Improving Career-Technical Education
The High Schools That Work school improvement framework is based on the belief that most students can master complex academic and technical concepts if schools create an environment that encourages them to make the effort to succeed.
One major focus of this effort is high-quality career-technical (CT) education, which can connect directly to students’ interests and goals and prepare them for success in postsecondary studies, advanced training and careers. HSTW works with many states, districts and schools to improve the quality of their CT programs.
Designing Career Pathways for Success
SREB's new initiative, Advanced Career (AC), is incorporating mastery of the Common Core State Standards into authentic projects that are meaningful to students. Each member of the 12-state consortium is designing a sequence of four CT courses in a high-wage, high-skill career field (such as construction design or aerospace engineering) that is important to that state's economy.
Preparing Alternatively Certified Career-Technical Teachers
SREB research has shown that up to 75 percent of new CT teachers arrive in the classroom from industry, through alternative preparation programs that provide little to no preparation in how to teach. That's why SREB has partnered with the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE) for the past four years to develop and pilot an evidence-based model for preparing these new CT teachers.
The model includes 200 hours of professional development, support from trained mentors and local administrators, on-site coaching and other efforts. Each CT teacher will learn how to:
- plan CT assignments with embedded Common Core State Standards
- design curriculum around real-world, challenging projects and problems
- manage classes with a diverse group of students
- create assessments that measure mastery of technical concepts, reading complex technical materials and applying math to assignments.
Oklahoma and South Carolina already have served as field-test sites, and Oklahoma continues to implement the modules. Several agencies in Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee are at various stages of implementation. SREB will evaluate use of the model and content of the materials every two years.