Welcome to Laura Foley, Oregon’s New State CTE Director!

October 4th, 2017

Laura Foley, Oregon’s new State CTE Director, has viewed her entire professional career, which has included being a social worker, a small business owner and an educator, through a social justice lens.

“My equity lens is always, ‘Who’s paying attention?’” Foley said.

That’s because Foley, who was the first in her family to graduate from high school, was once a child who fell in between state systems and supports. She said she graduated high school with a 4.0 grade point average though sleeping through most of her classes and working 40 hours a week to help her family pay the bills. Her school guidance counselors focused on students deemed on the “college track.”

“I looked at college as a place for rich kids that was just about reading a bunch of books,” she said.

Instead, the local public library was the place she would go to teach herself what she wanted to know – for free. After a number of years, Foley would eventually go on to college, where she finished her undergraduate and master’s degrees in two and a half years.

Foley said she has spent her career trying to find the way to help the most people she can reach.

She first started working in social services, but quickly realized that the work was more reactive and intervention-focused than it was proactive. That realization led her to become a teacher, which instantly felt like a natural fit and could reach up to 300 students and their families each year.

Over the next 18 years, Foley would continue to expand her reach and impact as an instructional coach, then as an administrator and a teacher trainer. Whenever she saw a need, she would work to find a way to fill it, which is why she is now one of five K-12 reading specialists in the state and also once started her own business to design clothing for people with disabilities.

So when the position of State CTE Director became available, moving into the state administration was a natural next step for Foley. In this new post, she plans to use that same approach to ensure equity and opportunity for all students by asking “who’s paying attention” and identifying gaps that need to be filled. She sees the state’s chronic absenteeism and low graduation rates as symptomatic of larger issues.

Foley said she wants to expand career readiness so that students as young as elementary school begin to have authentic exposure to careers. Then during middle school, students are engaging in hands-on, authentic curriculum that encourages them to be creative.

“By the time they get out of high school, they should have a viable plan that they have tried for a while and have received guidance for postsecondary education to help them decide where they want to go and have a good idea what it’s going to take [to get there],” Foley said.

Foley comes into this role at an exciting time, as Oregon has made historic investments in recent years in CTE as well as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Foley said she plans to better connect these two disciplines because there are so many natural collaboration and integration opportunities.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

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

Applications Open for the 2018 Excellence in Action Award

October 2nd, 2017
Do you think you have one of the best Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study in the nation? Apply for the 2018 Excellence in Action award to showcase the amazing work of your students, instructors and faculty at the national level. In its 5th year, this award honors programs across the 16 Career Clusters that exemplify excellence in the implementation of the Career Clusters, show a true progression from secondary to postsecondary education, provide meaningful work-based learning opportunities, and have a substantial and evidence-based impact on student achievement and success.

 

Not only will your program be featured in the media and an awards ceremony in Washington D.C. in the spring, you’ll also be contributing to a positive image of CTE programs. It’s critical to highlight exemplary programs of study to let policymakers, employers and education leaders know that CTE really is for all students, and prepares them for a lifetime of college and career success. Applications are open to secondary and postsecondary schools/institutions. Apply today!

Hear what past award winners had to say: 

“Being selected as an Excellence in Action award winner has been one of the greatest honors that our program has received. The EMS Education Program at Jones County Junior College has always sought to exemplify the characteristics and values that makes Career Technical Education successful. Having been recognized on a national stage by Advance CTE means that we can promote our methods to other programs all across the United States. Since the award, our school has played host to multiple instructors who wish to model our success as an award winner. The recognition is great, but the chance to make a difference with other CTE programs has made everything worthwhile!”

– Eric Williams,
Jones County Junior College, 2017 Award Winner

“The Advance CTE award has elevated expectations for students and staff, but more importantly, it has elevated confidence and reaffirmed our efforts. Similarly, it has enhanced industry and community support and awareness for each of our programs.”

-Jason Jeffrey, EdD
Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District, 2016 Award Winner

“The Excellence in Action award is a validation of the needs for CTE skills we teach on a daily basis. It helps to reflect the dedication we put into preparing our students to be career ready.”

– Shay Williams,
Tulare Joint Union High School District Farm, 2016 Award Winner

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

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

President Trump Signs STEM Memo, U.S. Department of Education Adds Senior Staff

September 27th, 2017

It’s been a busy week in Washington! President Trump signed a memorandum on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). In addition, the U.S. Department of Education has announced new hires and decisions about guidance on campus sexual misconduct. Read below to find out more about the memo, the U.S. Department of Education’s new staff and new guidance.

President Trump Signs Memo on Increasing Access to High-Quality STEM Education

On September 25, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Education that establishes “promotion of high-quality STEM education, with a particular focus on Computer Science as a Department of Education priority.” In addition, it directs the Secretary of Education to devote “at least $200 million in grant funds per year to the promotion of high‑quality STEM education, including Computer Science in particular.”

New Senior Staff at the U.S. Department of Education

On September 26, Secretary DeVos announced that two new Senior Staff will be joining the U.S. Department of Education on October 2, 2017. Dr. Michael Wooten will be the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). Dr. Leonard Haynes will be the Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary. You can find additional information about both new hires in the U.S. Department of Education’s press release here.

U.S. Department of Education Withdraws Guidance, Releases Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct

On September 22, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter on Seuxal Violence and the April 29, 2014 Q&A on Title IX Sexual Violence would be withdrawn. In addition, a new interim Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct was released. The Department’s press release noted that “In the coming months, the Department intends to engage in rulemaking on Title IX responsibilities arising from complaints of sexual misconduct. The Department will solicit comments from stakeholders and the public during the rulemaking process, a legal procedure the prior administration ignored.”

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy 

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

New Tool Helps Instructors Embed Global Competence in CTE Coursework

September 20th, 2017

Today, a free professional development course and toolkit was released to help educators address a critical imperative: to prepare all students for work and civic roles in an environment where success increasingly requires the ability to compete, connect, and cooperate on an international scale.

Created by the Center for Global Education in partnership with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and Advance CTE and supported through the generosity of the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF), “Global Competence Through Career and Technical Education” is a customizable, 10-12 hour, online course and toolkit for middle and secondary school CTE teachers.

One in ten Americans is foreign born, and local communities-urban, suburban, and rural-are growing more diverse. To take advantage of global market opportunities, companies must hire workers with global competence-that is, the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance. With an anchor in preparing students for the careers of their choice and a focus on the critical academic, technical, and employability skills needed for success, CTE offers a natural platform on which to build global competencies. Furthermore, integrating project management into CTE curricula helps students strengthen the skills necessary to cooperate in teams, identify and mitigate risk, and execute and monitor collaborative work, skills imperative in the 21st century workforce.

The online course is available through ACTE’s CTE Learn community and the toolkit is available on the Center for Global Education website.
The project addresses three main objectives:

  • Educate and engage with CTE stakeholders on the need for global competence in order to prepare students to meet the demands of careers in a global 21st century.
  • Educate CTE teachers and students about the global career opportunities that exist in CTE pathways.
  • Build educator capacity to integrate global competence and project management into CTE career exploration and classroom projects.

Check out the toolkit here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

States Can Strengthen Career Readiness Under ESSA; Will Round Two States Seize the Opportunity?

September 20th, 2017

Nearly two years of planning came to a head on Monday as states hit the second plan submission window under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Under the law, states are required to engage in stakeholder consultation and develop a comprehensive, statewide strategy for spending and holding districts and schools accountable for billions of dollars in K-12 federal education funding.

Secretary Betsy DeVos’s Education Department is now responsible for reviewing and approving state implementation plans. However, review of the first round of state plans is still ongoing and four round two states have been granted an extension due to this year’s catastrophic hurricane season. Since the initial submission window in April of this year, Sec. DeVos has publicly approved 14 out of 17 plans, with Michigan, Massachusetts and Colorado still waiting for approval. The department is expected to approve those plans shortly. Among the states scheduled to submit plans this week, Texas, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina — each still reeling from the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma — have been permitted to submit their pans later this fall.

Not all state plans have gone without controversy either. The extensive plan development process surfaced differences of opinion between various policymakers and stakeholders. In a few cases, state governors refused to sign their state plans before they were submitted to the U.S. Department of Education. While states are required to provide the governor 30 days to review and comment on the plan, ESSA does not explicitly require the governor’s approval.

Career Readiness in ESSA

As Advance CTE has discussed at length, there are several leverage points within ESSA — most of them new in this version of the law — that policymakers can use to drive career readiness in their states. The primary leverage points include:

  • Vision and Goal Setting: ESSA requires states to set out long-term goals for academic achievement, but states can go beyond the statute by setting ambitious targets for credential attainment, career readiness and successful postsecondary transitions. Articulating clear goals helps anchor the plan and ensure all strategies are aligned to serve the same end.
  • Accountability (Title I): Accountability is the most direct way states can incentivize career readiness through ESSA. States can use the “School Quality and Student Success” indicator — also known as the fifth indicator — to measure how well schools and local education agencies are preparing learners for successful transitions to college and careers.
  • Supporting Effective Instruction (Title II, Part A): Funds under Title II, Part A are often sub granted to local education agencies to provide professional development and support class size reduction strategies. However, ESSA allows states to set aside funds to train teachers and school leaders on strategies for integrating CTE and academic content as well as interpreting labor market information.
  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (Title IV, Part A): New under ESSA is the Title IV, Part A block grant, which consolidated categorically funded programs under the No Child Left Behind Act to give states and local school districts more agency to support student needs. Under the statute, grant funds may be used to support a well-rounded education, which now includes CTE.
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers (Title IV, Part B): 21st Century Community Learning Centers are designed to supplement the K-12 experience through non-school hours. They are required to support programs and activities related to a well-rounded education, including CTE. In the first round, a number of states chose to prioritize programs providing work-based learning, CTE and other career preparation activities.

While 11 of the first 17 submitted state plans included (or plan to include) a career-focused measure in their high school accountability rating systems, states overall missed the opportunity to fully leverage ESSA to maximize career readiness. Only five states describes specific state-level activities to support career readiness, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) and/or dual enrollment under Title IV, Part A. And only two states identified opportunities to support blended academic and technical professional development under Title II, Part B.

Nevertheless, there is still flexibility for state and local leaders to go beyond what is specifically laid out in their ESSA plans to adopt career readiness strategies and prepare learners for post-high school transitions. Local education agencies must develop their own strategic plans for using ESSA funds. Depending on their local context, school districts may elect to prioritize work-based learning, credential attainment and CTE programs of study.

In the coming months, Advance CTE will review the 34 remaining ESSA plans to determine where and how states are making connections between ESSA and career readiness. This analysis, to be released later this year, will update this summer’s “Mapping Career Readiness in State ESSA Plans” report.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Congress Continues Appropriations Process, Secretary DeVos on “Rethink School” Tour

September 15th, 2017

News This Week

Congress is back in session and the pace is picking up again in Washington! Both the House and Senate have been busy with the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) appropriations process. In addition, Secretary DeVos is on a “Rethink School” tour this week. Read below to find out more about FY18 spending decisions and details on Secretary DeVos’ tour.

Continuing Resolution Approved

On September 8, President Trump signed H.R. 601, a short-term spending measure (known as a continuing resolution) that would fund the government through December 8. While the measure keeps the government open until that time, it included a small reduction in funds across all programs in order to comply with current budget caps. This means that some states may see a slightly smaller allocation for the portion of funds in the Perkins Basic State Grant that will be disbursed October 1st. However, there will be opportunities to restore these funds when appropriators work on their final FY18 spending bills (more on this below).

House and Senate Work on Appropriations Bills 

The House Rules Committee held hearings on the eight bill omnibus appropriations bill, H.R. 3354 starting on Tuesday, September 5 and continued their considerations of testimony and amendments through Wednesday, September 13. This bill includes the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies spending bill, which included level-funding for the FY18 allocation for Perkins Basic State Grants and National Programs. The bill was bundled with seven other appropriations bills in H.R. 3354, which passed the House on September 14 on a 211-198 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.

The Senate is also working on its appropriations bills. On September 6, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee held a mark up of their appropriations bill. On September 7, the full Senate Appropriations committee approved the bill, which which included level-funding for the FY18 allocation for Perkins Basic State Grants and National Programs. Congress will need to finalize all of the FY18 spending bills by December 8 in order to avoid a government shutdown.

Secretary DeVos Embarks on “Rethink School Tour”

On Tuesday, September 12, Secretary DeVos headed to two schools in Wyoming to kick off the “Rethink School” tour. The tour will “showcase creative ways in which education leaders are meeting the needs of students in K-12 and higher education” according to the media advisory. From September 13-15, Secretary DeVos traveled to schools across Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana and to Johnson County Community College in Kansas. Find out more about the tour and which schools she visited here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy 

 

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