Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

New Tracker Reveals Diverse State Approaches to Work-Based Learning Design

Monday, June 20th, 2022

Advance CTE’s newly released State Work-Based Learning Toolkit Innovation Tracker links publicly accessible WBL toolkits from across all 50 states and U.S. territories. Well-crafted WBL toolkits allow school districts and industry partners to work together to create a pipeline of career pathways and empower state leaders to ensure that learners have equitable access to programs offering real-world work experience.

The tracker highlights each toolkit’s content across the following categories: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The State Work-Based Learning Toolkit Tracker Analysis provides additional insight into the tracker by highlighting six-state innovations for addressing key program quality components such as equity, data collection, and employer accountability. Below is an example of the kind of analyses featured in the report:

Maryland

Through the analysis of 41 publicly available toolkits, several data points emerged regarding the breadth of components found across states: 

One area for improvement that emerged through the analysis was regarding specific support to achieve equitable access to work-based learning for each learner. Very few had toolkits, or linked resources, in multiple languages. Additionally, not all toolkits addressed learners with disabilities. Tracking these toolkits allows Advance CTE to identify additional areas to support,  creating equitable frameworks of work-based learning programs for their districts. Last year, Advance CTE released a framework to guide states in building infrastructure that advances access to and completion of equitable work-based learning. 

Updates to the tracker will be made quarterly. The analysis and tracker are available for viewing in the Resource Center.

Brice Thomas, Policy Associate 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Publications
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Making Good on the Promise: Addressing Three Major Challenges for English Learners in CTE

Thursday, June 9th, 2022

Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) calls on each level of leadership to create systems and structures that offer every learner access to high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) opportunities that lead to career success. This requires dismantling systemic and institutional barriers that limit equitable access to and success in CTE for learners from special populations. 

In support of the CTE Without Limits vision, Advance CTE recently released the Improving Equity and Access to Quality CTE Programs for English Learners brief. This resource explores English Learner (EL) enrollment in CTE and three major barriers that English Learners face in accessing and succeeding in CTE programs, concluding with recommendations on how state leaders can take the lead in addressing these barriers and expanding access to high-quality CTE opportunities. 

1.Barrier: Irrelevant or Impersonal Curricula and Assessments

In both general education and CTE courses, English Learners are frequently exposed to one-size-fits-all curricula that are not personalized to their unique interests, career goals and learning needs. Additionally, ELs may need to take remedial classes that take time away from credit-bearing courses that lead to certificate or degree program completion or limit opportunities to enroll in CTE courses. Finally, many forms of assessments, including entrance and placement exams and state standardized tests, place ELs at a disadvantage by simultaneously testing both content knowledge and language skills. These assessments typically do not recognize the unique value that ELs offer as emergent bilinguals with a wealth of cultural and linguistic knowledge. 

Addressing the Barrier: Providing adaptive instruction and relevant skill-building opportunities are critical for ELs. The state of Washington’s Integrated Basic Education Skills and Training (I-BEST) team-teaching instructional model supports these learners by teaching both basic language skills and career readiness skills. Studies from the Department of Health and Human Services have confirmed the effectiveness of I-BEST at improving educational outcomes. Additionally, states should make an effort to make assessments more accessible. Virginia created a catalog of industry credentials with testing accommodations for ELs, with direction on how districts and schools should notify ELs about these accommodations prior to taking tests. 

Another avenue for addressing the educational needs of ELs is leveraging federal funding – a program provider in Ohio utilized funds from Title III of the Every Student Succeeds Act to expand culturally responsive career counseling and career exploration opportunities for ELs. Finally, professional development for CTE educators is necessary to ensure that instruction is culturally responsive and adaptive. Arizona’s Department of Education has initiated a collaborative interagency project to develop professional learning opportunities for instructors across the state, centered on identifying and deploying strategies to address barriers for special populations in the classroom.

2.Barrier: Competing Priorities and Time Demands

Many ELs have family and work demands that often result in class scheduling conflicts. ELs disproportionately experience low-income, and many work in jobs with demanding, unpredictable work schedules and low wages. Further, ELs may face additional barriers to accessing child care and transportation to get to class. 

Addressing the Barrier: Wraparound services are essential for this population to access and succeed in CTE programs. States and local leaders can work together to braid different funding streams and leverage federal grants to coordinate community services and address barriers to accessing CTE. Local education agencies must also provide timely interventions and long-term supports. Georgia provides targeted guidance for ELs and other special populations at risk of dropping out of high school through the Coordinated Career Academic Education and Project Success support services. Additionally, Georgia’s technical colleges employ Special Populations Coordinators to support these learners.

3.Barrier: Few Avenues for Elevating Learner Voices and Outcomes

While K-12 schools are required to collect and report data on learners’ language proficiency, guidance for collecting and reporting these data at the postsecondary level is extremely limited. States typically do not provide any direction on how postsecondary institutions can best serve ELs. Additionally, there are few mechanisms for elevating the voices and lived experiences of ELs within decision-making processes, exacerbating the lack of knowledge on learners’ participation rates and outcomes in CTE programs. In order to truly understand the scope of institutional barriers and create meaningful solutions, state CTE leaders must find ways to access crucial data on this learner population.

Addressing the Barrier: The Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA) process required under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) can be a critical avenue for collecting and reporting data on ELs. Special populations are a required stakeholder to consult when developing CLNAs, and state plans must address learners’ access to CTE programs, as well as their performance levels. The Illinois Community College Board developed a CLNA template with specific fields for describing how the equity needs of each learner group are being met at every stage of the process.

This resource is part of the Making Good on the Promise series, which defines key challenges that different learners face and explores solutions that State CTE Directors can implement to help close equity and opportunity gaps in CTE. For more resources on supporting special populations in CTE, visit Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center.

Allie Pearce, Graduate Fellow

By Stacy Whitehouse in Publications
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GAO Report Highlights Strategies to Support CTE Programs and Ongoing Challenges

Tuesday, April 12th, 2022

On March 30th, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report reviewing Career Technical Education (CTE) programs funded by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). Following a congressional authorization of $1.3 billion for Perkins V in fiscal year 2021, GAO conducted a series of interviews with state education officials and representatives from CTE program providers in Delaware, Georgia, Ohio and Washington, as well as additional CTE stakeholders including business representatives, in order to study service and funding strategies and challenges. 

According to the study, state officials, program providers and stakeholders reported a variety of strategies to support different learner populations in CTE:

Despite these successes, however, respondents highlighted challenges related to the delivery of CTE programs, the replication of effective models and program accessibility for learners.

Challenges for program delivery revolved around limited funding and capacity, troubles with attracting and retaining racially diverse CTE educators, and negative perceptions of CTE programs, largely due to a lack of shared knowledge on program purposes and outcomes. The report highlighted outreach activities such as reaching out to school counselors as beneficial for raising awareness of the benefits of CTE, as well as the creation of Grow-Your-Own (GYO) teacher programs to recruit underrepresented educators from the community.

State leaders and program providers also reported that it can be a struggle to replicate effective models due to insufficient data on long-term outcomes, as well as a lack of information on evidence-based strategies. These limitations, combined with funding constraints, make it hard to scale successful programs such as Washington’s I-BEST model, which provides additional support services and a team-teaching model that requires hiring two teachers per course. The state of Delaware is attempting to address data limitations by developing a postsecondary data system that connects different sources of information in order to develop a better understanding of learner needs and outcomes.

Additionally, learners experienced two major challenges in accessing high-quality CTE. First, many learners are unable to participate in work-based learning opportunities, often due to a lack of communication between schools and employers, as well as transportation barriers that make it difficult to travel to work sites. The GAO report suggests business and industry engagement as a key strategy to address these issues. Second, learners may lack support services they need to succeed, including language accommodations, child care, flexible scheduling and financial aid. Tests are a barrier to entry for many learners, and accessing financial assistance for postsecondary non-degree programs can also be difficult. The report emphasized efforts to hire translators and provide flexible online instruction as possible methods for making CTE more supportive and accessible for learner populations.

With the shared commitment to Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) and a continual effort to meaningfully collaborate across workforce and education systems, state CTE leaders can create innovative approaches to program outreach to build support for CTE programs among diverse constituencies, as well as advocate for expanded investment in additional services and supports that allow each learner to reach career success.

Allie Pearce, Graduate Fellow

By Brittany Cannady in Research
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This Week in CTE: FCCLA Advancing CTE Without Limits

Friday, February 18th, 2022

Advance CTE continues to celebrate CTE Month® by uplifting Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO) student leaders and their national advocacy weeks. 

These organizations are a powerful model for learner-centered and learner-led education, and Advance CTE is pleased to be joined by seven national CTSOs in supporting the national vision for CTE. Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) places CTE as the catalyst for achieving a cohesive career preparation ecosystem that is responsive to each learner’s needs for college and career success. 

Throughout February, the This Week in CTE blog series has highlighted the activities of several CTSOs and their alignment with the five interconnected principles of CTE Without Limits. Today, we highlight Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), who celebrated their national week  this week, February 14-18, 2022, with the theme “Make It Count” and social hashtag #FCCLAWeek.

Each learner engages in a cohesive, flexible and responsive career preparation ecosystem.

FCCLA members at New Horizons Regional Education Center: Woodside Lane in Newport News, Virginia participate in flexible, responsive CTE programs.  Internships at a local elementary school provide these learners with hands-on experience and real-world skills  in early childhood education.

 

 

 

Each learner feels welcome in, is supported by and has the means to succeed in the career preparation ecosystem.

Griffin Middle School in Georgia elevated learner voices and cultural experiences by incorporating commemoration of Black History Month into their celebration of FCCLA Week. 

The national branch FCCLA is also dedicated to retaining and supporting FCCLA advisors through their annual Chapter Advisor Summit held in January. 

 

 

Each learner’s skills are counted, valued, and portable.

FCCLA strives for FCCLA members to have clear paths for their skills to be valued and counted. FCCLA has identified four career pathways that align to key technical and “employability” skills gained through FCCLA experiences, listed below. Members also have the opportunities to test and display skill competencies at competitions at the regional, state and national level. 

Each learner can access CTE without borders

FCCLA members have the opportunity to share their skills and make connections beyond the classroom and even their state. National FCCLA leader Hayley Reid participated in a federal policy panel held by the National Transportation Safety Board. 

FCCLA Real-World Skills: 

Applied Academic Skills: Communications, Math, Science, Basic Literacy

Critical Thinking Skills: Problem Solving, Organization & Planning

Resource Management: Time, Money, Materials & Personnel

Information Use

Communication Skills

Interpersonal Skills: Leadership, Teamwork & Negotiation

Personal Qualities

Systems Thinking: Teamwork & Project Management

Technology Use

Visit Advance CTE’s vision page for communication and implementation tools for state and local CTE leaders to bring CTE Without Limits to life. 

If you would like to share how your CTE program or CTSO creates limitless opportunities for each learner in this blog series, please email Brittany Cannady, bcannady@careertech.org

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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This Week in CTE: FBLA-PBL Creating a CTE Without Limits

Friday, February 4th, 2022

While stakeholders across the Career Technical Education (CTE) continuum celebrate CTE Month®, Advance CTE will join in the celebration by uplifting Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO) student leaders and their national advocacy weeks. 

These organizations are a powerful model for the potential and impact of learner-centered and learner-led learning, and Advance CTE is pleased to be joined by seven national CTSOs in supporting the national vision for CTE. Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) places CTE as the catalyst for achieving a cohesive career preparation ecosystem that is responsive to each learner’s needs for college and career success. 

This February, the This Week in CTE blog series will highlight the activities of several CTSOs and their alignment with the five interconnected principles of CTE Without Limits. This week highlights the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL), who will celebrate their national week February 13-19, 2022, with the theme “Success Starts Here.” 

Each learner engages in a cohesive, flexible and responsive career preparation ecosystem

FBLA-PBL encourages high-quality CTE experiences as early as middle school through its FBLA Middle Level chapters that provide education programs, awards and competitive events. 

Each learner feels welcome in, is supported by and has the means to succeed in the career preparation ecosystem

CTSO leaders can be impactful ambassadors to help each learner feel welcome not only in CTE, but in their school and community. FBLA members at a Georgia middle school used their state chapter’s monthly service challenge as an opportunity to help fellow students feel seen and welcome. 

Each learner skillfully navigates their own career journey

FBLA-PBL’s celebration includes opportunities for CTSO leaders to connect with both chapter members and national leaders to develop meaningful relationships that are crucial to achieving college and career success. On February 15, FBLA National President Jaya Singh and PBL National President Andre Davis will host a national forum, and Regional Networking events will be held on February 18. 

Meaningful connections are also being pursued through programs at the state level, such as New Jersey FBLA’s Chapter Connections initiative and local chapter texting group. 

Advance CTE’s With Learners, Not for Learners: A Toolkit for Elevating Learner Voice in CTE provides a variety of strategies and resources to elevate the learner voice in all aspects of CTE programs and practice.

Each learner’s skills are counted, valued, and portable

As part of FBLA-PBL Week, the organization is elevating student skills and stories through a multimedia contest that invites members to submit a piece of writing, graphic, video, or speech sharing ‘Success Starts Here’, with that in mind, where does success start for you?”

February 15 is Share Your Story Day which will highlight learner stories and impact via the #myFBLAStory hashtag. 

Each learner can access CTE without borders

Over the past several weeks, FBLA-PBL members from across the country have demonstrated their skill competencies and high-quality CTE-focused projects through competitions at the area and regional level. Learners receiving top awards will compete at the state and national level to inspire and advance high-quality CTE without limits.

Visit Advance CTE’s vision page for communication and implementation tools for state and local CTE leaders to bring CTE Without Limits to life. 

If you would like to share how your CTE program or CTSO creates limitless opportunities for each learner in this blog series, please email Brittany Cannady, bcannady@careertech.org

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate for Communications and State Engagement

By Brittany Cannady in CTE Without Limits
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Getting to Know the Advance CTE – ECMCF Fellows

Wednesday, January 26th, 2022

In November, Advance CTE and ECMC Foundation announced the inaugural cohort of The Postsecondary State Career Technical Education (CTE) Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE—Sponsored by ECMC Foundation. The Advance CTE – ECMCF Fellows include representation across multiple demographic categories which emphasizes the Fellowship’s goal of intentionally building a postsecondary leadership pipeline for underserved populations in CTE that closes racial representation gaps, and removes equity barriers to postsecondary leadership advancement.

Over the next few months, this blog series will introduce each Fellow participating in the inaugural cohort of emerging leaders from 12 states, including 13 professionals of color.


Jean Claude Mbomeda (California) has over a decade of experience as a data and program coordinator at postsecondary institutions, and currently serves as Perkins Program Lead for the Workforce and Economic Development division at the California Community Colleges, Chancellor Office.  He earned master’s degrees in Information Technology and Economic Planning and Development from American Intercontinental University and the United Nations Institute of Economic and Development, respectively.

 

Justin Chin (Oregon) has two decades of experience in education as an instructor and student and career support specialist at the secondary and postsecondary level, and currently serves as Director of High School Connections at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon. He received a bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degree in Education from Western Oregon University. He is a current Governor’s appointee to the Eastern Oregon Regional Economic Recovery Council and serves as Vice Chair for Oregon Humanities.

 

Dr. Kristin Corkhill (Georgia) has over a decade of program support and partnership experience in secondary and postsecondary education, and currently serves as Director of High School Initiatives at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. A dual-enrollment graduate, she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in History from the University of Florida and a doctorate in Leadership and Learning in Organizations from Vanderbilt University.

 

 


Click here to learn more about the Fellowship and each Fellow.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate Digital Media

By Brittany Cannady in Uncategorized
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This Week in CTE

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

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

TWEET OF THE WEEK

STATE DIRECTOR OF THE WEEK

The Wyoming Department of Education State CTE Director, Michelle Aldrich, announced support in funding for the Natrona County School District (NCSD). Funding will allow for a mobile STEM lab to travel across the school district, sharing equipment and providing career exploration opportunities to middle and elementary school students. Aldrich noted that it is important to, “recognize people who go above and beyond the norm.” Read more in this article published by Oil City News. 

GRANT APPLICATION OF THE WEEK

Colton-Redlands-Yucaipa Regional Occupational Program (CRY-ROP), in partnership with the California Department of Education (CDE), is now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 CTE TEACH Mentor Grant. One grant per local education agency (LEA) will be awarded. Mentoring teachers will be provided resources and supports as they help to transition new CTE teachers from industry to the classroom. Read more about CTE TEACH’s objectives, requirements and application here

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

ApprenticeshipNC shares how these five steps can lead to the start of a registered apprenticeship program for your business. 

CAREER PATHWAY OF THE WEEK

The partnership between the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), the University System of Georgia (USG) and the American Transaction Processors Coalition (ATPC) has brought new opportunities to secondary learners in the state of Georgia. Since 2018, the Georgia FinTech Academy (GFTA) has provided over 1,900 learners with courses that lead to a career in financial technology (fintech). Aligned with the growing market demand for talent in fintech careers and with the help of an innovative virtual platform, GFTA now reaches every high school in Georgia that chooses to offer the pathway. Fintech college courses are also available for dual enrollment. Read more in this article published by the Atlanta Business Journal.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE OF THE WEEK

On Thursday, the Democrats of the House Committee on Education and Labor released a proposal to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act. The new bill, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, would invest $3.5 billion in Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships over five years, and develop approximately 1 million new apprenticeships.

A fact sheet on the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 can be found here, a section-by-section summary here and the full bill text here.

Follow Advance CTE’s legislative updates for more up-to-date information. 

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Advance CTE, with support from the Siemens Foundation, commissioned focus groups and a national survey to explore the attitudes of parents and students currently involved in CTE, as well as prospective CTE parents and students, to better understand the promise and opportunity of CTE. Making a Winning Case for CTE: How Local Leaders Can Communicate the Value of CTE provides ideas for how local leaders can use the messages and research from the Value and Promise of Career Technical Education report to effectively communicate the importance of CTE, especially to the most important audiences- students and parents.

View Making a Winning Case for CTE: How Local Leaders Can Communicate the Value of CTE in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources, Legislation, Research
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This Week in CTE

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

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

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

This week, Advance CTE hosted a webinar providing a preview of the 2020 elections at both the national and state level and discussed how the results of the elections may impact policy overall, and specifically CTE-related policy. Panelists also discussed what state CTE leaders can do now to prepare for the elections in November. View the recording of the webinar and register for the next one: CTE’s Role in the Future of Work and our Economic Recovery.

SCHOLARSHIP AWARD OF THE WEEK

GRANT AWARD OF THE WEEK

The Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant will support states’ initiatives in creating innovative ways for learners to continue education in ways that meet their individual needs. States receiving the grant award include: Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. The awards range from $6 million to $20 million. View the press release here.

CTE PROGRAM OF THE WEEK

One local CTE program in Michigan has added a new teacher academy for their learners, which will begin this fall! With the help of a grant award from the Michigan Department of Education, Alpena Public Schools are looking to recruit their own educators for the future of their district. Read more in this article published by The Alpena News.

TOOLKIT OF THE WEEK

To assist state leaders in developing and expanding equitable youth apprenticeship programs, the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) and the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) has developed a new toolkit, Equity in Youth Apprenticeship Programs

This toolkit strives to increase access and opportunities for high school students as they begin to transition into the workforce or a postsecondary institution. Read more here

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Advance CTE in partnership with The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) has published a new resource as part of the Making Good on the Promise series, which outlines the five steps state CTE leaders can take to ensure secondary and postsecondary students with disabilities have access to and the supports needed to thrive in high-quality CTE programs. 

View the resource in our Learning that Works Resource Center.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources, Resources, Webinars
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Middle Grades CTE: Data and Measurement

Tuesday, June 23rd, 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 seventh entry in the blog series, we will examine the core programmatic element of data and measurement.

As states and districts are working to expand their middle grades CTE programs, it is critical that they are able to measure the effectiveness of those programs to ensure continuous program improvement process and that resources invested are having the desired impact on student achievement. Yet, there are few policies and mechanisms in place to date to collect meaningful middle grades CTE data. As more attention and resources are focused on middle grades CTE, state and local leaders should dedicate time and attention to identifying effective strategies for measuring whether students have achieved established standards, gained skills and other key outcomes as a result of middle grades CTE courses and activities.

As part of its teacher evaluation system – DPAS II – Delaware requires all teachers to bi-annually develop goals for instruction based on the state’s framework for teaching. The state has created specific guidance and tools for middle grades CTE teachers on how they can establish clear, measurable goals that are aligned with their schools’ focus and priorities and CTE performance data. The system intentionally is linked to the state’s high school college- and career-ready accountability framework, and requires middle grades teachers to focus on goals around Perkins indicators and employability skills. Middle grades CTE teachers must also identify which populations of students will be impacted, which standards and skills will be taught and attained, and how they will assess student growth. The state provides the framework, but teachers work directly with their building administrators to identify and finalize those goals that will support their own professional growth, as well as the growth of their students.

As a way of monitoring and collecting critical information on instruction and skills development, Utah requires each local education agency to submit an End of Year Summary. This reporting mechanism requires local districts to describe how the College and Career Awareness requirement was delivered, how it was integrated with other subjects, what teachers were involved, how the required workplace skills were addressed and demonstrated by students, which Career Technical Student Organizations were explored and how, what work-based learning experiences were offered, and how teachers and counselors collaborated to advance middle grades students’ college and career awareness. Starting in 2021, districts will be required to upload artifacts to provide more evidence.

In terms of reporting and accountability, North Dakota includes participation data for both grades 9-12 and grades 6-8, disaggregated by the 16 Career Clusters, on its annual CTE fact sheet.  And, Georgia is one of the few states that includes some indicator of career readiness in its statewide accountability system, with the percentage of students earning a passing score in a career exploratory course at middle school level as one of the “beyond the core” readiness indicators for middle schools.

Key reflection questions for state and local leaders as they build or evaluate this element of middle grades CTE programs include:

For additional resources relevant to CTE educators in the middle grades, 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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Middle Grades CTE: Teachers and Leaders

Tuesday, June 16th, 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 sixth entry in the blog series, we will examine the core programmatic element of teachers and leaders.

Delivering quality CTE experiences in the middle grades is contingent upon a cadre of educators with the necessary content knowledge and pedagogical skills. Educators working with middle grades students need specific, relevant content knowledge about career pathways as well as skills for working with middle grades students. While there are often shortages of CTE teachers at all levels of education—a situation that will likely be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic—creativity and flexibility related to licensing and scheduling can help address this need. Professional development and other supports are critical not only for educators and administrators, but also for counselors, advisers and other career development professionals who provide career advisement to middle grades students.

States have implemented a variety of requirements and supports to facilitate quality instruction in middle grades CTE. In Ohio, middle grades students have access to both career exploratory courses and, in eighth grade, courses that are the equivalent of high school CTE introductory courses. For these high-school-equivalent courses, instructors must hold the appropriate subject-area-specific CTE teaching credential, but for other middle school CTE courses, only a standard teacher license is required. This allows the state to access a broader pool of teachers and alleviates some concerns about teacher shortages. To ensure that they possess the skills and knowledge to effectively teach middle school CTE courses, these teachers must complete online modules that cover the pedagogy of a CTE class and CTE standards.

To integrate grade 6-12 education and career planning more holistically across the education system, Georgia has developed a Teachers-As-Advisors Framework. The framework is linked to the National Career Development Guidelines and includes goals organized by grade level and by three domains: career management; academic achievement, educational attainment and lifelong learning; and life skills. For instance, career management goals for grade 6 address understanding decision-making processes, locating career information sources and trends, and identifying key 21st-century employability skills. The framework enables teachers and other professionals in the school system to support students in their career development.

In Arizona, AZ GEAR UP has partnered with the AZ College Access Network to provide online training focused on postsecondary access and career planning. Module 4: College and Career Advising in the Middle Grades addresses the skills and knowledge required to counsel middle grade students for college and careers, including career exploration, planning and transition, and the value of postsecondary education. Middle school teachers, administrators and counselors are encouraged to participate in this module, which is offered by AZ GEAR UP for free.

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 CTE educators in the middle grades, 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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