Posts Tagged ‘Nebraska’

This Week in CTE

Friday, June 26th, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.

VIRTUAL CONFERENCE OF THE WEEK

Nebraska Career and Technical Education (CTE) held a Virtual Symposium, which was the first of its kind for the state. There were more than 700 CTE district, state and national level attendees. Among them were Commissioner Matt Blomstedt and Scott Stump, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education for the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education.

During the symposium, winners of the annual Nebraska Excellence in Career and Technical Education Awards and Richard Katt Outstanding Nebraska Career and Technical Educators Awards were announced. Read more about the symposium and learn more about the award winners here

STUDENT OF THE WEEK

In Michigan, one student has shown great leadership by joining Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Return to Learn Council. Dominic Gonzalez is one of the district’s dual enrollment learners, which allows him to attend a local community college and earn college credit while still in high school. Dominic will be tasked with providing Governor Whitmer and the council a student perspective of what returning to school should look like in the fall. Read more in the article published by The Detroit News.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Texas CTE students did not let graduation or the pandemic stop them from completing one meaningful project. Engineering and veterinary science students developed a prosthetic paw for a local puppy who suffered complications at birth. View this video for highlights from the project, prototypes of the prosthetic paw and the student’s stories. 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE OF THE WEEK

The U.S. Department of Education approved four more state plans under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V): Arkansas, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee. 35 state plans are approved in total so far. Check out this chart to see which states have been approved, and links to the state plans.   

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Launched in 2016, JPMorgan Chase & Co. New Skills for Youth is a $75 million, five-year global initiative aimed at transforming how cities and states ensure that young people are career ready. The local investments from across the world – Innovation Sites – aim to identify and implement the most promising ideas in career education, with a special focus on communities with the greatest needs. Over the past year, Advance CTE has released a series of snapshots documenting the progress of the local investments. This week, Advance CTE released the final two snapshots featuring investments in the Greater Washington Region and Germany.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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Middle Grades CTE: Standards, Curriculum & Assessment

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

There is widespread agreement that high school is too late to begin to expose learners to careers and the foundational skills needed to access and succeed in careers, but there remains a lack of consensus about what CTE and career readiness should entail at the middle grades level.

Advance CTE, with support from ACTE, convened a Shared Solutions Workgroup of national, state and local leaders to identify the core components of a meaningful middle grades CTE experience. This collaboration resulted in Broadening the Path: Design Principles for Middle Grades CTE and a companion blog series exploring each of the core programmatic elements of middle grades CTE defined in the paper. In this first entry in the blog series, we will examine the core programmatic element of standards, curriculum and assessment.

As the backbone of a robust middle school CTE experience, middle grades CTE curriculum should ensure that students are exposed to careers across all 16 Career Clusters®, supplemented by opportunities to dig deeper into career areas of interest. Curriculum and assessments should be based on clear, consistent standards that integrate academic, employability and, where appropriate, foundational technical skills and align to other relevant standards across the education continuum.

A number of states have developed, or are in the process of developing, standards for middle grades CTE and career development. Idaho has taken a rigorous approach to this work, partnering with Education Northwest to gather input from stakeholders through a statewide survey, regional focus groups and research on middle grades standards in other states. This process has led to a set of standards organized around three questions—“Who am I?” (self-evaluation), “What’s out there for me?” (career exploration) and “How do I get there?” (future planning). Ten schools will pilot the standards and associated materials in the 2020-21 school year.

In addition to standards development, states have created curriculum, lesson plans and assessments to help bring CTE and career exploration into the middle grades. For instance, Nebraska has developed a Career Development Model and Toolkit that includes a library of lesson plans for PK-12 learners that can be filtered by each of the state’s career readiness standards. The Technical Assistance Center of New York has developed rubrics to support CTE teachers in assessing life/career competencies in the middle grades. Teachers can create their own customized rubrics.

On the local level, Peoria Unified School District in Arizona has built a two-year curriculum for seventh- and eighth-grade students called Technology, Life & Careers (TLC). The TLC curriculum includes classroom- and lab-based instruction across multiple CTE subject areas as well as career assessments and interest inventories, work-based learning experiences and career and technical student organizations. The program culminates with students taking a deep dive into their career areas of interest and beginning their state-mandated Education and Career Action Plans.

As you reflect on this element of middle grades CTE in your state, district or school, consider such questions as:

For additional resources relevant to middle grades CTE standards, curriculum and assessment, check out the Middle Grades CTE Repository, another deliverable of this Shared Solutions Workgroup.

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Middle Grades CTE
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Aligning to Opportunity: State Approaches to Setting High Skill, High Wage and In Demand

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) places a strong emphasis on the alignment of Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study with state, regional and local economies. The legislation requires Perkins-funded programs to prepare students for “high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand occupations.” These terms — high skill, high wage and in demand — are foundational to Perkins V, appearing in both the purpose of the law and the definition of CTE.

As with many Perkins V requirements, the responsibility of defining these terms rests solely with states, providing them with a major opportunity to set a meaningful bar for determining which career opportunities anchor their CTE programs. The stronger focus on labor market alignment compels state CTE leaders to ensure that all program offerings are relevant to today’s economy and that learners will participate in CTE programs with data-driven and validated labor market value.

Advance CTE newest paper, Aligning to Opportunity: State Approaches to Setting High Skill, High Wage and In Demand, describes some approaches that states are taking to partner across agencies to access and review labor market information; develop definitions for high skill, high wage and in demand; provide local flexibility, while maintaining guardrails; and disseminate the information widely to key audiences.

For example:

For more, including specific definitions used by the states mentioned above and others, read Aligning to Opportunity: State Approaches to Setting High Skill, High Wage and In Demand.

The report was made possible by the generous support of the Joyce Foundation.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Publications, Resources
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How States Are Leveraging ESSA to Advance Career Readiness

Monday, April 1st, 2019

By now the consensus in the education community is clear: in addition to a strong academic foundation, students should be able to access other experiences in high school — physical education, the arts, Career Technical Education (CTE) — that provide added value to their education and increase the likelihood of postsecondary success.

The notion that high schools should provide a “well-rounded education” was codified in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015. The law, which Congress passed with bipartisan support, provides several opportunities for integrating CTE and other well-rounded learning opportunities into the traditional high school experience, which Advance CTE has covered extensively on this blog and in our publications. More than four years after the law was passed, some states have begun to leverage these opportunities to advance career readiness  in high school.

Expanding Opportunities for Each Child in Ohio

One often overlooked opportunity in ESSA is the Direct Student Services (DSS) provision. DSS allows states to set aside up to 3 percent of their basic Title I grants to help local education agencies expand access to advanced coursework and CTE. Only two states — Louisiana and New Mexico — opted to use the allowance in their submitted ESSA plans. But they were soon joined by Ohio, which decided in 2018 to leverage the DSS allowance to launch a new grant program called Expanding Opportunities for Each Child.

The program has two primary objectives: developing and expanding access to career pathways that culminate in high-value credentials and promoting access and success in advanced coursework such as Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB). These objectives are aligned with Ohio’s strategic priorities for secondary education, which emphasize postsecondary readiness and preparation for college and career. Ohio’s decision to use the DSS allowance was based on the idea that freeing up additional resources would help local education agencies better support student achievement and transitions to post-high school pathways.

In July 2018, Ohio awarded more than $7.2 million in three-year grants to 17 recipients. Fourteen will be conducting career pathways development and three will be expanding access to AP and IB courses. A second round of applications is expected to be issued later in the 2018-19 school year.  

Building Capacity for STEM Learning in Georgia

Though the Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program, Congress authorized funding to the tune of $1.6 billion to enhance well-rounded education, school safety and the effective use of technology in schools. While the program has not been fully funded by Congress, it still provides significant resources to help schools deliver a well-rounded education, including CTE and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

While most states have left the determination of how to spend Title IV funds up to local leaders, some have issued guidance or put together trainings to help schools leverage their resources in service of statewide priorities for career readiness.

Georgia is one such example. In its ESSA plan, the state committed to using Title IV funds to strengthen school counseling, computer science and STEM. Since then, Georgia has used Title IV funds to hire two full-time STEM coordinators, one in the southwest region and one in the southeast region. The coordinators are working to build STEM learning opportunities for schools and strengthen STEM pipelines in their areas. Additionally, Georgia has allocated Title IV funds to develop an online STEM incubator learning pathway to help district and school leaders navigate the process for certifying STEM schools.

Curating CTE Open Educational Resources in Nebraska

Another state that is using Title IV funds to boost career readiness is Nebraska. Leaders in the state are using Title IV funds to recruit CTE teachers to curate and develop educational resources aligned with college and career content area standards. This is a key feature of the state’s new Open Educational Resources (OER) Hub, which was launched in February 2019 and provides open access resources aligned with Nebraska’s college and career ready standards.

The work is still in the early stages, but Nebraska hopes to build out the CTE resources in the OER Hub later this summer by engaging CTE teachers to share, curate and develop rigorous digital resources that can be adopted and modified in the classroom. The state will provide stipends and cover travel expenses for participating CTE teachers. While this work is starting with three career areas — business, marketing, and management; communication and information systems; and human sciences and education — Nebraska plans to expand the resources to the remaining three state-identified career areas soon.

States made bold commitments in their ESSA plans to expand access to advanced coursework and career pathways. This is best demonstrated by the fact that 40 states are now measuring career readiness in their state and federal accountability systems. But few states are going the extra mile to align ESSA implementation with their plans for career readiness. Ohio, Georgia and Nebraska demonstrate three different approaches states can take to advance career readiness through ESSA.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Public Policy
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Numerous Governors Celebrate and Commit to Advancing CTE in 2019

Monday, February 4th, 2019

As is tradition at the beginning of the legislative sessions, numerous governors have presented their policy agendas in their annual addresses to their state legislatures. These addresses provide an opportunity for the 20 new governors to highlight their legislative priorities. Many of the State of the State Addresses highlighted successes related to Career Technical Education (CTE) and governors’ commitments to advance CTE in 2019.

Many governors celebrated successes of previous and existing initiatives in their speeches. In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey celebrated the 99 percent high school graduation rate for students in Arizona CTE programs. In Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont proposed increasing access to vocational technical schools and apprenticeships and celebrated the successes of students at a new Career Academy in Waterbury, CT. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy celebrated the creation of more than 100 new apprenticeship programs in the past year.

Governors also emphasized the importance of advancing equity in their states. In Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds proposed creating a new program called “Computer Science in Elementary,” which will integrate computer coding into class lessons at six high-poverty elementary schools. In Delaware, Governor John Carney proposed a statewide commission comprised of community leaders who will recommend steps to help disadvantaged students succeed.

Other governors set goals for the year and called for additional funding for CTE. In Indiana, Governor Eric Holcomb set a goal for 60 percent of Hoosier adults to have a high-value credential beyond high school. In Nebraska, Governor Pete Ricketts celebrated that the Developing Youth Talent Initiative, which connects middle school students to work-based learning opportunities in the manufacturing and IT sectors, has impacted 7,000 students to date and called on the state to increase funding for the initiative by $1.25 million. In Washington, Governor Jay Inslee proposed a budget that would allow 100,000 students to participate in paid internships and apprenticeships over the next 10 years.

In total, more than 12 governors have celebrated or made commitments to foster CTE in their states during their State of the State Addresses. Advance CTE will continue to monitor the State of the State Addresses as they happen for their relevance to CTE.

To learn about CTE related policies that governors prioritized in 2018, join Advance CTE, ACTE and a state leader to discuss 2018 CTE related policies in more depth on February 14 – to register for the webinar click here.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Uncategorized
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Advance CTE Report Describes How State Leaders Can Build Trust with Historically Marginalized Communities

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Throughout history, and continuing today, learners of color, low-income learners, female learners and learners with disabilities have been historically tracked into terminal vocational programs leading to jobs with uncertain promise of economic growth and prosperity. To help state leaders recognize these historical barriers and adopt promising solutions to close equity gaps in CTE, Advance CTE launched a series of policy briefs titled Making Good on the Promise. The first briefs in the series explored the history of inequities in CTE and highlighted promising practices from states that are using data to identify and address access and achievement gaps by different learner populations.

Building off these briefs, the third brief in the series, Making Good on the Promise: Building Trust to Promote Equity in CTE, maps out steps state leaders can take to rebuild trust in marginalized communities that CTE historically failed to serve equitably. The brief outlines five steps state leaders can take to build trust in communities that do not view CTE as a viable mechanism to help them achieve their college and career goals:

To helps states with these steps, the brief features state examples from Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Idaho and Nebraska and draws on messaging data from Advance CTE’s The Value and Promise of Career Technical Education: Results from a National Survey of Parents and Students:

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Publications, Resources
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How Leading States are Strengthening the CTE Teacher Pipeline in Rural America

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

In Nebraska, rural districts have been undertaking a wholesale needs assessment of local Career Technical Education (CTE) program offerings under the state’s reVISION initiative. Under reVISION, school and district leaders examine regional labor market data and hear from local employers to determine whether or not the programs available to students are those that are most in-demand.

If programs are out of sync with workforce needs, or deemed to be low-quality, local leaders will phase those programs out and transition resources and staff to higher-need program areas. This includes retraining teachers to teach classes in subject areas with the highest need, such as agriculture, health care and precision manufacturing.

Nebraska is just one of many states working to strengthen the CTE teacher pipeline in rural areas by recruiting qualified instructors, preparing them for success on day one, and providing professional development and re-certification opportunities to help them grow professionally throughout their career.

Today, Advance CTE released the fourth, and final, installment in the CTE on the Frontier series, which examines challenges and strategies for expanding access to high-quality career pathways in rural areas. The series is funded 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.

Today’s brief explores one of the most pressing challenges rural schools and institutions face: strengthening the pipeline of qualified CTE teachers and faculty. Recruiting and retaining qualified teachers can make or break a CTE program. The following are some approaches leading states are taking to support rural CTE teachers:

CTE teacher recruitment is a challenge that has dogged state leaders for decades. According to a recent survey of State CTE Directors, 98 percent said that increasing access to industry experts is a high priority in their state. And 20.4 percent of rural districts with CTE teacher vacancies report that CTE positions were either very difficult or impossible to fill.

Such teacher shortages are exacerbated in rural areas, where the pool of qualified candidates is often much smaller. This brief aims to elevate promising practices across the states to help state leaders address rural CTE teaching capacity challenges.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Advance CTE Resources, Publications, Resources
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Reaching Economies of Scale in Rural Communities

Tuesday, 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

By Austin Estes in Publications, Resources
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Excellence in Action Spotlight: Millard Education Career Academy gives students leg up on careers

Tuesday, 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.

By Katie Fitzgerald in News, Resources
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Latest Advance CTE Brief Examines Rural CTE Program Quality

Tuesday, 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:

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

 

By Austin Estes in Publications, Resources
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