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Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

Achieving Excellence: What’s New at SIRDC?

June 6th, 2014

SFA

Greetings from the great state of Texas and the Statewide Instructional Resources Development Center (SIRDC)!

Our team is once again looking forward to presenting a breakout session at Achieving Excellence in CTE: The National Career Clusters® Institute. We have added lots of new free lessons, teacher online courses, and resources to our website for use this coming year that we are anxious to share with you. Yes, everything on the website is still free, no username, password or credit card required! SIRDC is funded by the Texas Education Agency through a Perkins state leadership grant awarded to Stephen F. Austin State University. The purpose of this project is to develop and provide free instructional lessons, resources and professional development for Texas instructors teaching 25 courses in the following career clusters:

  • Education and Training
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Human Services

There are currently over 280 instructional lessons published on our website http://cte.sfasu.edu/with additional lessons published monthly. Each lesson includes, in addition to the basic components, suggestions for special needs and ELL students, connections to core subject matter, handouts and activities, reading and writing strategies, CTSO and service learning ideas, and much more. SIRDC also provides 23 free teacher online courses, including an opportunity for instructors to earn CPE’s, see http://cte.sfasu.edu/course/lifetime-nutrition-and-wellness/, links to additional cluster/course resources, see http://cte.sfasu.edu/rgroup/instructional-practices-in-education/ and a free monthly newsletter, see http://cte.sfasu.edu/c/newsletters/

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to contact me. We look forward to being with you in beautiful Phoenix, AZ!

Sandra Ann Delgado, CTE Associate Project Director, Statewide Instructional Resources Development Center

CTE Research Review

June 6th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013The National Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) recently released a case study of Memphis City Schools’ multi-year effort to scale up access to dual and concurrent enrollment opportunities. The report indicates that Memphis is a CTE trailblazer for its sustained, targeted investment in district-wide dual enrollment, rare in most communities and even less common among large urban areas with high numbers of traditionally underserved students.

The report focuses on how Memphis schools implemented its dual enrollment initiative, and offers best practices for others interested in looking to make a similar investment. The study also shared Memphis’ experience working with local and state policymakers and other institutional leaders concerned with easing the pathway into college. The case study, Expanding Access to Dual Enrollment and College: A Case Study of Memphis City Schools, was conducted by researchers from the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools & Teaching at Columbia University’s Teachers College and was commissioned by NACEP.

Also last week, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics released its annual Condition of Education report. Though there are no CTE-specific trends this year’s report, it’s worth checking out the latest trends in postsecondary education enrollment and attainment.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

New Resources Available for Employability Skills

June 2nd, 2014

The Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) has released new resources to help educators further integrate employability skills into high quality CTE programs.

To introduce the new resources released last week, our own Executive Director Kimberly Green participated in a webinar entitled Why Do Employability Skills Matter? A video of her presentation and those of fellow presenters is available via the Perkins Collaborative Resources Network.

The Employability Skills Framework website also offers sections for educators, employers and policymakers as well as a variety of assessments and crosswalks between these skills, the Common Core State Standards and the Common Career Technical Core. Check out this presentation to explore these new resources further.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Achieving Excellence: Developing Embedded Educational Technology Professional Development Programs

May 28th, 2014

Below is an extended session description from presenter Urvi Shah, Director of Educational Technology and Innovation at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, on her upcoming session at Achieving Excellence in CTE: The National Career Clusters Institute. Sign up for this session and more today!

shah

At Stone Ridge, we have a dynamic, engaged and motivated teaching faculty dedicated to using technology to bring forth the full potential of their students. Teachers utilize technology to teach as well as to encourage deeper student learning.

The educational technology team (made up of the Director of EdTech and Innovation as well as three Educational Technologists) at Stone Ridge has observed that the following four teacher-driven factors influence effective use and application of technology in the classroom: motivation, energy, time and resource. We recognize that the vast majority of our teachers are self-motivated to effectively utilize educational technology and have the necessary energy to put thought into their curriculum planning. However, our teachers were lacking the time and resources (especially in the form of guidance) to explore, experiment with and discuss the uses of technology for teaching and learning.

Based on these observations, the team worked with administration at Stone Ridge to develop an embedded educational technology professional development program called “Tech Sessions.” The purpose of “Tech Sessions” is to embed professional development into teacher schedules.

These sessions, which occur once every 6-8 days for 30 minutes during the school day, are assiduously developed and lead by the division’s educational technologist. The embedded nature of these sessions allows for teachers to receive regular professional development tailored and geared toward the individual teacher’s learning style, subject area and/or grade.

This embedded professional development model serves three purposes:

1) It fosters a relationship between the teachers and the educational technologists.shah1

2) It develops a safe environment for rich discussion and collaboration.

3) It encourages creativity and innovation.

Through these sessions, teachers have been booking the educational technologist to co-teach in the classroom, as well as work with teachers to plan curriculum. Teachers are beginning to feel supported and encouraged in their educational technology endeavors and finding ways to inspire their students to learn deeply.

This presentation at the Achieving Excellence Institute looks deeper into the technicalities of setting up an embedded educational technology professional development program as well as the impact it has on teaching and learning.

Ms. Urvi Shah, Director of Educational Technology and Innovation, Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart

Achieving Excellence: Integrating Common Core Standards into Engaging Problem Based Learning Projects

May 28th, 2014

Integrating CCSS into CTE

Below is an extended session description from presenter John Schwan, Business Instructor and Adjunct Professor at Oakton Community College, on his upcoming session at Achieving Excellence in CTE, the National Career Clusters Institute. Sign up for this session and more today!

Maine East High School’s business education programs have focused on the development and implementation of problem based learning strategies. The foundation of these strategies has been the integration of common core standards combined with the building of business education partnerships.

This upcoming session will focus on how CTE educators can use problem based learning strategies that are based on common core standards to drive the development of business - education partnerships in the private and public sectors.  The session will also show how these strategies can be successfully replicated by CTE educators.

The session will share a template for a CTE problem based learning curriculum based on common core standards.  He will demonstrate how this curriculum was used to successfully engage their students (grades 9-12) in higher levels of learning backed by data and evidence. He will show how CTE educators can replicate these ideas to drive the development of business – education partnerships in the private and public sectors.

There will be several interactive and collaborative activities during the session where participants will apply the concepts and tools presented in the presentation. As part of these collaborative activities, participants will be asked to share how they would use these concepts and tools in their CTE programs at their schools.

You can view an example of the Maine East CTE problem based learning strategies that will presented in the presentation at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9m2fvJuzyV0.

Mr. John Schwan, Business Instructor, Adjunct Professor of Business at Oakton Community College

Catching Up With … State Legislatures (Part 1)

May 27th, 2014

Catching Up Series

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series that will highlight some of this year’s major state legislature activity as it relates to Career Technical Education (CTE). Further explanation of the series can be found here. For a comprehensive look-back at the 2013 legislative sessions, check out the “2013 CTE Year in Review,” which was published jointly by NASDCTEc and the Association for Career and Technical Education in March.

There was significant legislative activity related to postsecondary education this spring – with a couple of landmark bills that even caught the attention of national media.

Postsecondary Funding

One of the most notable higher education bills to pass thus far hails from Tennessee, where Governor Bill Haslam recently signed into law the, “Tennessee Promise Scholarship Act.” The law, which will largely be paid for through lottery revenues, guarantees two years of free tuition at a community college or college of applied technology for all graduating high school seniors starting in 2015. Gov. Haslam first proposed in this year’s State of the State address as the cornerstone of his year-old Drive to 55 initiative to increase Tennessean higher education attainment to 55 percent by 2025.

Two other states also made forays into this arena. The Oregon state legislature directed its Higher Education Coordinating Commission to explore the possibility of a free tuition program. The commission is expected to submit its report by September 30. A similar effort in Mississippi, however, died in committee.

Colorado gave its higher education system a much-needed infusion of funds after years of budget cuts. The legislation known as the “College Affordability Act,” was signed by Governor John Hickenlooper in early May and increases higher education funding by $100 million for the 2014-2015 academic year (AY). The bill also institutes a six percent cap on tuition increases for the next two years.  Of that $100 million, 13 percent will be directed to community colleges, 40 percent to student aid and the remaining 53 percent to other higher education institutions.

Colorado’s legislature also passed a measure that would use outcome measures such as student retention and completion rates to determine an institution’s state funding. Currently, the bill has been sent to the governor for signature. Much of the proposed legislation is vague, and if signed into law, such details would be determined by the Department of Higher Education and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

Postsecondary Attainment Plans

Oregon lawmakers added apprenticeships to its higher education attainment plan, also known as the “40-40-20” goal. The plan, which was launched in 2011, states that by 2025 all adult Oregonians will hold a high school diploma or equivalency (the remaining 20 percent), 40 percent will have an associate’s degree or meaningful postsecondary credential, and 40 percent will hold a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree. Under this newest addition, apprenticeships registered with the State Apprenticeship and Training Council now qualify as a meaningful postsecondary credential.

Washington adopted two statewide education attainment goals as part of its 10-year higher education roadmap, which was originally unveiled in 2013. The Washington Student Achievement Council detailed these goals in a report it sent to the legislature in December and includes benchmarks necessary to reach them. The goals are for all Washington adults will have a high school diploma or equivalent and at least 70 percent of Washington adults will have a postsecondary credential.

Bachelor’s Degrees at Community Colleges

Following in the footsteps of more than 20 other states, Colorado also authorized community colleges to offer applied science bachelor’s degrees. While one more state joined a growing list, another decided to step back, momentarily.  The Florida legislature placed a one-year moratorium that prohibits the state’s community colleges from adding any new four-year degree programs. With 24 colleges offering a total of 175 degree programs and the number of such degrees awarded doubling in 2013, lawmakers became concerned that colleges were overstepping their bounds.

Did we miss something related to higher education in your state? Drop us an email!

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Achieving Excellence: Best Practices for CTE Participation in IEP Meetings

May 23rd, 2014

Best Practices

Below is an extended session description from presenter Lakshmi Mahadevan, Assistant Professor/Extension Specialist, Career Technical Special Populations Training & Resource Education Center, Department of Family Development and Resource Management, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service , on her upcoming session at Achieving Excellence in CTE: The National Career Clusters Institute. Sign up for this session and more today!

Research shows that there is an increase in the number of students with disabilities being enrolled into CTE programs of study and that their diagnosis-related needs present unique challenges to CTE instructors. In order to ensure a successful and safe learning environment for all, CTE instructors will need to advocate effectively for both students as well as their curriculum at IEP meetings. This presentation will train CTE instructors to do just that.

With the increasing enrollment of students with disabilities in CTE classes, most CTE educators attending IEP meetings should be able to actively participate in the process such that their students receive Free and Appropriate Public Education. Active CTE instructors’ participation entails asking insightful questions, explaining the rigorous and relevant nature of CTE programs of study, collaborating with key personnel, formulating IEP goals related to CTE courses and providing suggestions for accommodations and modifications. In addition CTE instructors need to understand state and federal laws and their rights as regards their access to the student’s information because they have an “educational need to know”.

Specifically participants attending this session will learn to describe and list the unique features of CTE courses using a

  • Basic Skills Inventory,
  • Program Inventory and
  • Comprehensive Skills Inventory.

These tools are designed to

  • Enable IEP committees to make informed CTE- related initial and continuing placement decisions even during the absence of a CTE representative;
  • Develop ways to improve students’ learning experiences in CTE classrooms and labs and
  • Help CTE Instructors to advocate for their students and the coursework such that the outcomes of the IEP meetings are optimal for all.

Lakshmi Mahadevan, Assistant Professor/Extension Specialist, Career Technical Special Populations Training & Resource Education Center, Department of Family Development and Resource Management, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service 

Legislative Update: Congress Announces Agreement on Workforce Development Legislation

May 23rd, 2014

CapitolMore than a decade has passed since the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) was originally due for reauthorization. In that time, Congress has come close to an agreement a few times for overhauling the law, but never got as far as it did this past Wednesday. After months of negotiations between both parties in the House and Senate, lawmakers announced they had reached a deal on the long anticipated reauthorization of the federal government’s largest piece of workforce development legislation.

Dubbed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the bicameral, bipartisan legislation is a compromise between the House-passed SKILLS Act (H.R. 803) and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s WIA reauthorization legislation (S. 1356). A side-by-side comparison of the proposals can be found here.

The compromise legislation unveiled on Wednesday, contains a number of promising provisions that NASDCTEc and the broader Career Technical Education (CTE) community have been urging Congress to take up since the reauthorization process for WIA began. Specifically, NASDCTEc had raised concerns regarding provisions in both the Senate and House proposals to alter how one-stop infrastructure is funded. Proposals contained in each would have impacted state and local Perkins recipient’s capacity to effectively administer CTE programs and activities.

One-Stop Infrastructure Funding

Currently, WIA does not provide direct funding for the operational costs of one-stop centers and WIOA proposes to follow in that same vein. Much like the current system, WIOA would require that all mandatory partners contribute to the infrastructure costs of one-stop centers, but would do so with more vigor than in current law. The main impetus behind this is to spur greater collaboration among the WIA one-stop system and its partners. Additionally, funding the costs of one-stop infrastructure in this fashion will allow a greater portion of federal appropriations under this act to go towards direct training costs.

Postsecondary CTE programs which receive funding from the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) are among the required partners in the WIA/WIOA one-stop delivery system—  a central point of service for state and local WIA/WIOA training and employment activities where activities with partner programs must also be coordinated. Funding for infrastructure would pay for the operational costs of these one-stop centers.

Under this proposal, local Workforce Development Boards (currently known as local workforce investment boards) are first directed to come to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on infrastructure funding contribution levels, other shared costs, and how the partners would deliver services under the system. Put another way, an MOU is a consensus agreement on those issues among the local board, chief elected officials and one-stop partners in a local area. If such an agreement is not reached, a funding mechanism would be used to require each one-stop partner to contribute up to 1.5 percent of total grant funds available for administrative purposes. However, the contribution level could vary as the Governor must first make a determination for each local one-stop partner’s individual contribution based on a number of factors. By default, these funds would be sent to the Governor, who would then use the contribution to pay for costs of one-stop infrastructure in a local area.

During the process of determining a one-stop partner’s contribution, the Governor must take into account the existing statutory obligations and ability of a program to meet those requirements. Additionally, contributions are required to be calculated based on a “proportionate use” of the one-stop system. Both of these provisions were proposals NASDCTEc and its partners called for as Congressional negotiators worked towards this bipartisan compromise.

Significantly, if a state places the authority of a partner program’s funding outside of the Governor’s office, then the chief official within that agency or entity would execute the above responsibilities on behalf of the Governor. Since Perkins funding in many states flow through an eligible agency fitting this description, the state agency responsible for Perkins would still retain significant oversight  and input into how postsecondary CTE programs receiving Perkins funding would contribute to the one-stop system. While a separate funding stream for infrastructure funding would have been ideal to fully meet the infrastructure costs of the one-stop system, this compromise was needed given the tight fiscal and budgetary constraints under which this bill was negotiated and written.

To recap, only postsecondary CTE programs receiving funding from the Perkins Act would be required partners in the WIOA one-stop system. All of the one-stop partners in a local area must first attempt to come to a voluntary agreement, in the form of an MOU, to fund the costs of infrastructure and to decide how partners would deliver services in the one-stop system. Failure to reach an MOU would trigger the above funding mechanism which would be imposed only on local partner programs in a particular local area where an MOU was not reached. Additional provisions have also been added to this mechanism that would take into consideration partner programs’ statutory obligations and their ability to meet those requirements along with their proportional use of the one-stop system. Most importantly, if a state places Perkins funding authority outside of the Governor’s office, then the chief official in that agency or department would have a significant amount of oversight and input into how these contribution levels are determined.

Sequence of Services Eliminated, Along With 15 Existing Programs

WIOA also proposes to eliminate the “sequence of services” provision contained in current law that requires individuals to go through a prescribed sequence of core services before gaining access to more relevant training. This has been consolidated into “career services,” which holds as a goal to more effectively assess the unique needs of individuals seeking services from the various programs authorized under this legislation. WIOA also consolidates 15 existing programs, many of which are currently authorized, but have been unfunded for a number of years. In total, 14 workforce programs and one higher education program would be consolidated under the proposed legislation.

Board Size, Composition and Direct Contracting

State and local workforce development boards would also be reduced in overall size in an effort to increase their efficiency. Business majorities have been maintained on each and the local iterations encouragingly require representation from adult education and literacy provides, institutions of higher education and can also include representatives from local education agencies. CTE representation is also encouraged, but not a requirement for either board.

Another promising aspect of WIOA is the new found ability of local workforce development boards to directly contract with community colleges. Such contracted training supports faster development and implementation of training programs, and would help to better address current and emerging labor market trends while also quickly increasing capacity during times of high demand. Additionally, WIOA would designate area career and technical education schools as eligible one-stop operators. This designation allows area CTE centers, along with a host of other institutions such as those in the higher education space, to receive funding under the legislation to operate as a one-stop center.

Accountability, Career Pathways and State Leadership

WIOA completely revises the accountability section of the existing law, introducing common performance metrics for all the programs authorized under the act. Primary metrics center mainly on employment after program exit, postsecondary education after program completion (for youth programs), median earnings, credential attainment, skills gains and employer engagement. The proposed legislation would also prioritize industry recognized certifications and credentials, another encouraging aspect of the proposal.

There is also a renewed focus on career pathways within WIOA and it introduces a statutory definition seeking to align education, training and other programs into a coherent path towards employment or further postsecondary education. Many of the elements contained in this definition integrate well into a CTE program of study (POS) framework and could compliment stronger aspects of a program of study structure in a newly reauthorized Perkins Act.

Congressional negotiators also sent a strong message regarding the importance of state leadership in education and workforce training programs. WIOA would re-instate the 15 percent set-aside for Governors to carry out statewide initiatives tailored to the individual needs of their particular state.

Outlook and Prospects for WIOA

This overview is by no means exhaustive and there are still many details and aspects of the bill that could change WIOA as it makes its way through both the Senate and the House over the coming weeks and months. Nevertheless, this is the furthest Congress has come in reauthorizing this critical piece of federal workforce development legislation. While not perfect in every respect, WIOA is a positive step in the right direction and NASDCTEc applauds the efforts of Congress to move forward on these critically important issues.

WIOA is currently in the Senate, where it has been introduced as a substitute amendment for the House-passed SKILLS Act (H.R. 803). Senate leaders have hotlined the bill — a parliamentary maneuver which they hope will speed up the Chamber’s consideration of the legislation before it moves on to the House. Congressional aides expect legislative action surrounding WIOA to begin in earnest following the Memorial Day recess. As this process unfolds, NASDCTEc will keep the CTE community informed as to its progress.

Information on the bill, including the full text, one-pagers and factsheets, can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

Mark your Calendar for NASDCTEc Upcoming Webinar – Legislative Update: Summer Edition June 5, 2014

May 23rd, 2014

Legislative Update: Summer Edition Description

As the school year winds down and students gear up for summer vacation join NASDCTEc’s Government Relations Associate, Steve Voytek for a legislative update on federal activity related to Career Technical Education (CTE) and an outlook on the Fiscal Year (FY) 15 funding landscape. Since late last year, Congress has taken steps toward reauthorizing several pieces of legislation that impact CTE including the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and the Workforce Investment Act.

In addition to updates on these key pieces of legislation, the Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Education have undertaken a number of CTE-related initiatives this year in an effort to boost its support for CTE.

Date: June 5, 2014

Time: 3 p.m.-4 p.m. ET

Access: pre-registration not required. To join the webinar, click here about 10 minutes before the broadcast and enter as a guest.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

REMINDER: Webinar on Making Career Readiness Count next Tuesday!

May 22nd, 2014

On Tuesday, May 27 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EST, NASDCTEc in partnership with Achieve will be hosting a webinar to provide guidance to states interested in building more indicators of career preparation into accountability and public reporting systems.  NASDCTEc and Achieve will be simultaneously releasing a new joint publication on the topic.

On this webinar, we will share how states are currently approaching this challenge and what state policy leaders need to consider as they look to reform their own reporting and accountability systems to ensure that the “career” in college- and career-ready accountability and public reporting is a powerful lever to focus priorities, drive progress, and ultimately see more students and their communities succeed.

To share two state perspectives, we’ll be joined by Dennis Cooper, Assistant Commissioner, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; Dennis Harden, Career Education Coordinator, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; and Deborah Jonas, Special Advisor for Research and Planning, Virginia Department of Education.

Please share this information with your colleagues at the state level who may be interested in this discussion.  Details on how to join the webinar can be found below.

To join the webinar, please dial:  1 (800) 697-5978 and enter: 6460 369#

To access the webinar slides, please CLICK HERE

 

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