A Center for Career & Technical Education for Kansas and Beyond

Fifteen years ago, Dr. Greg Belcher and Dr. Julie Dainty were pondering the question, “If we had unlimited resources to help Career Technical Education (CTE) teachers in Kansas, what would we do?” That daydream led to a conversation with the President of Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, and in 2014, they opened the Kansas Center for Career & Technical Education (KCCTE). The Center is supported by a $1 million continual enhancement from the Kansas state budget each year.

For states or institutions looking to build a pipeline and otherwise support qualified CTE educators who are skilled in the newest technology and teaching effective lessons in their classrooms, the KCCTE is a model. However, KCCTE isn’t only for Kansas instructors. In fact, the Resource Portal has seen users from 48 states and more than 20,000 curricular downloads since the inception of the center.

The KCCTE exists to fulfill four central missions:

First, they host workshops for educators to ensure their technical skills are cutting-edge. These workshops are especially helpful for educators who have left jobs in their industry to go into teaching and may need more experience with the newest technology; or for educators who are new to teaching a certain subject matter and need to focus on learning the technology. KCCTE aims to keep workshop costs low, knowing that local districts may not have funding for professional development.

KCCTE provides ready-made materials through the maintenance of an online resource library. This portal includes turnkey lesson plans for at least 60 courses, many of which fit into multiple pathways. KCCTE hired professionals to write these curricula and engaged reviewers before the content was uploaded to the library. Individuals are also able to upload their own resources which allows for greater collaboration and helps educators focus more on teaching skills instead of designing lesson plans. The best part? This library is accessible to all CTE educators (not just educators in Kansas) so long as they create an account.

The third cornerstone of their program is connecting new CTE educators to an experienced mentor network. The Center’s 57 mentors are nominated by school districts across the state and represent diverse content areas and experiences, which allows them to provide rich guidance to their mentees. Over 100 individuals have been matched with a mentor and participate in an online forum to share best practices and build community with other new educators. The mentorship program has received funding through a The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) grant.

Finally, KCCTE offers Technical Teacher Education coursework via the Technical Teacher Education program at Pittsburg State University to ensure that graduates of the program are prepared to be competent CTE educators. This is an online program which makes it accessible to individuals to seek degrees in Career and Technical Education at the Associate, Bachelor and Masters levels. The teacher education program enrolls students from multiple states.

When asked what advice he would give to a team looking to start their own Center, Dr. Belcher praised the work of the Center’s staff, who coordinate workshops, review resources and market the Center across the state and beyond. He advises planning a budget that will support qualified personnel, as capable staff continue to be critical to the Kansas Center for CTE’s success.

You can explore the Center here: https://kccte.pittstate.edu/


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