters®, in actuality, they may only offer options in 5 or 6 clusters.  Student participation should not be determined by the size or location of the school they attend.

The traditional ‘Vocational Education’ came under scrutiny because it only provided opportunities for a few students in a few jobs. In reality, we aren’t much better off today. The lack of access to a variety of programs of study is one of the biggest issues facing Career Technical Education (CTE), and it doesn’t only affect rural schools. We have heard from districts in the Washington, DC suburbs that want to respond to their students’ growing interest in local and organic farming, but do not have agricultural programs.  The only way to provide opportunities to all students is by “thinking out of the box,” using a little imagination, taking advantage of technology and creatively addressing outdated policies and other roadblocks.

Recognizing this dilemma, Ascend Learning’s CTE group is working with schools to help them develop and implement blended learning solutions. We bring schools modular content and interactive digital resources that can be used to craft courses that help students study towards industry-recognized credentials wherever they and whenever they have time to study. During our breakout session, we will share some of theseascendCTE_logo_color resources and talk about strategies teachers can use to engage students in a blended learning format.

We also want to help you share your insights about blended learning with other teachers. We will be putting recommendations from the breakout session participants on the Ascend Learning CTE blog following the conference.

Scott’s vendor session is scheduled for Monday, June 10 from 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

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